What happens next? – The essence of a consultation exercise depends upon what happens afterwards
One of the most frequently asked questions is “What’s the difference between market research (or social research) and consultation?”
Sometimes the question comes from experienced researchers who, for years have worked in public bodies and supplied Chief Officers and Committees with important background material, and who have, in recent years been busy with Government-inspired satisfaction surveys and other initiatives. Sometimes the question comes from Councillors or Board members still struggling to understand the dynamics of consultation.
What causes the confusion is that consultation often uses the techniques of market research, but differs from market research in the use that is made of the data. In other words much depends on what happens next?