Case Studies

Understanding the popularity of indoor climbing: video focus groups with indoor climbers recruited via an invitation link posted on indoor climbing social media and websites. The groups were conducted on-line so that climbers from all parts of the UK could take part. The research delved into the physical, emotional and intellectual appeal of indoor climbing with a view to really ‘unpacking’ the sport. The findings were presented by Crystal Market Research as a keynote address at the Association of British Climbing Walls' AGM and have been widely disseminated among the industry and government sports bodies.

Measuring the impact of improvements at a local railway station: a pre and post quantitative study among local people on attitudes to their local railway station before and after physical improvements to the station entrances and approaches. A short questionnaire was handed out to station users to complete on the platform; local people were interviewed face-to-face in shopping areas near the station. Because the station improvements were part of a community project in an ethnically diverse area, Crystal Market Research recruited and trained local people from different ethnic groups to be fieldworkers on the study. Some of the interviews were conducted in Somali by a Somali interviewer who translated the questionnaire.

Contributing to the success of a new student accommodation concept; a series of face-to-face surveys on site over several years among students living in purpose built upmarket halls of residence, covering both service and physical aspects of the accommodation. The owner has capitalised on learning from the early surveys when opening new buildings, as well as making specific improvements to and tracking satisfaction with existing ones.

Stories from sustainable travel schemes: audio and video interviews with businesses and private individuals who have been involved in a local council’s sustainable travel project. The purpose of the interviews was to gather specific examples of how the project has promoted cycling to work, encouraged residents to cycle and use the bus, and helped job seekers (through provision of a free bike or bus tickets) find work. Respondents were given the choice of a video or audio interview. The Local Authority used these case studies as real-life evidence to support quantitative data proving the success of the project and to apply for future funding from central government.

Tracking the state of the climbing wall industry bi-annually: small scale quantitative telephone survey with climbing wall owners to measure the characteristics, size, composition and growth of the climbing wall industry. Survey samples were carefully selected to be representative of the industry as a whole. Telephone was chosen as the response method (rather than an on-line self-completion questionnaire) so that business figures provided by walls could be verified there and then. Wall owners were willing to impart confidential business information because they saw the value of the survey and were confident their participation would remain anonymous. The surveys’ findings have been used by wall owners as a business planning aid.

Collecting data on car ownership, parking and garage use to inform a local authority parking review: face-to-face surveys with 3 groups of residents; students, residents living in Houses of Multiple Occupation and residents living in new housing developments. These were large scale surveys requiring careful sampling - based on Census, Council and university data - of small geographical areas. The surveys provided essential empirical data enabling the Local Authority to implement a new parking ratio for student blocks, estimate parking demand for HMOs, and decide whether or not garages should be included in parking standards for new houses.

Understanding the taboos surrounding lung cancer; face-to-face depth interviews in home with couples (individually and together) and mini focus groups with men at risk from lung cancer. The insights from this detailed research were crucial for informing and developing a university led social marketing campaign around encouraging people to act early on the symptoms of lung cancer. The research was done in several stages, each one building on learning from the previous one – progressing from choosing the key messages to tailoring the executions of those messages.

Assisting a transport consultancy with Clean Air Zone feasibility studies in 2 cities: large scale surveys of private drivers of ‘non-compliant’ cars residing in neighbouring Local Authority areas. The surveys were conducted on-line using a market research Panel. Because of the complexity of the questionnaire – which had multiple iterations - a pilot survey was carried out to check everything worked. The data collected was fed into the transport consultancy’s analysis and recommendations for optimum CAZ boundaries and usage fees.

Measuring the impact of social marketing interventions; several pre and post intervention large scale quantitative surveys amongst specific target groups in ward-sized areas, on the subjects of lung cancer, fire safety and alcohol harm. In all cases, careful sampling and fieldwork procedures ensured that the survey samples were closely representative of the population being exposed to the social marketing campaign. The surveys were one of the vital tools for assessing the value of the social intervention measures and contributed to a national health behaviour and attitudes databank.

Working out how to reduce fire risk for elderly people living at home; in-home interviews and observation of people age 70-90 living in deprived areas. Procedures sensitive to this vulnerable group were used in this in-depth qualitative research e.g. interviewing and recruitment carried out by the same person from Crystal Market Research to avoid potential confusion among the participants, telephone call immediately before interview to reassure and remind, offer of fire service visit at the close of the interview to allay any fears aroused by the interview experience. For many of the elderly participants the interview was an enjoyable social interaction; for the fire service the research findings provided invaluable input to their fire safety strategy.

Evaluating the regeneration of an industrial estate; desk research, on-site observation, face-to-face depth interviews with key businesses and self-completion questionnaires with other occupants of the business park. This was a rigorous appraisal that utilised a variety of research methods and achieved 90% participation from businesses on the estate. The evaluation was a statutory requirement of the Local Authority to regeneration grant funders.

Helping a charity improve the support it provides to adults with learning disabilities; semi-structured telephone interviews with carers/parents. This is one of several surveys carried out for this charity, covering different aspects of its service. Though small scale, the level of detail provided by the research and the understanding of Crystal Market Research built up over a number of years means that the charity has been able to make very specific improvements to its service.

Contributing to the formation of an airport's catering and retail offer; an examination of quantitative data relating to catering and retail from a quarterly customer satisfaction tracking survey, supplemented with focus groups with different types of customer. Understanding customers' behaviour, motivations and barriers surrounding airport food and drink and being able to segment this formed a vital part of the airport's continuing reappraisal of its offer.