Ultimately, the key to a successful research project lies in iteration: the process of returning again and again to the research questions, methods, and data, which leads to new ideas, revisions and improvements. It is easy to think of research as a step-by-step “1, 2, 3” process, but it is important to be flexible and open to change. Oftentimes, by discussing the research project with advisers and peers, one will find that new research questions need to be added, variables need to be omitted, and other changes need to be made. As a proposed study is examined and reexamined from different perspectives, it may begin to transform and take a different shape. This is to be expected and is a component of a good research study. In addition, it is important to examine study methods and data from different viewpoints to ensure a comprehensive approach to the research question. In conclusion, there is no one formula for developing a successful study, but it is important to realize that the research process is cyclical and iterative.
To ensure that the results of our polling and research activities are as scientific and as accurate as possible, it is critical that our methods use representative samples. As the proportion of people who rely solely or mostly on mobile phones for their communications needs continues to grow, sampling both landline and mobile phones helps ensure the accuracy of our research. At the same time, the Center appreciates the importance of complying with applicable laws and regulatory requirements, which in some circumstances limit the manner or form of communications with individuals whom we seek to contact for polling purposes.