So I have previously talked about a range of different topics related to research and insight:
- Quantigrated research
- The perfect survey length – a tested formula
- The contribution to the economy
- Next Generation Market Research
But the truth is, who actually knows the difference between ‘Insight’ and ‘Research’
They are terms I often hear used interchangeably but, in truth, there are contrasting differences between them.
A dictionary would define insight as “a sudden understanding of a complex situation or problem” while research is defined as a “systematic investigation to establish facts or principles or to collect information on a subject”.
Lets put it another way, research can tell us what is happening, but we need insight to understand why it is happening, and crucially, what to do about it. Whilst many individuals can be excellent at research, not many can create solutions to the problems they discover.
Yes, you could say that this part of the mission is someone else’s role, but if one person has the skills to provide champion research as well as insight, then this could be a catalyst to make impact.
To create insight we have to draw on a range of analytical skills, experiences, expertise from ourselves but also others, and an understanding of human behaviour, specifically to behavior change. For organisations that are somewhat new to research and insight, they seem not to have a clear definition or boundary from a researcher and someone who provides insight.
In a world where everything could fit in to place, organisations would hire someone who has both sets of skills, however, I argue that this can only hinder and corrupt the data.
An individual who has taken considerable time to complete a research case study, to investigate and establish certain facts or principles that the project relates to. Whilst they are involved in the research, are you not personally thinking what you would answer?
Are you not agreeing or disagreeing with what individuals answer?
This is creating a personal stance or/and behavior about your research project that you try not to include in your results or discussion, similarly to bias.
When time comes to create insight on the piece of research you have completed, this could be completed from your own personal opinions and not from prior research and insight.
On a personal level, this understanding of insight is basic. Insight should be a true reflection research results. For example, when I receive a set of results, one of the ways I use insight is to predict what could happen in 5-10 years time. Such as sports participation rates in areas of the United kingdom. However, I take you back to the understanding of research and insight, and also how politics can somewhat get in the way of what true research and insight actually is.
No one wants to know that something could be getting worse
That is a hush hush word in any organisation…
But what if, insight is true and provides a true reflection where a market possibly is going. As an insight officer you are not at a level where you can make organisational change but you can lobby your view to those gatekeepers or those who put you in high regard for your work.
Overall, there is a lack of understanding in the world research and insight, this could be due to the lack of understanding in the first instance or that it is not needed.
If you had two sentences to describe the difference between research and insight, what would it be?
Tweet your answers to @Jakepryszlak or leave a comment below