Posts tagged Survey Data
When Oprah is President We Can Celebrate Family Day While Skiing!

Text Analytics Poll™ Shows What We’d Like Instead of Presidents Day It’s been less than a week since our Valentine’s Day poll unearthed what people dislike most about their sweethearts, and already another holiday is upon us! Though apparently for most of us it’s not much of a holiday at all; well over half of Americans say they do nothing to commemorate ‘Presidents Day.’

You’ll note I put the holiday in single quotes. That’s because there’s some confusion around the name. Federally, it’s recognized as Washington’s Birthday. At the state level, it’s known by a variety of names—President’s Day, Presidents’ Day, Presidents Day and others, again, depending on the state.

But the name is not the only inconsistency about Presidents Day. If you’re a federal employee OR you happen to be a state employee in a state where the holiday is observed OR you work for an employer who honors it, you get the day off work with pay. Schools may or may not be closed, but that again depends on where you live.

As for what we’re observing exactly, well, that also depends on the state, but people generally regard the holiday as an occasion to honor either George Washington, alone, or Washington and Abraham Lincoln, or U.S. presidents, in general.

Perhaps the one consistent aspect of this holiday is the sales? It’s particularly popular among purveyors of automobiles, mattresses, and furniture.

Yes, it’s a patriotic sort of holiday, but on the whole, we suspected that ‘Presidents Day’ fell on the weaker end of the American holiday spectrum, so we investigated a little bit…

About this Text Analytics Poll™

In this example for our ongoing series demonstrating the efficiency, flexibility, and practicality of the Text Analytics Poll™ for insights generation, we opted for a light-hearted poll using a smaller sample* than usual. While text analytics have obvious value when applied to larger-scale data where human reading or coding is impossible or too expensive, you’ll see here that OdinText also works very effectively with smaller samples!

I’ll also emphasize that the goal of these little Text Analytics Polls™ is not to conduct a perfect study, but to very quickly design and field a survey with only one open-ended question, analyze the results with OdinText, and report the findings in here on this blog. (The only thing that takes a little time—usually 2-3 days—is the data collection.)

So while the research is representative of the general online population, and the text analytics coding applied with 100% consistency throughout the entire sample, this very speedy exercise is meant to inspire users of OdinText to use the software in new ways to answer new questions. It is not meant to be an exhaustive exploration of the topic. We welcome our users to comment and suggest improvements in the questions we ask and make suggestions for future topics!

Enough said, on to the results…

A Holiday In Search of a Celebrant in Search of a Holiday…

Poll I: Americans Celebrate on the Slopes, Not in Stores

When we asked Americans how they typically celebrate Presidents Day, the vast majority told us they don’t. And those few of us lucky enough to have the day off from work tend to not do much outside of sleeping.

But the surprise came from those few who actually said they do something on Presidents Day!

We expected people to say they go shopping on Presidents Day, but the most popular activity mentioned (after nothing and sleeping) was skiing! And skiing was followed by 2) barbecuing and 3) spending time with friends—not shopping.

Poll II: Change it to Family Day?

So, maybe as far as holidays go, Presidents Day is a tad lackluster? Could we do better?

We asked Americans:

Q. If we could create a new holiday instead of Presidents Day, what new holiday would you suggest we celebrate?

While some people indicated Presidents Day is fine as is, among those who suggested a new holiday there was no shortage of creativity!

The three most frequently mentioned ideas by large margins for replacement of Presidents Day were 1) Leaders/Heroes Day, 2) Native American Day (this holiday already exists, so maybe it could benefit from some publicity?) and 3) Family Day (which is celebrated in parts of Canada and other countries).

People also seemed to like the idea of shifting the date and making a holiday out of other important annually occurring events that lent themselves to a day off in practical terms like Election Day, Super Bowl Monday and, my personal favorite, Taxpayer Day on April 15!

Poll III: From Celebrity Apprentice to Celebrity POTUS

Donald Trump isn’t the first person in history to have not held elected office before becoming president, but he is definitely the first POTUS to have had his own reality TV show! Being Presidents Day, we thought it might be fun to see who else from outside of politics might interest Americans…

 Q: If you could pick any celebrity outside of politics to be President, who would it be?

 

Looks like we could have our first female president if Oprah ever decides to run. The media mogul’s name just rolled off people’s tongues, followed very closely by George Clooney, with Morgan Freeman in a respectable third.

Let Them Tell You in Their Own Words

In closing, I’ll remind you that none of these data were generated by a multiple-choice instrument, but via unaided text comments from people in their own words.

What never ceases to amaze me about these exercises is how even when we give people license to say whatever crazy thing they can think up—without any prompts or restrictions—people often have the same thoughts. And so open-ends lend themselves nicely to quantification using a platform like OdinText.

If you’re among the lucky folks who have the holiday off, enjoy the slopes!

Until next time, Happy Presidents Day!

@TomHCAnderson

PS.  Do you have an idea for our next Text Analytics Poll™? We’d love to hear from you. Or, why not use OdinText to analyze your own data!

[*Today’s OdinText Text Analytics PollTM sample of n=500 U.S. online representative respondents has been sourced through of Google Surveys. The sample has a confidence interval of +/- 4.38 at the 95% Confidence Level. Larger samples have a smaller confidence level. Subgroup analyses within the sample have a larger confidence interval.]

About Tom H. C. Anderson

Tom H. C. Anderson is the founder and managing partner of OdinText, a venture-backed firm based in Stamford, CT whose eponymous, patented SAS platform is used by Fortune 500 companies like Disney, Coca-Cola and Shell Oil to mine insights from complex, unstructured and mixed data. A recognized authority and pioneer in the field of text analytics with more than two decades of experience in market research, Anderson is the recipient of numerous awards for innovation from industry associations such as CASRO, ESOMAR, and the ARF. He was named one of the “Four under 40” market research leaders by the American Marketing Association in 2010. He tweets under the handle @tomhcanderson

Top 2017 New Year’s Resolutions Text Analyzed (In Their Own Words)

Will it Unstructure? Part I of a New Series of Text Analytics Tests Happy New Year!

As I was preparing to celebrate the New Year with my family and pondering the year ahead, my mind wandered to all of those Top New Year’s Resolutions lists that you see the last week in December every year. It seems to me that the same resolutions with very similar incidence populate those lists each year, usually with something around diet and/or exercise as the most popular resolution.

After spending several minutes investigating, it occurred to me that these lists are almost always compiled using quantitative instruments with static choice answers pre-defined by researchers—therefore limited in options and often biased.

Here’s a good example of a study that has been repeated now for a few years by online financial institution GOBankingRates.com.

While their 2017 survey was focused solely on financial resolutions, their 2016 survey was broader and determined that “Live Life to The Fullest” was the most popular resolution (45.7%), followed by “Live a Healthier life” (41.1%) etc. [see chart below].

NewYearsRessolutionsStructured-300x188.png

The question I had, of course, was what would this look like if you didn’t force people to pick from a handful of arbitrary, pre-defined choices?

Will It Unstructure?

You may be familiar with the outlandish but wildly popular “Will it Blend?” video series by Blendtec, where founder Tom Dickson attempts to blend everything from iPhones to marbles. It’s a wacky, yet compelling way to demonstrate how sturdy these blenders are!

Well, today I’m announcing a new series of experiments that we’re calling “Will it Unstructure?

The idea here is to take structured questions from surveys, polls and so forth we come across and ask: Will it Unstructure? In other words, will asking the same question in an open-ended fashion yield the same or different results?

(In the future, we’ll cover more of these. Please send us suggestions for structured questions you’d like us to test!)

Will New Year’s Resolutions Unstructure? A Text Analytics PollTM

So, back to those Top New Year’s Resolution lists. Let’s find out: Will it Unstructure?

Over New Year’s weekend we surveyed n=1,536 respondents*, asking them the same question that was asked in the GoBankingRates.com example I referenced earlier: “What are your 2017 resolutions?”

*Representative online general population sample sourced via Google Surveys.

Below is a table of the text comments quickly analyzed by OdinText.

WillItUnstructure1OdinText.png

As you can see, there’s a lot more to be learned when you allow people to respond unaided and in their own words. In fact, we see a very different picture of what really matters to people in the coming year.

Note: The GoBankingRates.com survey allowed people to select more than one answer.

Predictably, Health (Diet and/or Exercise) came in first, but with a staggeringly lower incidence of mentions compared to the percent of respondents who selected it on the GoBankingRates.com survey: 19.4% vs. 80.7%.

Moreover, we found that ALL of the top resolution categories in the GoBankingRates.com example actually appeared DRAMATICALLY less frequently when respondents were given the opportunity to answer the same question unaided and in their own words:

  • “Living life to the fullest” = 1.1% vs. 45.7%

  • Financial Improvement (make/save more and/or cut debt) = 2.9% vs. 57.6%

  • Spend more time with family/friends = 0.2% vs. 33.2%

Furthermore, the second most-mentioned resolution in our study didn’t even appear in the GoBankingRates.com example!

What we’ll call “Spirituality” here—a mix of sentiments around being kinder to others, staying positive, and finding inner peace—appeared in 8.3% of responses, eclipsing each of the top resolutions from the GoBankingRates.com example except diet/exercise.

After that we see a wide variety of equally often mentioned and sometimes contradictory resolutions. Now, bear in mind that some of these responses—“Drink more alcohol,” for example—were probably made tongue-in-cheek. Interestingly, even in those cases, more than one person said the same thing, which suggests it may mean something more. (I.e., could this have been filed under “Have Fun/Live Life to the Fullest”?)

These replies are all low incidence, sure, but they certainly provide a fuller picture. For instance, who would’ve predicted that “getting a driver’s license/permit” or “getting married” would be a New Year’s resolution? I would add that among these low incidence mentions, a text analysis a way to understand the relative differences in frequency between various answers.

Disturbingly, 0.3% (five people) said their 2017 resolution is to die. Whether or not these responses were in jest or serious is debatable. Our figure is coincidentally not so far off from estimates from reputable sources with expertise on the subject. For example, according to Emory University, in the past year approx. 1.0% of the U.S. population (2.3 million people) developed a suicide plan and 0.5% (1 million people) attempted suicide.

All of this said, obviously the GoBankingRate.com survey was not a scientific instrument. We selected it at random from a lot of similar “Top New Year’s Resolutions” surveys available.

These results are all, of course, relatively subject to interpretation and we can debate them on a number of fronts, but at the end of the day it’s unmistakably clear that a quantitative instrument with a finite set of choices tells an entirely different story than people do when they have the opportunity to respond unaided and in their own words.

Bonus: Top Three Most Important Events of 2016

Since the whole New Year’s resolutions topic is a little overdone, I ran an additional question just for fun: “Name the Three Most Important Things That Happened in 2016.”

Here are the results from OdinText ranked in order of occurrence in 2016..

MostMemorableEventsOf2016textanalysis.png

If I had to answer this question myself I would probably say Donald Trump winning the U.S. Presidential Election, Russian aggression/hacking and Brexit.

But, again, not everyone places the same weight on events. So here’s yet another example of how much more we can learn when we ask people to reply unaided, in their own words.

Thanks for reading!

REMINDER: Let me know what questions you would like us to use for future posts on the “Will it Unstructure?” series!

Wishing you and yours a happy, healthy new year!

@TomHCAnderson

Tom H. C. Anderson