How to Get It: Begin with sites like UserTesting.com, YouEye.com and Userlytics.com. Register with multiple companies for opportunities to test as many websites as possible. Once you're in the system, you'll be emailed when testers are needed, and if you're one of the first to respond, expect to spend 15 to 20 minutes completing the test. Many sites require a microphone and/or webcam, which are built into most laptops—but if you need to buy one, they aren't expensive. The tester sites typically pay within a week or two via PayPal.
Some of the companies on this list are those you’ll recognize. Dell, still one of the largest PC vendors in the world, regularly hires project managers, business analysts and systems engineers for remote work. Salesforce, which came in at #3 on Forbes’ list of the world’s most innovative companies this year, hires telecommuting account executives, product designers and even upper management positions like regional vice presidents. Xerox, Adobe, SAP and American Express also make the list with their own distinct sets of work from home and remote work agreements.
An example of a contrast effect can be seen in a Pew Research Center poll conducted in October 2003 that found that people were more likely to favor allowing gays and lesbians to enter into legal agreements that give them the same rights as married couples when this question was asked after one about whether they favored or opposed allowing gays and lesbians to marry (45% favored legal agreements when asked after the marriage question, but 37% favored legal agreements without the immediate preceding context of a question about gay marriage). Responses to the question about gay marriage, meanwhile, were not significantly affected by its placement before or after the legal agreements question.
Several studies also have shown that asking a more specific question before a more general question (e.g., asking about happiness with one’s marriage before asking about one’s overall happiness) can result in a contrast effect. Although some exceptions have been found, people tend to avoid redundancy by excluding the more specific question from the general rating.
Who can resist the dinging sound of a new email? You, that’s who, especially if you want to stay on task. And forget about signing in to Facebook “just for a minute.” It’s easy to get distracted when you telecommute—unlikely distractions that just don’t exist at work abound at home. At the office, for example, you might visit the company kitchen once in the morning and once in the afternoon for a cup of joe (because that’s what’s appropriate), but at home, you’re hitting the fridge every hour on the hour. Or more.
Focus groups are very different from pilot tests because people discuss the survey topic or respond to specific questions in a group setting, often face to face (though online focus groups are sometimes used). When conducting focus groups, the surveyor typically gathers a group of people and asks them questions, both as a group and individually. Focus group moderators may ask specific survey questions, but often focus group questions are less specific and allow participants to provide longer answers and discuss a topic with others. Focus groups can be particularly helpful in gathering information before developing a survey questionnaire to see what topics are salient to members of the population, how people understand a topic area and how people interpret questions (in particular, how framing a topic or question in different ways might affect responses). For these types of focus groups, the moderator typically asks broad questions to help elicit unedited reactions from the group members, and then may ask more specific follow-up questions.
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