Life has become worse? Or is it better? But it is not exactly!

by | Apr 21, 2021

Do you have enough for food? And the car? Opinion researchers ask you? No! Often, the conclusions in such studies are made without the participation of the public itself.

I launched my blog at the end of the year. And now is the time to take stock of the past year. Let’s talk about how opinion researchers see the outgoing year. At the same time, using the same example, we will consider how you can misinterpret research data.

So, my friends on social networks recently had a discussion of the results of a study of people’s opinions about their financial situation. This data was published by one large and highly respected newspaper.

Unfortunately, in the discussion, as well as in the conclusions made in the study itself, you can find several glaring errors and incorrect assumptions.

Please note: the researchers introduced such a criterion as “not enough money for food.” And this wording is done carelessly and requires clarification. I just want to ask them: “What kind of food are you asking about: about caviar or about porridge and butter?” Or, for example, another evaluation criterion: “enough for household appliances, but not for a car”. And again we have to ask clarifying questions: “Not enough for which car: a new Bentley or a used Lada? Not enough for such a purchase of your own funds or money, taking into account a loan? Not enough for the car you like, but only enough for the one that drives? “

In the comments to this chart, it was concluded that those 10% of respondents who have enough money for a car, too, are exactly the same 15 million people on which the country’s car market is held. But according to this logic, it turns out then that the survey was carried out among absolutely the entire population, including infants, children, and 80-90-year-olds. And therefore it would be wrong to extrapolate the opinion of these 10% to the entire population of the country. And who exactly was interviewed is not indicated on the graph. There is no indication of whether they were adults or not, whether there were any restrictions on the upper age limit, whether the whole country or only large cities were covered. And it turned out that absolutely any conclusions can be drawn to such a “study” – whatever you need, we will do that!

For example, one of my friends had a conclusion about the growth of the market in rubles: they say now this figure exceeds 2 trillion rubles, and in 2014 it was 1.4 trillion rubles, and just how lucky is the number of those who have enough for a car too increased by 2 times, as can be seen from the graph. And now one statistic has been confirmed by another! But here’s what’s interesting: the growth in costs amounted to 42% (2 trillion to 1.4 trillion), and the cumulative inflation by official standards alone amounted to almost 40%. Has the market grown? Is it worth mentioning this when making conclusions? Or can you just take the fact that 2 is greater than 1.4 and conclude that the market is growing? And, it would seem, there is only one schedule, but how many mistakes can be made and what conclusions can be heaped up if it does not refer to the numbers with all the due seriousness and responsibility.

About the Author

Alexander Gruzdev is an extraordinarily experienced consultant in business analytics. Since he was 14, Mr. Gruzdev was working in the market research industry and started several businesses including gambling organizations, retail shops, and real estate.

Since his first entrepreneurial endeavors began, he never quit market research – in fact, during the last 15 years Mr. Gruzdev held the positions of general manager and shareholder in this segment. His experience in global market intelligence spans over 20 countries including Europe, Russia, Asia, and the MENA region, for more than 100 different customers.

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