Are You Satisfied?

What is satisfaction? How do we ask questions about satisfaction? Is there a best approach?

Love customers

Here we present some tips and best practices for asking satisfaction questions in a survey.

At Balcostics our mission is to empower leaders with the required data and information to make better decisions. Learn more about our full list of research outsourcing services for individuals and companies: Click here

Qualitative & Quantitative Sampling Methods

Research is a systematic approach to collecting, entering and analyzing data. The process of data collection begins with determining which ‘sampling method(s)’ one will use – qualitative or quantitative.

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This slideshow provides a practical ‘how-to guide’ in sampling techniques, looking at the qualitative versus the quantitative approaches.

 

At Balcostics our mission is to empower leaders with the required data and information to make better decisions. Learn more about our full list of research outsourcing services for individuals and companies: Click here

How are Students Using Smartphones? Infographics

This infographics seeks to answer the following questions:

  1. How are students using their smartphones in college/ University?
  2. Which is the most popular smartphone being used (USA)?
  3. Where are smartphones mostly used?

Be sure to leave a comment on how you use your smartphone – has it made you more productive?

Students & Mobile Technology

How University Students Use Technology in the Learning Process

How has university students used technology to assist/ aid their study? This infographics shed some light on this phenomenon. Review and share your experience with us.

The Bigness of Big Data: Video

In this Hand-animated video, the presenter examines the following information on big data:

  1. The connection between big data and the cloud
  2. Classification of big data – what really make ‘big data’ big?
  3. Uses of big data
  4. The value of ‘big data’

Big Data Explained: Video

The following questions relating to big data are addressed in this short animated video:

  1. What is big data?
  2. How does ‘big data’ work?
  3. Where does big data come from?
  4. What are the three ‘V’s of big data?
  5. Who are the users of big data?

Another look at Questionnaire Design

“It is not every question that deserves an answer.” – Pubius Syrus

business decisions

Questionnaire design is  imperative to the success of a research project. When all is said and done, the results of your research reflect the questions that were asked. This slide will highlight the following:

  1. What questions should be asked
  2. Best approaches in phrasing a question
  3. Arranging the questionnaire
  4. Pretesting ones questionnaire

Best Approach To Online Research

True or False? The majority of us will start the research process online – searching for relevant literature relating to the specific research problem we are looking to solve. The following infographic highlight different resources and best approach in doing online research. We believe you will find it helpful

Research is Not Data Gathering!

Here we seek to highlight answers to the following questions:

  1. What is research?
  2. What is the research process?
  3. Why we do research?
  4. Why do a literature review?

Could We Use Social Media To Solve Crime In Jamaica?

How could police officers use social media (Facebook, twitter and YouTube)  to solve major crimes in Jamaica? The following are some possible ways:

  1. Identifying people (suspects) and their location – Facebook/ Google search
  2. Gathering evidence – twitter tweets, Facebook post and YouTube videos
  3. Collecting tips on criminal activities – Facebook/ twitter
  4. Discovering criminal activities – Facebook/ twitter

This infographics provides more details:

The table below shows 2011 major crime figures for Jamaica, clearly we have a problem!

Finally, do you believe social media could play a significant role in solving major crimes in Jamaica? Please share your views.

At Balcostics our mission is to empower decision makers with the required data and information to make better decisions. Learn more about our full list of research outsourcing services for individuals and companies: Click here

Balcostics ad3-01

Planning your research: The simple yet effective whiteboard

Before embarking on a new research project, the following are considered extremely important to the successful execution of same:

Brainstorming:

Planning should begin with the brainstorming phase, where the problems/ questions that need answering is verbally aired, reviewed and discussed. A white board is an excellent tool that can be used to capture the information and foster the discussion surrounding the problem. Generally most of your research questions come from these brainstorming sessions.

In my experience with Balcostics and helping people with their analysis, I’ve come across many persons who went and collect data that was not relevant in answering/ solving the problem they commissioned the research to solve. Dwayne Spradlin highlighted in his Havard business review article “Are you solving the right problems?”, the importance of asking the right questions and thoroughly defining the problem.

Organizing:

Organization is key! Most successful researchers have good project management skills, whether they were formally trained or not. Tasks listings, resource allocation, budget and timelines are necessary evils in the planning process.

Research is a methodology, Not percentages!

Research is a systematic way of collecting, analyzing and presenting data. The methodology used in the design, collection and analysis of the data is imperative. The methodology should be given high priority, to ensure the sample is representative and margin of errors are adequate.

Please comment and share your opinion on any of the simple points presented.

Visionary Entrepreneur

About the author:

Luwayne Thomas Bsc., Msc.

Co-founder & COO @balcostics

Follow on twitter: @LuwayneThomas

 

Is there a methodology for collecting and analyzing big data?

Jahangir Mohammed provided the most detailed response to our question on Quora – September 2, 2012. We wanted to find out if there was a systematic process/ method involved in the analysis, collection and presentation of big data. Here is Jahangir’s answer:

“I am inclined to say the approach is definitely systematic, but there are lots of options and one needs to figure out what is the best implementation for their specific use case.

 Data collection:

There are various distributed data collection and aggregation frameworks like Flume[1], Chukwa[2] and Scribe[3] which can be leveraged efficiently to collect and aggregrate data in real-time from lots of servers.

If one has the data in some form sitting in RDBMS, they can use sqoop[4] to transfer data between RDBMS and to a big-data framework like Hadoop[5](meant HDFS).

Data analysis:

Hadoop[5] is a well-known framework that allows distributed processing and analysis of big data. There are couple of other frameworks like Cascalog[6], storm[7] – stream processing, some MPI frameworks and some BSP frameworks(like Apache Hama[8]) and Dremel’s open source (is currently being worked on) all of which are created to crunch big data. Also, there is Amazon’s EMR[9] or Google’s big query[10] from a cloud perspective, but to keep it explicit there is nothing stopping to run any open source
implementations on cloud.

Presentation/data visualization:

This can be home-grown to using a commercial product. Some of the offerings out there like Datameer[11] and big query[10] do offer some visualizations, dashboards, excel capabilities and so forth.”

[1]. http://www.cloudera.com/blog/201…

[2]. http://incubator.apache.org/chukwa/
[3]. https://github.com/facebook/scribe
[4]. http://sqoop.apache.org/
[5]. http://hadoop.apache.org/
[6]. https://github.com/nathanmarz/ca…
[7]. https://github.com/nathanmarz/storm
[8]. http://hama.apache.org/
[9]. http://aws.amazon.com/elasticmap…
[10]. https://developers.google.com/bi…
[11]. http://www.datameer.com/

Feel free to leave a comment and add your views in the comments section.

Special thanks to Jahangir Mohammed and Vijay Kamath who both took time out to provide answers to our question.

Jamaica and ‘Big Data’: The Future of Research

The emergence of ‘big data‘ – the wealth of information being collected daily on customer behaviour and attitude via websites such as Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin etc – will cause a change in research as we know it. Internationally, the ‘big data’ discourse have gone a far way, however no mention has been made regarding its impact locally.

Data collection change:

Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin and foursquare to name a few, collect millions of data on customers and website users on a daily basis. Some of the data collected are as follows:

  1. Location – Foursquare or Facebook check in
  2. Feelings/ opinions – Twitter posts about mood
  3. Sentiments – about a company or product
  4. Likes – what you are interested in
  5. Demographic information – age & gender

Among other data that is freely shared by users of these free services. The days of physically walking ‘door to door’ asking questions in order to collect data are numbered, data is constantly being produced and stored, the problem (or opportunity) is now the utilization of this available data – that’s where the alignment of software developers and the statisticians/ or data analyst is critical.

Jamaica has a growing tech community with several graphic designers and application developers all developing solutions they hope consumers will like and purchase. Few have seen the value in strategically developing applications which are data driven, that is, along with providing value to the consumer they actually collect valuable data from them.

Jamaica and by extension the wider Caribbean region is faced with many development problems, chief among them are high crime rates, high cost of justice, low customer service (both public and private sectors), high cost of collecting data, low levels of efficiency in production etc. The above problems represent areas where additional data could help to ameliorate if not solve many of these issues. The nexus between developers and data analyst holds tremendous opportunities for improved efficiency and data gathering throughout the Caribbean. More data, better analysis, more insights and more solutions to current problems.

The change is underway:

IBM, for example offers a text analytics software which allows users to gather and analyze data from Twitter and Facebook postings about a company. That is, using their text analytics software, you can get an overall picture of customer/ user sentiments about a company.

Just consider the implications this might have on the future of polls! Based on tweets and social media sentiments, one could actually be able to predict election outcomes with 0% margin of error – talk about big data!

Companies collecting ‘big data’ will hold tremendous insights relating to its consumers and a country’s population in general. Imagine being able to see attitude change in real-time, to see customer feedback about service and being able to quickly respond to negative sentiments.

CVM came under tremendous pressure from Jamaicans via the social media throughout most of the London 2012 Olympics. This dissatisfaction with the company’s coverage was evident on Twitter days before being published in the local news papers. This is one example of the future potential of ‘big data analysis’ in Jamaica, and its implication for large establishments.

The new age of research will see the rise of the analyst and presenter, persons/ companies skilled in interpreting and gathering insights from large volumes of data. This is especially true for big companies serving large demographics of customers.

share your comments/ views.

Visionary Entrepreneur

About the authorLuwayne Thomas is Co-founder & COO @balcostics

Follow me on twitter: @LuwayneThomas

 

 

 

At Balcostics our mission is to empower leaders with the required data and information to make better decisions. Learn more about our full list of research outsourcing services for individuals and companies: Click here

 

Jamaica Olympics Medal Stats (1948 – 2012)

Jamaica is renown for it’s excellence in track & field. In this infographics, we highlight Jamaica’s performance at each Olympics from 1948 to 2012 London games. With Rio 2016 only a few months away, we pause to reflect on our past achievements.

What’s your prediction for the total number of medals Jamaica will earn in Rio?

Balcostics Olympics infographic-2016

At Balcostics our mission is to empower leaders with the required data and information to make better decisions. Learn more about our full list of research outsourcing services for individuals and companies: Click here

Drugs Free Olympics

This article seeks to examine the measures that have been put in place to identify and disqualify drug users at the Olympics in London 2012.  Hugh Robertson – the UK Minister of Sports and Olympics – stated that “We cannot absolutely guarantee that these will be drug-free games, but we can guarantee that we have got the very best system possible to try and catch anybody who even thinks of cheating.” 

Over the last decade, statistics have shown that the number of doping cases reported has consistently decreased at each consecutive Summer Olympics. According to the International Olympics Committee’s January 2010 report, the number of athletes tested in Athens, Greece was 3,667 compared to 4,770 done in Beijing China.

The number of reported doping cases decreased from 26 in 2004 to 20 in 2008. These numbers indicate that measures are being put in place to improve vigilance and reduce the number of doping cases at the Olympics.

Measures being taken to ensure a drug free Olympics:

1. The International Olympic Committee advised that they can appoint the World Anti-Doping Agency and any other Anti-Doping Organization to carry out Doping Controls, on behalf of the IOC, during the Period of the London Olympics, outside of the United Kingdom and at non-Olympic venues inside of the United Kingdom. In addition to this, all athletes shall be subject, during the Period of the Olympic Games to Doping Controls initiated by the IOC at any time or place with no advance notice required to be given to the athletes. These rules stated by the International Olympic Committee will aid anti-doping efforts as tests can be run extensively to prevent cheating. Read more of this post

Food for Thought: The Research Behind Eating Jamaican

IN OUR quest for healthier eating choices, we are encouraged to eat foods with less fat and sodium, more fiber, more complex carbohydrates and lower in calories. The foods that are most promoted are usually the imported ones since more is known about them than about our local foods. We may therefore seek out whole grain cereals and breads, fruits such as the American apple, plum and grapes and vegetables such as broccoli and cauliflower. How do our local foods compare?

Guava vs Apples & Grapes

Who has not heard the adage, ‘an apple a day keeps the doctor away’? This is probably because the American apple has fiber to facilitate gut health and rid the body of waste. But do you know that one guava fruit has four (4) times the amount of fiber, slightly more potassium and nineteen (19) times the amount of vitamin C as an American apple? In comparison to a whole bunch of grapes, one (1) guava has twenty five (25) times more vitamin C, four (4) times more fiber and about the same potassium. Read more of this post

Top 10 Dancehall/Reggae Artistes on Social Media – V1.0

This updated version of our ‘Top 10 dancehall/reggae artistes on social media’, highlight the inclusion of Gyptian and Jah Cure to our list. Gyptian has entered our ranking in the #3 position and Jah Cure #6.

This list is created via information gathered from the Facebook and Twitter accounts of Jamaican Artistes – rankings are based on the total number of “Likes” and “Follows”.

 

At Balcostics our mission is to empower leaders with the required data and information to make better decisions. Learn more about our full list of research outsourcing services for individuals and companies: Click here

 

Conducting your own survey? Here is a quick guide

What is a survey?

It is  the systematic/structured gathering of information from a sample/ proportion of individuals for the main purpose of making conclusions/predictions about a larger population/group.

Prior to starting a survey, one should…

  • Define a clear purpose for the survey
  • Create research objectives/research questions you intend to answer
  • Decide on a methodology to collect the data required

 Popular ways of administering a survey:

  1. Online via a website
  2. Online via email campaign
  3. Face-to-face interviews
  4. Interviews via telephone

In general, the method you choose to administer your survey questionnaire will be dependent on the following: Read more of this post

Economics and the Caribbean Integration problem

There are four fundamental principles that governs the economics discipline. They are as follows:

All economic behaviours can be grouped under one or more of these principles. In the case of the Caribbean Single Market and Economy (CSME), it could be viewed that opening one’s borders to free movement of people, goods and services should make everyone benefit. Since such a measure should increase competition, productivity and efficiency among firms selling in a larger market. Read more of this post

Winning Schools: Champs Stats since 1910

How much do you really know about Jamaica’s premier Schools Athletic Championship? Did you know that:

  1. Boys Champs begun in 1910 – Wolmers High School won
  2. Girls Champs begun in 1957 – St. Hilda’s High School won
  3. Boys Champs was held separately from Girls Champs
  4. In 1999, Boys and Girls Champs were merged into one event
  5. There was no Champs held in 1944 (Boys Champs), 1958, 1959 and 1960 (Girls Champs)

Here is our ranking of schools that have won over the years:
Boys and Girls Championship Infographic

If you enjoyed our data visualization, please share 🙂

 

At Balcostics our mission is to empower leaders with the required data and information to make better decisions. Learn more about our full list of research outsourcing services for individuals and companies: Click here

 

The Telephone Interview Questionnaire

Be Prepared to Interview

Be prepared, Be very prepared. It is one thing to gather the courage to walk up to a perfect stranger, put on your best smile and ask them to fill out a questionnaire. It is a completely different thing to make a  phone call to a complete stranger and ask them to sit on the phone with you for God knows how long, while you ask them questions they don’t want to hear, and can’t be bothered with. Seems harsh but it’s true. The following are some of the main reasons you should be well prepared: Read more of this post

Questions for the Questionnaire

The following represents questions one should ask when creating a questionnaire.

What does the question contribute?

Each question included in the questionnaire, should contribute significantly to acquiring relevant information for the researcher. The questionnaire should be assessed prior, so as to ensure that all the questions present are relevant and if not, irrelevant questions removed. Read more of this post