SwissPeaks goes to Keele University!

On the 6th of December, following a few weeks of preparation, SwissPeaks went to keele University to give a lecture to the students of the module “Political Research in Practice” within SPIRE (the school of Politics, Philosophy, International Relations and Environment).


SwissPeaks goes to Keele University!

SwissPeaks goes to Keele University!

13th December 2016 in   News by Andy Madeley

On the 6th of December, following a few weeks of preparation, SwissPeaks went to keele University to give a lecture to the students of the module “Political Research in Practice” within SPIRE (the school of Politics, Philosophy, International Relations and Environment).

Lecturing at Keele University – for one night only!

In early December, SwissPeaks gave a lecture at Keele University. The audience to our lecture being the current students of the module “Political Research in Practice” within SPIRE – the school of Politics, Philosophy, International Relations and Environment at Keele.

Being an ex-SPIRE student myself I studied this module and when asked if I’d be keen to give a lecture based on my current knowledge and position at SwissPeaks, it just seemed like the ideal opportunity to connect with current students and to try and win them over regarding what I see as a practitioners’ birds eye view of the market research world.

The module aim is to inform students about research methods, designing questionnaires and how to read data insightfully. As many jobs in politics will involve elements of research, then the value of understanding the research arena I can now see as important, especially as I feel “polls” dominate the political arena airwaves, and knowing what I now know, I do question the validity of polls.

 …And I guess this is a great year to challenge the worthwhileness of the “poll” with Brexit and the US Presidential elections 

When I was the student on this course, I really enjoyed the module. It provided me with a practical skill set, something which I was not so sure that other modules provided. I’ve become much wiser over the last few months about the vastness of the market research world and rather than simply reading other people’s work and research and taking it at face value, I wanted to know how that research was shaped and carried out. I’m beginning to understand research more now and can see why I had such an interest in the module

- simply, there is a lot that goes into a research project and ops, logistics, asking the right questions, asking the right people and using the right collection platforms are all factors. 

As interesting as I find it, and more so now, it is safe to say, with my old lecturers in agreement, that the module isn’t that popular amongst students.


Perhaps it was not taught in the best fashion but probably more so I guess, that students perception of the world of (market) research is not that great. Sympathising somewhat with the students, I don’t think you can really appreciate the market research sector until you are in it.

So, my own student experience of this module, it’s student perception now combined with my practical time here at SwissPeaks inspired me to go back and talk about research and the SwissPeaks practitioner’s way of thinking; that research data can have a lot of value but only if carried out correctly and accurately.

What did we talk about in the presentation?

After weeks of students reading about “Political Research in Practice” mainly through delving into politically driven research we sought to give the students our real-life experience and wisdom surrounding market research generally and in so doing attempting to open their eyes to the wider world of research.


We challenged the students to expand their current portfolio of collection platforms, methods and ideas; telling them about our experiences with CAPI, CAWI, CATI and PAPI and such like in the process. We also talked about some case studies surrounding projects in Africa to get them to appreciate the length and breadth of research project and research method we are involved in. Also, making sure they were aware of current trends.

Going from academic learning of research, to the everyday practicalities of modern-day research is quite drastic, as I know.

During the presentation, I spoke about the importance of research to politics looking at why politicians and those involved in politics will need to carry out real practical research. Furthermore, I sought to look at the recent issues with political polling and their increasing inaccuracies.

Meanwhile, Andy spun off and away from research in politics and talked more so about the market research world in general, the types of projects out there and challenged the students about their current methods and views on research.

The immediate response seemed positive, but we need to follow up on in true research style. It’s fascinating seeing how student’s minds work as, as much as they interacted well and weren’t shy at all, their world does seem very theory and text book centric. Overall, a fascinating evening – with both the lecturers and students having kind words to say, with many surprised by the real-life practicalities of working in research. I think we got our point across.



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