Sociology Development Scenarios 2030
The HSE ISSEK Foresight Centre prepared an analytical report for the Foresight session “Russian research industry 2030” which took place at the beginning of March at the Russian Public Opinion Research Centre (VCIOM). The participants built three sociological studies’ development scenarios for the next five years and the subsequent period. The results were presented at the VII Sociology Grushin Conference, whose motto this year was “Towards the Future. Forecasting in Social Studies”.
Briefly about the scenarios:
- Scenario 1 “Open world”: open, freely available data, quickly changing human behaviour
- Scenario 2 “Research without data”: limited access to data, quickly changing human behaviour
- Scenario 3 “Happy unidimensional man”: maximum data availability, slowly changing human behaviour
In the next ten years availability and openness of data, and the rate of human behaviour models’ change will become key factors affecting sociology development. In the course of the discussion representatives of mainline and innovative segments of the research industry, research start-ups, IT and consulting companies, universities, and clients built three most likely scenarios for the industry’s development.
The first scenario called “Open world” describes a situation when data about respondents is readily available, while people’s behaviour changes quickly. This means that data collection costs will be low, and it would be possible to fully automate data analysis. The challenge to researchers will be finding “smart” solutions for synthesising quantitative (number of respondents) and qualitative (expert polling) data. To meet it, researchers will need to build competencies required to synthesise data from various sources, to generate new ideas and solutions for customers.
Under the second scenario “Research without data” (the most depressive one), access to data will be either completely cut off or very much limited, while the respondents’ behaviour will be quickly changing. In that case it will be impossible to apply quantitative techniques (number of respondents). Sociologists will face the challenge of finding new data sources. The role of researchers’ collaboration with customers will increase (to get access to the latter’s internal data sources), along with demand for services such as trend analysis, industry-specific expert evaluation, strategic research, qualitative studies, observation, passive data collection, and expert polling.
If economic situation deteriorates and consumer activity diminishes (the “Happy unidimensional man” scenario) researchers will have complete access to data about people, while their behaviour will be changing slowly and predictably. Data collection will become the domain of high-tech companies, aggregators, and Big Data owners. Establishing partnerships with such companies will become increasingly important. The role of consulting services in research projects will grow, together with that of data visualisation.
Russian Research Week
The RRW-2017 events (researchweek.ru) took place between 13 – 17 March. The Week’s venues hosted public debates and professional conferences about the future of the research industry and the society, major social and marketing research trends, conventional surveys and innovative approaches and techniques, reliability of survey data, and studies’ and researchers’ impact on the society.
The Week’s organisers included major Russian research companies such as VCIOM, Public Opinion Foundation (FOM), GfK Russia, Kantar TNS, ОМI, Zircon Research group, MarketSense, FDF Group, and HSE. The initiative is supported by the European Society of Marketing Research Professionals (ESOMAR), and by two largest Russian industry associations: the Russian Association for Market and Opinion Research non-profit Partnership (OIROM), and the Group 7/89 Association.
The Week started off on 13 March with the organisers’ press conference, attended by Valery Fedorov, VCIOM general director, Alexander Oslon, FOM president, and Alexander Demidov, GfK Russia general director.
The central events of the Week were the VII Sociology Grushin Conference (15–16 March), and the only in Russia exhibition of marketing research solutions, techniques, and technologies “Research EXPO” in Sokolniki (17 March).
This year the topic of the Sociology Grushin Conference was “Towards the Future. Forecasting in Social Studies”. The participants included practising researchers and representative of public authorities, businesses, and media, from more than 10 countries and 80 Russian cities. The event was organised by leading Russian public opinion research companies VCIOM, Zircon, ОМI, FOM, GfK Russia, and RANEPA. More than 30 sections, round table discussions, master classes took place in the scope of the conference, plus award ceremonies for winners of the best student research competition (VCIOM Award), and the cati-centre operators’ competition “Interviewer Profi” organised by the Group 7/89 Association.
Official website of the Russian Research Week: researchweek.ru
Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/ResearchWeek
Based on VCIOM press release