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Emerging Methods: Few Signs of Change, but Plenty of Potential

It can be tough to keep up with new methodologies, let alone ones that will last the test of time. From mobile adoption to blockchain, we take an analytical look into which emerging methods show the greatest potential.

Editor’s Note: This subsection is featured in the GRIT Insights Practice Report. The GRIT Insights Practice Report is your #1 guide to brand success in the insights industry, featuring the GRIT Future List, client perspectives, and emerging methodologies. You’ll learn what’s making strides, what trends are worth following, and where your company fits into it all.


This new edition of the GRIT Report finds little evidence of dramatic change in technique usage over the past five years and while there is interest in some new techniques, there are few signs of new methods set to explode onto the scene.

Mobile Adoption Still Not Widespread

It’s astounding, for example, that 20% of researchers say they have mobile-first research “under consideration.” Across the millions of monthly survey-starts we see at Dynata, people are choosing mobile access two-thirds of the time – and when it comes to the desirable 18-24 age group, fully three- quarters opt for mobile. While Dynata still provides non-mobile samples of 18-24-year-olds (i.e., a group of 18-24s who prefer to read email on a laptop, and haven’t joined an app panel), we feel obliged to offer a caveat that these people are unlikely to be a good representation of their cohort.

Another barrier to mobile access for global studies is falling with the rollout of 5G wireless technology across many countries, promising vastly improved speed and wireless capacity, allowing smartphones to handle data-heavy tasks faster and with more consistency and improving streaming.

The switch to mobile is long overdue.

The Next Communication Revolution

It’s possible that we may not make the switch to mobile before the next communication revolution hits our industry: audio. Until now people have interacted with technology primarily by touch, reading, and typing, but many signs, including findings from Dynata’s 2020 Global Trends Report, predict the rise of audio. How long before research participants expect to be able to talk to a questionnaire— and have the questionnaire talk back?

AI/Machine Learning: One to Watch

A single new technique in use or under consideration that stood out strongly in this GRIT Report’s open ends is AI/Machine Learning. This capability offers vast potential for our industry, including:

  • Better participant experience by teaching us preferences and way to act on them
  • Improved quality via new verification techniques using matching and learning
  • More accurate feasibility and field time estimates
  • Quota filling that’s more efficient, accurate and methodologically sound
  • Leveraging new data sources to enrich survey findings with new perspectives

Blockchain as One Solution to Industry Threats?

Other techniques are emerging which may solve core industry challenges. Our research has found that 80% of people across major research markets believe consumers have lost control over how companies collect and use PII. We see people starting to act by increasingly abandoning sites and deleting or avoiding apps. These are clear threats to our business. Blockchain technology brings promise in restoring faith in the security of personal data. According to recent data from Dynata’s Global Trends Report the technology is little understood by consumers today, but our industry may have an opportunity to move uncharacteristically fast to tackle this growing challenge, taking a leadership role in restoring consumer trust and faith in the protection of their personal information.

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