Three Bad Research Practices That Risk Misleading Cultural Organizations

Despite operating in an increasingly complex and nuanced world, too many cultural organizations maintain an overreliance on simplistic research methods that can impede progress instead of empowering it.

By Colleen Dilenschneider,

“Cultural organizations are striving to become more data-informed – and that’s great news! After all, we insider experts are not our audiences. If we want to expand and diversify attendance to be more representative of the US population, then we need data to understand not only our current audiences, but also those inactive visitors who are choosing not to visit us.

Becoming data-informed means much more than simply “having” data, though… As cultural organizations strive to become more data-driven, we’re spotting some diagnostic metrics – and the flawed methodologies related to them – serving as primary decision-making inputs. When these specious data points or methodologies are the driving force behind strategic decisions, cultural organizations risk alienating audiences rather than engaging them. These bad practices tend to support a false sense of being ‘data informed’ when, at best, these bad practitioners are merely ‘data adjacent.’”

Source: Know Your Own Bone (IMPACTS Experience)