When you are watching shampoo adverts or beauty product adverts on the telly and you hear that a majority of women found that their hair felt silkier or their skin felt smoother after application of the product, there is often some small writing at the bottom of the screen saying that 53% of 38 women answered the survey positively as regards the product. This is research, but only just. And only just positive. What it relies on is us being wooed by that word research. Research is a sacred word. On the radio today it said that 9 million people in the UK suffer from loneliness. What kind of research can this be? I suppose we all feel a bit lonely sometimes, or fed up, which is my preferred term. Does this mean that I suffer from loneliness?
I have taken to compiling my own research. My favourite one is my ‘monkey sausage nose’ research which says that children under 8 respond better to a conversation with an adult if your conversation is peppered with certain words. ‘Monkey’ is the top word; ‘sausage’ is the second-placed word and ‘nose’ is the third-placed word. In a suvey of 38 children under eight that I have spoken to over the years, the responses to monkey, sausage and nose were more positive than to three other randomly chosen words. Say, spread-sheet, car insurance and help-to-buy housing premium ratio.