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Before we start the research we've been commissioned to run, there's another piece of research to do first - we talk to the individuals at our client who'll use our work. We determine what kinds of findings they'd find useful, what would influence their work. We shape our study design around the users.

If appropriate we'll also exploit our client's existing knowledge. We'll look at your existing research, we'll talk to your people to determine what's known already. So you don't have to pay us to reinvent the wheel.

And we'll continue talking as we go. For example, if we pick up unexpected findings which suggest new lines of enquiry, we'll get your feedback on them and see if we can modify the study design to extract more value from the research. It's an iterative process.

Commonly our studies are multinational, in which case we'll need to consider national differences. Our national coordinators will consider whether the plan is practical for each country. Do the questions mean what we want them to mean? Have we taken account of cultural differences? Could different organisational contexts confuse the issue? 

When we implement the plan, it's critical that we stick to agreed timelines. Timings can be more difficult to predict in a multinational study. The important thing is to be realistic upfront - if it's going to take time to recruit people in a given country, the timelines must reflect that from the start.

Finally the interpretation and analysis of results. Obviously this can only be done effectively by someone who understands the context, ie how the respondent's healthcare system works, the law, and cultural factors. Here it helps that we know the payer marketplace inside out. Payer research is all we do.

Critically, we need to make the results useful for the client. This means understanding how the results will be applied and framing the statement of findings so that the implications for action are clear. It helps that we understand in detail up front how users in the client organisation will apply the findings. We gear our report to those users.
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