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Doing things differently: behavioural science for market research - course review

April 23rd, 2021

This sell-out training course was a first for the BHBIA - delivered in four sessions of one hour’s duration each, during February and March, it was definitely 'different' - and a great chance for delegates to explore behavioural science in a series of bite-sized chunks.

(See full course details here)

Marie Harrison, Consortium, who ran the workshops with colleague Ian Crouchley said:

"Ian and I were delighted to be tasked with delivering a course for the BHBIA, which we entitled ‘Doing Things Differently: behavioural science for market research.’  The challenge was to produce a course that would offer something to those with little or no knowledge of behavioural economics, as well as to those with a background in the area but, perhaps, little experience of applying it in the commercial sector.

The challenge was in offering material that related to human behaviour in the real world through the medium of remote learning. This meant that we had to try and adapt real world tasks and experiments to ‘Zoomworld.’ One of our major concerns was that most participants would be suffering from Zoom fatigue, not to mention the conveners! For this reason, we opted for a series of four intensive one-hour sessions, to be held through February and March.  Our aim was not only to sketch out the theoretical underpinning and current thinking in BS, but also to offer a range of practical recommendations for application, and to direct participants to further reading that would enrich their research.

We contextualised behavioural science, looking at how it can fit into existing market research practice, and how it can be used to complement as well as to replace other approaches. From a practical perspective, we suggested specific ways to tweak and tune up practice.

Long experience has taught us that no school of thinking, or technical development, offers the ‘answer to everything’ in market research or, indeed, anything else. We therefore highlighted the debates within and about BS that we need to be aware of. We touched on the work not only of figures such as Kahneman, Tversky and Ariely, but also other major researchers whose thinking runs counter to theirs, and who offer serious critique of some of the emerging theory and applications.

We prepared a bespoke handout for delegates, explaining some of the concepts central to behavioural economics. Each concept was explained in brief, supported with its theoretical underpinning and with references, for those who wished to investigate in more detail. We also suggested how each concept could be applied to market research practice.

The course provoked some interesting and challenging engagements, despite being scheduled for the end of the working day and, as conveners, we very much enjoyed interacting with fellow market researchers and BS enthusiasts and were delighted to be approached to give further, more specific guidance outside the confines of the course itself.

Our only regret is that we were not able to meet delegates in person and that, while the distance learning model undoubtedly allows wider participation, it cannot replace ‘real world’ interaction."

Delegate feedback

Comments from the delegates included:

“Enjoyed hearing about various BE approaches - both presenters were very engaging”

“Concrete examples of BS/BE application in the different steps of MR”

“I valued when the theories mentioned were applied back to Market Research with real life examples”