Sometimes getting the timing of your research right is just as important as getting the method right.
Typical examples include businesses or organisations with significant seasonal variations in their output or activities. For example, an organisation that wants to measure the effectiveness of a Christmas campaign would do well to carry out their research in the run up to Christmas.
There are, though, less obvious examples.
I recently completed a project for the Friends of Rhyddings Park who were looking to determine the number of people who use the local park. Many of the facilities in the park focus around children – including two play areas – but the main bulk of the research was scheduled to begin after the summer holidays when the children and young people had returned to school so would not be using the park during the day.
To get a picture of the true park use during the school holidays it was important to at least bring some of the research forward, and that was exactly what I suggested and what my client did since they recognised the importance of getting their research right.
When you’re planning your research bear in mind seasonal variation in your activities, and try to plan your research at the best time to answer your research question.