EXSITE! Key points in stakeholder research
The conduct of sophisticated stakeholder research is a complex activity and best left to the experts. However, it is quite possible to design, administer and interpret research into stakeholder needs and expectations by following a few simple rules:
Some methods of research will be more rigorous than others. The more formal and standardized the process, and the better your sampling method, the more reliable your results will be.
In many cases, multiple 'listening posts' will be useful, as each research approach has its own limitations and strengths.
When existing activities are used to obtain stakeholder information, such as conferences or association meetings, make sure you carefully document the information you obtain, otherwise it will be lost.
Keep in mind that only full-scale statistical surveys will provide you with really sound data on stakeholder satisfaction. The methods described here are more suitable for conducting preliminary research into stakeholder needs and expectations, or to keep track of stakeholders' experiences in a more general way.
In designing research methods for identifying needs and expectations, remember that your key purpose at this point of the process is to learn about their expectations, and in particular what services they want above all others.
In these activities, be sure that you will learn from stakeholders the things you need to know, such as:
- What services they want
- How they want that service to be delivered
- Where and when they want the service to be made available
- The extent to which they want to be active participants in the service delivery process
- How they want to be treated personally by service provider
Remember that any process that involves drawing on the memory, attitude, opinion or preference of human beings will necessarily be limited by the very human errors or distortions that are a part of this activity.
Adapted from 2004 Monash University ABN 12 377 614 012 Last updated: 23 May 2005 – Maintained by firstname.lastname@example.org