As we approach the end of the year, we ask the world of research to reflect on 2015 and identify their stand-out moments of 2015.

Like all good open ended questions, and in traditional researcher fashion, the responses we elicited from across the industry can be coded and grouped into a few core areas:

  1. Industry Developments

Whether it be conferences, awards or talent development, events outside of project life resonated strongly in 2015:

I won’t forget the SSI “live participants” session on the issue of response quality amongst online panels at the MRMW Conference in London in September 2015 – an eye-opener in many respects. New MR’s June webinar “What is Innovation in MR” also stays fresh in my mind – particularly Ray Poynter’s small study on “Countries and Innovation”. This suggested that the USA and UK lead in innovation perceptions by a mile…..the English language really is a powerful tool, with multiple halo effects 😉

Edward Appleton, Happy Thinking People

Being shortlisted for the Prosper Riley Smith Effectiveness award. Deciding to fund some real research innovation at Acacia Avenue – can’t say more, stay tuned.

Caroline Hayter, Accacia Avenue

Eliciting the support of 15 really keen younger researchers to join me and Trish Stuart Parker on the MRS/AQR Grad Roadshow. With their help we have visited 10 universities in the past eight weeks. As a result, the image of research has been enhanced among the 600 students who have attended.

Ken Parker, Discovery Research

  1. The Ever Changing World of Sampling

Changes on both sides of the Atlantic stood out this year, but is all change for the better?

The market being saturated as river sampling became a mainstream offering. It basically means we have lost our Rolls Royce of online sample, meaning the marketing industry is squeezed on price. It worries me as I don’t know how sustainable the market place is becoming – it‘s bad news that we buy sample based on price.

Mark Squires, Watermelon Research

I’ll pick one in particular. For years, we’ve been saying that this is the year of mobile research. I think we might have finally reached that moment for real. Nearly half of the USA no longer has a landline and PEW research has announced that their sampling will be more than 50% mobile. Given that more than 30% of survey completes are coming from mobile, ready or not, this is the year of mobile research.

Annie Petit, Peanut Labs

  1. Clientside Action

Clients, by and large, excited us across the globe this year, both in their implementation and future plans:

Reading about the success of Unilever’s Foundry program and sitting down with Ryan Backer of General Mills to hear about all the things he’s up to with 301Inc (GM’s new business incubator) is nothing short of inspiring and gives me real hope that client side researchers are leading the new methods charge. I hope the success of these programs encourages more brands to increase their outreach to technology startups, with the goal of dynamically pushing traditional market research and data science boundaries.

Kristin Luck

I think seeing our clients successfully implement our recommendations is the peak experience for many of us in MR.  While we are only a small part of a team and not directly responsible for actual implementation, it’s nevertheless very gratifying when our clients do use our recommendations (as directed!) and we learn that it is paying off for them. These will always be my stand-out MR moments.

Kevin Gray, Cannon Gray LLC

That, said, client’s use of data also provided one of the biggest, and less positive, research moments of the year:

The Sun’s (mis)reporting of their survey of British Muslims – which brought about the unlikely spectacle of national newspapers debating the ambiguous wording of a survey question and how to norm it against previous waves.

Leigh Caldwell, The Irrational Agency

  1. The Day Job

The existence of research and its core elements continue to provide highlights:

The stand out moment is the fact that market research is alive despite some fashionable apocalyptic prophecies.

Eugene Kritski, Globe Scan

Coming to grips with AI solutions to research, moderating a discussion between 100 middle east researchers on what will be real trends (not mobile, not big data but trends breaking now).

Dave McCaughan

So what can be drawn from this? Simply put, research as a discipline has delivered to its practitioners this year – it has brought change and action and continues to be an industry that evolves and refuses to stand still. We hope that after reserarchers around the world temporarily stand (or sit) still over the festive period, 2016 brings more of the same.