Respondent Engagement

14 October 2022

The 2022 Dynata Quest Awards, and the Quest for the Holy Grail of Research

5 min read
5 min read

At Dynata, we think respondent engagement is such a critical issue that we have implemented an internal initiative to address it.  Our focus is on improving the value perception for respondents, starting with the survey experience.

Our approach is intended to be, firstly, purposeful and holistic. It is also meant to be collaborative between Dynata, our clients, and the industry, ultimately representing a win/win/win – for all of us, including respondents.

We’re taking action in 4 areas where the survey experience impacts respondents: 

  1. DESIGN:  Continuously improving and implementing good survey design practices to improve the individual survey experience

  2. ECOSYSTEM:  Driving behavior change to benefit the entire research ecosystem and ensure long-term sustainability

  3. QUALITY:  Increasing survey data quality by focusing on the right respondents to remove

  4. WASTAGE:  Reducing overall respondent wastage on surveys

A key component to address the ecosystem pillar is feeding back hard metrics on survey performance to the survey’s designers. These hard metrics all impact the respondent experience, yet do not rely on direct respondent feedback: this is what we call the ‘Quest Score’.

Dynata’s Quest Score focuses on three areas of respondent impact that benefit the overall ecosystem:  Efficiency, Engagement, and Trust.

Within these three areas, 8 variables are measured at the individual survey level. Chief among these are the variables that are most often cited by respondents as major drivers of dissatisfaction with the research process. For example, being screened out of surveys, especially after a substantial number of questions have been asked, or on the basis of things already known.

As well as giving individual clients and projects feedback on their performance, Dynata also endeavors to publicly recognise excellence, with the hope this encourages the industry to strive for better performance. To facilitate this, we launched the Quest Awards at the 2022 ESOMAR Congress in Toronto on September 19.  These awards recognize Dynata’s best-performing clients, as measured by their Quest Scores aggregated over all projects conducted over the past year. 

We identified our top 3 winners in each of the three regions where Dynata operates:

Dynata result

On behalf of all the winners, and in recognition of the importance of sustainability in the global ecosystem – as well as our research ecosystem – Dynata (through our partnership with Ecosia) planted trees in numbers commensurate to their scores.

As the ESOMAR Congress was in North America this year, we also presented the award in person to one of the Americas winners – Dig Insights. 

“Dig Insights was honored to accept the Quest Award at the 2022 ESOMAR Congress in Toronto”, says Dominic Atkinson, Co-founder & President of Dig Insights.  “At Dig we put a lot of effort into ensuring that our surveys are engaging. This award is validation that our efforts are working.  Sometimes it can be easy to forget that there are millions of real people out there completing our surveys, sharing their attitudes, behaviors, and feelings. Without them, our industry would die. So, it is incumbent on us to create survey experiences that are engaging. What Dynata is doing to drive efficiency, engagement, and trust with respondents is critically important. They are leading the way for our industry, pushing us to be empathetic with the people who give us their valuable time.”

So, what makes a winning company?  They may not have the top score on any one project, but they consistently perform well and produce high-quality work across a large number of projects.  Anyone can craft a great respondent experience for one study, but it is harder to do this on a consistent basis.  Every day, we ask people – our respondents – to give us their opinions, often for little reward.  Winning researchers live up to our guiding principles – acting as good stewards, engaging with care, empathy, and efficiency, valuing time and efforts, and being inclusive. 

Looking at this year’s winners, and indeed at all the top-performing clients, a couple of things demonstrate the strength of our industry:

  • Excellence is found everywhere.  The winners weren’t all full-service research firms, who one might expect to know how to conduct better research.  They weren’t all market research companies, or end clients, or agencies, or companies of the same size.  Actually, they include a mixture of types of firms.  The winners come from all over the ecosphere – media, agencies, MRAs, end clients, etc.  They represent the broad scope of who we are as an industry.


  • We CAN make the ecosystem and respondent engagement better.  It is possible to turn out really good quality projects over and over again, even across a large number of projects.  Measuring, monitoring, and actively working to improve respondent engagement, will set us all up for success over the longer term. It will also ensure we get to our final researcher holy grail – engaged respondents who participate in research for many years to come.

Nancy Brigham, Ph.D.
VP & Head of Research Science at Dynata


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