Now more than ever, a baseline study is being underscored as an important preliminary step to take before embarking on a project amidst an uncertain future. The confluence of the COVID-19 health crisis and economic disruptions has led businesses to suffer from unexpected financial setbacks. Moreover, governments are going through a tremendous strain in trying to address problems resulting from lack or poor results of economic activities.
As projects for economic recovery are being the developed, it is of great importance to establish beforehand, a benchmark on which to base and measure the potential success or failure of a planned undertaking. Collecting real feedback coming from the right people and at the most opportune time, can help planners obtain insights on factors that can drive their project toward achieving success.
The results of a baseline study will then serve as the set of standards or criteria, to which project managers refer when making decisions; and in monitoring the success or failure of an ongoing project activity. That way, they can proactively focus on areas requiring more attention and work geared toward improvements or formulation of solutions.
It is therefore important to fully understand the methods used when conducting a baseline study, in order to optimize its benefits and importance as project management tool
What is a Baseline Study and How is it Conducted?
First off, a baseline study is a way of collecting insight on-demand, using research methods such as surveys, interviews or focus group discussions. Regardless of the method used, project managers must ascertain the reliability of the data collected since the results will be used as benchmarks for gauging the efficiency or inefficiency of project activities.
The test of data reliability is that when another individual or organization obtains the same results after conducting its own research using the same method of gathering data. Data collected using a combination of the three research methods is therefore the most reliable. However, not a few project managers find it difficult to identify the right people to focus on when collecting reliable data.
Such a dilemma can be solved by engaging the services of a panel company
What is a Panel Company?
A panel company is a business organization devoted to carrying out surveys to persons who can act as respondents or panelists in ways that are relevant to the core concept of a baseline study. Using software as a means of building a profuse profile of the project’s target audience or customers, a panel company conducts surveys on niche groups to ensure that their responses can be integrated as reliable data for the baseline study.
Niche groups can come from different geographical sources, and are grouped according to interest, occupation, profession, demographics (i.e. ages, ethnicity, religion, status, etc.) and even health conditions, which is just to name a few of the many categorizations used in distinguishing survey respondents.
The panel company will be responsible for targeting, recruiting and rewarding the individuals who will act as panelists from whom feedback about customer experiences, product-tests and/or related advertisements.
Since panel companies perform such services for a fee, it is therefore important to choose the best panel company by assessing their technology and methods of managing and curating the respondents or panelists who will answer the survey questions.