Category Archives: research question

Surveys, and qualitative studies part 2!

OK! the day you’ve all been waiting for! How did the survey come out, and who cares anyway!

I know, I know, maybe I’m the only one finding this whole thing fascinating, but just look at these results.

sleep cover 3 - Google DocsThis image was picked by almost EVERY person on LinkedIn. There was only one exception, a person that picked the Red image. Ten people responded out of approximately 100 canvased, what I thought was a reasonable response rate, as many of my contacts I knew only very casually. There were comments on the subtitle, and the fact that other images reminded one of a, “horror flick”.


My hospital colleagues, who gave me over a 50% response rate, most picked the below image, and a version of it that was manipulated by one of my soon to be big buddies:

eBook Cover #1 - I just want to freaking sleep - Google Docs

There was a bit of a split here in this group. Out of 20 responses, 10 picked the green to the left, 5 the orange, and 4 red.

One physician disliked all the images, several felt the green image represented how one would feel with insomnia.

Several picked the red image, one opining that it was like blood, and therefore arresting, or that it “grabbed you”.

Docs that picked the orange seemed affronted by the screamer, much like my LinkedIn colleagues.


Interestingly, this image, the red one, was heavily picked by my daughter’s facebook contacts. My daughter is an

B. Red. Compressed Ebook cover - Google Docs

MBA candidate, finishing her degree. Not one comment was made about the drawing being offensive, or upsetting. Half the number of people picked the green picture, one noting that there were a plethora of red book images on Amazon, and that the green would stand out.  Comments were made on the font, and some feedback was offered re maximizing sales, as would be expected from such a group.

2 people in this group picked the blue image. My wife’s facebook contacts had a roughly even green/ red split, with green just ahead.



The patient survey group, had several people opting for the blue image, below. One of these people preferred the

Sleep cover #4 - Google Docs

blue image, but wanted it on a red background. One person, completely missing the reason for the arresting imagery, suggested that something calming was needed before bed, but still picked the blue image.

Out of 81 returned surveys, 10 people picked what I felt to be the most upsetting cover, the blue. Clearly angry, and actually pointing at the reader!

14 people picked the orange, noting the sadness in the image, not just the desperation. They also felt the image was more professional, but agreed it was less eye catching.

26 people picked the red, with comments like, “love this picture”, “great image”, and comments were made on the font.

The majority of the patients, however, picked the green cover (31). Many thought it, “catchy”, “would stand out the best”.

Overall, out of all surveys returned, 28 voted orange, 47 red, 51 green, 12 blue. There were clearly different results for different populations. Physicians on the whole seemed to “get” the desperate picture, business people were taken aback, the younger facebook professionals completely nonplussed re the emotionality, and patients clearly opting for either the red or green covers.

What would you make of all this? The “n” is low, by anyone’s estimation. If one were to run this survey for a year, would the findings trend more toward the middle of the road? Somehow I don’t think so.

What did I get out of this? The patient group, frankly the one that matters, “got” the desperation, with several patients actually pounding the table saying, “yes, that is exactly how I feel!”  One can see how different groups, with different shared outlooks, could vote similarly.

And the biggest thing? An associate, in a different clinic, that I barely KNEW, dove right in and started manipulating my image (the green) to improve it. Right in the middle of the qualitative survey, parameters changed. People started voting for the new, improved cover (not imaged here, as I don’t have that physician’s permission as of yet to do so.) That’s the beauty, the pulse and the life, of a qualitative study!

What started out as a bit of a lark, while an honest quest for information and opinion, plopped something in my lap I had never expected.

More than a good cover. A demonstration of humanity, and generosity.

I’m still shaking my head…




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