Statistical data analysis and swarm intelligence – How social media can support data analysis

August 2016

Within primary research data are gathered directly, e. g. by analyzing or directly interviewing competitors or by conducting telephone, online or mail surveys of existing and new customers within consumer research.
As can be seen from the above, market research produces large amounts of data which have to be analyzed. The professional analysis of these data is the realm of data analysis. It requires a high level of expertise on both the content and formal levels, i. e. analysts have to be experts on subjects and issues of market research as well as statistical analysis. What is new is that now you can also use so called swarm intelligence for collecting data. Swarm intelligence means roughly the wisdom of many, also called collective intelligence. It denotes the ability of a group to achieve a synergetic effect by combining their individual forces thereby receiving better results than would have been possible by the individual members of the group.
There have been attempts, for example, to increase the accuracy of sales forecasts in sales and logistics by employing swarm intelligence. By using the new social media you can also adopt new approaches of data gathering. But what conditions are there for the usage of swarm intelligence? There are a number of prerequisites which concern the group constellation, namely diversity, decentrality and independence. The group should therefore be characterized by a high level of heterogeneity, the individual members should not be coordinated by a higher authority and be free of the influence of others as far as possible.
But this sounds easier as it is in reality since you have to consider the requirements of the individual situation. A study conducted by the University of Kassel showed, for example, that diversity has no influence on the quality of prognoses when it comes to election forecasts. Instead the condition that the group should be well informed has to be satisfied. There are also a number of points to be taken into account as far as the analysis and eventually the assessment of data gathered by swarm intelligence are concerned. It is possible, for example, to transfer the Wikipedia principle to your own company using a company wiki. Market Researchers is able to support you in all aspects of data gathering and data analysis and can also incorporate new developments like the usage of swarm intelligence and social media in the concept of market research.