How do we do audience research for UCC

Introduction to UCC's audience research activities

We conduct audience research to discover what information you need from us and how best to deliver that information to you. We want to speak your language so that you can better understand that UCC can help you with what you're looking for. We want to understand your motivations and influences so that we can show you that our course offerings or our research activity or our community activity will be a benefit to you. 

We conduct a number of different activities that help us to discover this information, with your help. 

 

Surveys

Surveys are our primary tool for delving into what our audiences need and want from us. 

Surveys we run | Questions we askTools we use | Incentives Protecting your data

Types of survey we run

We run a number of different surveys. Some are annual, some are specific purpose and some take place as part of other activity. At all times your participation is only with your consent, which you can withdraw at any time.

TypePurposeAdditional Info
Specific audience survey To find out more about the needs of a specific audience (for example, prospective undergraduate students). These surveys are bespoke and designed to provide us with information about the audience that we do not already have availabile or to answer questions about new channels that audiences might be now using.  We'll run these surveys every 2 - 3 years for a particular audience group
User Experience survey As a matter of good practice we run an annual user experience survey on the UCC website to make sure the website is still useful and providing a good experience for those who are using it We run this survey every year for a month between February and March
User Polls From time to time, we will ask questions during scheduled events that will help us understand the audience for that event better. Participants in the event will be informed in advance if we're going to run a User Poll during the event. These are a more ad-hoc type of poll but participation will always be voluntary

Types of questions asked

In our surveys we will ask a number of different type of questions to find out different types of information about you the audience. 

QuestionsPurpose
Demographic questions Help us discover nuanced information about our audiences, allowing us to see if there are particular concerns a specific category of people might have and how we might address those concerns. 
Information needs These questions help us identify the common and uncommon information that people may need from UCC.
Channel needs

These questions help is identify the channels that our audiences use. So, for example, what social media platforms people use so that we can make sure we're providing our information in the right place for people to receive it. 

Motivations These questions help us understand what motivates members of our audiences so that we can meet their expectations and show them what UCC has to offer that might align with those motivations. 
Influences These questions help us understand what else influences members of our audiences so we understand their decision making processes and therefore provide the right information at the right time to the right people. 

The tools we use

We try our best to keep our survey tools in house. For audience research our primary tool for surveys is Microsoft Forms. We also use the User Needs Web Status user experience survey tool. Depending on the event, we may also use a built in polling tool such as those provided by MS Teams or Pubble (our tool for interactive chat and messages during our online events).

Incentives

We like to reward participation as best we can. To that end, for our specific audience research surveys and for our user experience survey we offer a prize draw of 5x€50 one4all vouchers for each of these surveys. Winners are drawn randomly from the respondents to the survey who have also entered into the prize draw. 

Data protection

We take data protection seriously in UCC. Any tools we use have been cleared for use and have built in data protection features. We also commit to robust record management and data protection. For surveys, respondents personal data (such as name and email addresses) are always kept separate from their responses so that their specific responses can't be identified. Our data protection notices outline the full data protections we put in place for each activity. 

Workshops and Focus Groups

Workshops and Focus Groups are another way we will delve into what our audiences need and want from us. 

Workshops and Focus Groups we run | Questions and activitiesTools we use | Incentives Protecting your data

Types of workshops and focus groups we run

We run a number of different workshops and focus groups. Mostly they are specific purpose and are a part of our investigations into a particular audience or audience segment. This group based activity is a useful way of bringing different representatives of a particular audience together to explore in more detail points of interest that might arise from survey responses. Or can allow us to focus in on specific areas of concern with different people in a collaborative way. 

These activities may take place online or in-person. 

Types of questions and activities

Workshops and focus groups allow us a more flexible environment in which to explore:

  • Demographics
  • Information needs of the audience
  • Channel needs of the audience
  • Motivations and influences

This group activity allows us to also run a number of activities such as: 

  1. Interactive chart work
  2. Card sort and post-it note exercises for identifying and prioritising needs
  3. Creative prototyping
  4. Content testing

The tools we use

We try our best to use the tools we have at hand. For online meetings that means MS Teams or Google Meet, and their respective "whiteboard" products (whiteboard and jam board). That allows us to keep data from the group activity safe and secure. For in-person meetings we will use traditional pen-and-paper exercises using Flipcharts, Markers, Post-it notes and our collective brains!

Meetings will also be recorded and transcribed. The recordings will also be stored internally using our Microsoft Office products and environment. 

Incentives

We like to reward participation as best we can. To that end, for our workshops and focus groups we will look to provide a One4All voucher to each participant. The value will be outlined to invited participants before the activity takes place. 

Data protection

We take data protection seriously in UCC. Any tools we use have been cleared for use and have built in data protection features. We also commit to robust record management and data protection. For workshops and focus groups, respondents personal data (such as name and email addresses) are always kept separate from their responses so that their specific responses can't be identified. Any recordings are taken with permission and are stored securely in the UCC Microsoft Office or Google environments. Our data protection notices outline the full data protections we put in place for each activity. 

Interviews

Interviews will typically take around 30 minutes and are another way for us to get more detailed information from representatives of our audiences in a personal setting. The interview format will give us the flexibility to follow lines of enquiry that will come up during the conversation between the UCC staff members and the interviewee. 

Questions and activitiesTools we use | Incentives Protecting your data

Types of questions asked

Interviews will, again, allow us to explore our categories of:

  • Information needs of the audience
  • Channel needs of the audience
  • Motivations and influences
  • Other items specific to the type of audience we are researching

The tools we use

We try our best to use the tools we have at hand. For interviews, that means using MS Teams or Google Meet. This allows us to keep the interviews safe and secure. Meetings will also be recorded and transcribed. The recordings will also be stored internally using our Microsoft Office products and environment. 

Incentives

We like to reward participation as best we can. To that end, for our interviews we will look to provide a One4All voucher to each interviewee. The value will be outlined to invited participants before the activity takes place. 

Data protection

We take data protection seriously in UCC. Any tools we use have been cleared for use and have built in data protection features. We also commit to robust record management and data protection. For interviews, respondents personal data (such as name and email addresses) are always kept separate from their responses so that their specific responses can't be identified. Any recordings are taken with permission and are stored securely in the UCC Microsoft Office or Google environments. Our data protection notices outline the full data protections we put in place for each activity. 

Additional methods of investigation

As well as the activities already outlined, we may also from time-to-time, use additional methods to find out more about our audiences. Such methods include:

  • Social listening: this involves paying attention to our social media followers and seeing what they are saying about us on the various online forums and platforms through which they engage with us. It also involves looking at information our social media followers share publicly about their interests, motivations, influences, information needs and channel needs. 

  • Website performance tools and analytics: this involves using online tools such as website heatmapping or session recording, with the end users permission, to discover how people use our website. 

  • Existing Insights: this involves looking at existing sources of data such as our website analytics and sector-wide reports for additional insights that apply to the UCC audience. 

Research outputs

Following the research, we analyse the information you give us and use that to develop

  • Persona templates
  • User journey mapping templates
  • User stories
  • Page table templates

All of which use to create more effective content for UCC marketing and communications activities. 

Office of Marketing and Communications

Margaíocht agus Cumarsáid

East Wing, Main Quadrangle, University College Cork, Cork, Ireland

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