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Research data provides one of the most reliable ways to understand the world. Multinational brands (or brands seeking to expand) and international development organizations may need to gather data from several countries, either to enjoy economies of scale or to get comparative insights for various countries.

Given the global nature of multi-country research, studies may seem to be more complicated than single-market surveys for those who have never conducted them. In this article, we look at a few tips to effectively conduct surveys across national borders:

Tailor your questions to the respective countries

Once you’ve defined your research audience, it’s essential to make sure you really understand the social differences between countries and regions. Cultural differences between countries may require modifications or adjustments to our research. Respondent groups in different countries have different cultures, behaviors, and norms that you should consider when designing survey questions.

Consider if there are any nuances such as religion, politics, and legal factors that could affect your research. Research each country or ask someone familiar with each country if necessary. Treat each country uniquely, even if tapping into multiple countries within a region.

Translate and localize your survey as needed

Conducting research in the local language can provide more robust data and have a positive impact on the progress of fieldwork, sometimes even determining if the survey will be successful or not. If the regions being researched speak different languages, it is imperative to translate the questionnaire.

From our experience, translating surveys into the local language typically results in higher completion rates and more accurate results.

When translating your research, it is advisable to work with native speakers who have knowledge of the local country and can interpret the survey. Inaccurate or confusing translations do more harm than good. Google translate may not work. 😊

Translation extends to the results. It is advisable to work with the translator to sanitize and code open-ended responses to make universal sense with the rest of the study.

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Time the Launches Well

Different countries have different levels of difficulty in finding respondents and obtaining participation and completion. Country A may deliver the required completes faster than Country B. To address this issue, you need to stagger the launches according to the challenges of each country, starting with the more problematic countries and allowing maximum fieldwork in each country. This multi-country research project management approach ensures coordinated progress within the time frame for all countries studied.

Schedule your surveys appropriately to meet your quota

Related to point 3 above, some countries take longer to reach certain quota groups. For example, it may be harder to find older female respondents in Ghana than in Kenya. In this case, more time could be allocated to Ghana than to Kenya.

Time zones

It’s also essential to keep time zones in mind when running surveys across multiple time zones. When survey invitations are sent usually impact response rates.

As an example, GeoPoll conducts studies in diverse continents, such as the Caribbean, Central Africa, and Southeast Asia at the same time. This time lag can significantly impact response rates. The GeoPoll platform is built to send out surveys to achieve optimum response rates.

Go remote

Conducting multi-country research in person can be a logistical nightmare, making remote research even indispensable. Remote research reduces logistical requirements drastically and provides researchers with the benefits of economies of scale. You will get insights from different markets in an instant when you choose the digital way.

The consideration here is that some data collection modes are more suitable for some countries than others, sometimes requiring a multimodal approach where data collection methods are combined to cover all the markets well. For example, mobile link surveys may produce better results in Nigeria than in Benin, requiring the Benin leg of the study to be conducted via telephone interviews (CATI).

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Conduct Multi-country Research with GeoPoll

Over the years, GeoPoll has successfully conducted millions of surveys in multi-country and multi-regional setups. Our remote multimodal platform, direct access to over 270 million people across the world, and diverse teams make GeoPoll ideal for research studies in any scale. Talk to us about your research needs.