Guest Blog: Fieldwork vitally important to market research – Protel Fieldwork

Protel Fieldwork shares Gabriela’s case study with FMBE Magazine

Marketing graduate, Gabriela Boyadzhieva, knows just how valuable fieldwork is to good market research – but she didn’t gain that insight from the classroom.

It wasn’t until she took a job at Protel Fieldwork, a Coventry-based agency with a national reach, that she fully understood the role of the ‘Cinderella’ service of market research.

She first started in the telephone unit, conducting interviews over the phone, as a part-time job while she completed a BA in Marketing at Coventry University.

The job was an eye-opener as prior to that she had only learned about fieldwork in passing and had little knowledge of the subtleties and complexities involved.

Now she shares Protel Fieldwork’s managing director Annita Small’s view that students should be taught more about the discipline of fieldwork in their degrees.

Gabriela, aged 22, who hails from Plovdev in Bulgaria, which will be European Capital of Culture in 2019, came to Coventry for the prestige of a degree from the UK. She now works full-time for Protel Fieldwork as an administration assistant, having graduated last year.

She said: “I actually didn’t know much about fieldwork until I came here. Our course mainly mentioned focus groups, if anything.

“At university Market Research was one module in each of the three years. I learned about research, primary and secondary, and SPSS computerised analysis of data but I didn’t know fieldwork was a part of it until I joined Protel.

“Working at Protel has been really educational. I didn’t realise how detailed a project could be. Having done the job myself, going out and speaking to people, I can actually see where the text book research come from.

“I think fieldwork is vital to research and it would be good to learn more about it at university.”

Founder of Protel Fieldwork Annita Small believes fieldwork should be included in degrees in Marketing because the quality of fieldwork is vital to the integrity of Market Research.

“There is no point in analysing something if the data is not robust,” she said. “If you have poor data, you get poor conclusions. Good fieldwork absolutely underpins the quality of Market Research.

“A sound understanding of what is involved in gathering good quality data would greatly enhance the education of Marketing graduates. Too often, fieldwork is seen as a ‘Cinderella’ service that is taken for granted and not given much attention.

“It is far more important than that – and marketing education should reflect that.”

Founded by Annita in 1999, Protel Fieldwork is one of the leading market research fieldwork agencies in the UK, which can call upon a large pool of freelance interviewers across the UK, making it flexible and responsive.

Such is the quality of its research that it has won framework agreements with the UK arm of an international engineering and transport consultancy firm; with a major regional transport organisation in the UK; and one of the largest Market Research Organisations in the world.

Annita is an experienced interviewer herself, having come into the industry almost by chance when her children were young and she was looking for part-time work. She discovered she had both a talent and a passion for fieldwork.

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