Paying for research consultation is an investment in seeing that your programs will succeed. You might wonder when you ought to contact a consultant about the possibility of discussing your plans.
Here are four times when you might want to ask for a research consultation.
As you're laying out your research program, it's a good idea to have a consultant advise you. Especially if your organization doesn't constantly do research, they can provide perspective about setting up programs, assigning roles, hiring professionals, and devising processes. You can then use this knowledge to build a structure to hang your program on. Program evaluation research can also look at similar projects to see if there are features yours should include or that you might want to specifically avoid.
Biases and Other Vested Interests
When you perform research, there is always a danger that you'll become focused on your goals. This poses notable dangers to the research, even if you're actively trying to avoid letting biases or vested interests into the process. A research consultant can bring an independent perspective to your work. They can examine how certain unintended biases can creep into the process so you can eliminate problems. The net effect will be cleaner research that paints a truer picture.
Depending on the ethics of the research, you might need a consulting firm to do all of the work. A third party can segregate your organization's interests from the integrity of the research.
Slow or Inefficient Processes
If your company has conducted research before and found the process to be slow or inefficient, it might be time to ask a third party for advice. Bringing in an outsider will provide a fresh perspective regarding why some issues might not be working as well as expected. A research consultation can break down your existing processes and systems so you can determine which improvements might offer the most bang for your buck.
Research in Distant Locations
An organization may also need to do research at locations that are close to its current resources. It could pay to send research teams to do the work, but that can get costly. Also, not every employee may be on board for the move, even if it's temporary.
Fortunately, a locally based research consultant can perform program evaluation and start setting up work in the new location. Some companies will even conduct the research for you. This can significantly ease the burden of conducting research at long distances.