The Maclean’s University Rankings finally moves to online surveys and ends up going straight to social media.
After 25 years of mailing out paper surveys, in 2015 Maclean’s university rankings was ready to change methodologies.
We will walk through a case study of our path to market research evolution. How we reached our decision to seize modernity and leapfrog ahead, catapulting our 110 year old magazine straight from paper surveys to social media in 1 year.
If we didn’t get it right, we were risking not just our reputation, but the reputations of the 49 schools profiled. The university rankings are published based partially on this data, and the deadline was ticking.
Explaining how we did it, what were the considerations, and the results, will be a must see event for every researcher.
Would the old method of surveying with pen and paper have brought more risks than the new? In what ways? Find out
As a premium property, the Maclean's Guide to Canadian Universities is published annually in March. It is also known as Maclean's University Guide. It includes information from the Maclean's University Rankings, an issue of the magazine proper that is published annually in November, primarily for students in their last year of high school and entering their first year in Canadian universities. Both the Guide and the rankings issue feature articles discussing Canadian universities and ranking them by order of quality. The rankings focus on taking a measure of the "undergraduate experience” comparing universities in three peer groupings: Primarily Undergraduate, Comprehensive, and Medical Doctoral.
For 25 years we used paper surveys and mostly identical questions, for 2015 we were at a crossroads in terms of methodologies, we understood that the world had moved forward but we were paralyzed by the perceived damage that a change may bring.
The risk of injury to the study by “tinkering” with the methodology was so great, Maclean’s in the past, every year, had chosen to stay the course. Now was the time to change. With enormous risks including foremost in the publisher’s mind the publication’s reputation and resulting loss of revenue if the results were perceived as not representative. Maclean’s has weathered criticism over the years (well documented in the media) and needed to be able to defend completely that the new methodology would produce results more accurate than the one that was being discarded.
A magazine celebrating 110 years of continuous publication, that is housed within a very large media organization within a billion dollar telecommunications company does not make changes without careful consideration.
We will walk through our path to market research evolution. How we reached our decision to seize modernity and leapfrog ahead, catapulting our 110 year old magazine straight from paper surveys to social media in 1 year.
Custom Research Account Manager, Rogers Media
Elizabeth brings an in depth knowledge of market research methodologies with over 15 years of market research experience.
Elizabeth is the business generation lead for a boutique research group within Rogers: Rogers Custom Research, the only strategic insights group of its kind in North America.
Reporter, Maclean's Magazine
Zane Schwartz is a reporter at Maclean’s magazine focusing on education and data analysis. He has previously written for the Globe and Mail and the Toronto Star. Prior to becoming a journalist Zane designed and ran the Ontario Student Survey, which polled 10,000 high school students about the quality of their education, garnered media coverage in every national outlet, forced then-Premier Dalton McGuinty to change education policy, and earned him an award as one of Canada’s Top 20 Under 20. Zane is an in-demand speaker on education policy, with experience speaking in front of crowds as large as 25,000.
|Mikolaj K. Grzywacz
Research Manager, Rogers
Mikolaj has worked with Rogers as a Research Manager since 2013 and brings 10 years of professional experience in custom research backed by graduate training in Social Psychology.
Mikolaj regularly works on projects turning insights into branded content that influences leading organizations and entire industries.