Crowd sourcing – and research

My website www.planningaboveandbeyond.com is slowly coming back into life and it is there where I shall be putting grabbags of references to particular topics. But not quite yet. This is something I have been pondering today and got some very useful links from students I have been teaching on the Digital Marketing Masters at IEBusiness school. Our discussion has been about usability testing and the web and it is clear that crowdsourcing is being used to betatest webbased services. This seems to me a really interesting possible extension for research because of the way we can ask people about their experiences but also get loits of behavioural data at the same time.

Here are some of the links

What crowdsourcing means for innovation Business Week article

Global network of professional testers Utest

How crowdsourcing helps research activities – Jeremiah Owyang

Crowdsourcing research – small business Trends Steve King

Classic research is suspicious of crowds because it wants to know who each person is and wants them to behave independently. I am becoming much more interested in trying to find away past this objection to collective behaviour which can safely fall within the research canon.

My interest in this is related to the Cloud of Knowing project for which I am starting to gather collaborators.  There are several components. What intrigues me is the idea of setting up a wiki or friendfeed room into which a whole lot of feeds have been placed and then crownsource people through the room to rate what has been put there. It isn't the only toy I am playing with but it is an important one. To go back to an earlier post in March where I talked about cultivators and huntergatherers. The kind of research participant we need to crowdsource in these rooms is a cultivator – someone who is good at evaluating things that are given to them. The research participant hunters are a different kettle of fish – that will be left to another posting. 

Thx to Rahul Nambiar and Suzanne Flug for the links

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