MPD12: Stand Back….I’m Going To Try Science!

Tuesday, October 8th, 2013

Karlyn Borysenko: Marketing Manager, Eduventures

Everyone loves data, but few people really understand how to collect it in a way that will stand up to scrutiny of your boss, your colleagues and….worst of all….any faculty members that you may need to convince. Fear not, help has arrived. In this session, Karlyn Borysenko will give you a crash course in everything you need to learn to conduct and communicate research about the wants, needs and behaviors of your audience that even the most stubborn faculty and administers won’t be able to question. We’ll cover both quantitative and qualitative research topics and discuss a basic framework for how and when to use both, drawing from real-world higher ed marketing and web examples. You’ll leave the session with a core understanding of how to walk the walk AND talk the talk of research and data to drive your marketing and usability decisions.


Starts off with a literal bang.

You and faculty are not speaking the same language. Let’s try to do some translation.

Quantitative research:

  1. Start off with a research question. To focus the research. Refine it as much as possible.
  2. Define your terms (specifically those in the question).
  3. Define independent and dependent variables.
  4. Create Hypothesis, Null Hypothesis, Alternate Hypothesis. Goal is to prove your null.
  5. Think about how you are going to slice the data before you start collecting it.
  6. Collect data. Self reported data (surveys) are not accurate, but can point in the right direction.
  7. Sample size – total population, confidence level of 95%, confidence interval (4-8% margin of error). Use a calculator.

Qualitative research

  • Let’s you get inside their heads.
  • Looking for trends: data saturation.
  • Keep doing focus groups until you don’t hear any new ideas.
  • Just because you are using the same words does not mean that you are saying the same things.
  • Record everything. Send it out and have it transcribed.
  • Coding your data: Set up categories that describe the themes you are hearing.


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