Research for PR Playbook: How big is that?

One of the biggest difficulties in communicating research is explaining what a number means: is 26% big or small? What about 54%? Percentages on their own are pretty difficult to comprehend. One of the best ways around this is to try to find a point of comparison – either within the survey or afterwards.

If your survey finds that people spend 1.5 hours a day on their computer, how does this compare to what they said about talking with friends or family? Or looking after their children? Alternatively, what else could you compare 1.5 hours to? A football match? The time it takes to make a cake?

Be creative. Sometimes the best comparisons are the most unexpected.

Things to remember:

  • Leave yourself plenty of options for points of comparison in your survey rather than just hoping that one or two turn out like you hoped
  • Make sure you’re comparing apples with apples: questions that are phrased differently won’t make for valid comparisons
  • The more unexpected the better:

Some examples