As the calendar turns to November, that means many people start thinking about the holidays… hopefully Thanksgiving first and then Christmas and New Year’s. But, it also means the end of the year is nigh and it’s time for the mad dash to start as well in the business world. How much do we have left in the budget to use before we lose it? Can we do everything we promised for the year or is it going to drag into next year? As a researcher, this always worries me as we have to deal with a different calendar, one based on people’s attitudes and feelings.
So, there’s two months left in the year, right? Well on paper there is. But when it comes to polling, there’s a month or so left with a week off in the middle. Between now and the Monday before Thanksgiving, all is fine. We survey and know that we get “normal” responses. Respondents are thinking of things as they normally do with the holidays there, but not impacting their responses. We then stop collecting data from the Tuesday before Thanksgiving through the Monday afterwards. During this week, people are occupied with travel, turkey, and transactions – Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday.
Then, the last push until the holidays start. For us, this means that we have about 2-3 weeks, depending on when Thanksgiving falls to get the last push of the year done for data collection. By December 15th, we cease collecting data as respondents’ minds are no longer on politics or cybersecurity or cryptocurrencies. Rather they are thinking of last minute shopping, holiday travel and plans, and how long until they get a few days off of work.
So, if you need to release anything before the end of the year, the clock is most definitely ticking. Mid-December will be here before we know it and then it’s eggnog for everyone.