Scientists have produced a series of papers designed to improve research on conservation and the environment.

A group of researchers, led by the University of Exeter, have contributed to a special issue of the journal Methods in Ecology and Evolution to examine commonly used social science techniques and provide a checklist for scientists to follow.

Traditional conservation biology has been dominated by quantitative data (measured in numbers) but today it frequently relies on qualitative methods such as interviews and focus group discussions.

The aim of the special issue is to help researchers decide which techniques are most appropriate for their study, and improve the "methodological rigour" of these techniques.

"Qualitative techniques are an important part of the curriculum for most undergraduate, graduate and doctoral studies in biodiversity conservation and the environment," said Dr. Nibedita Mukherjee, of the University of Exeter, who coordinated the special issue of the journal.

"Yet the application of these techniques is often flawed or badly reported."

Dr. Mukherjee, of the Centre for Ecology and Conservation of Exeter's Penryn Campus in Cornwall, added: "In putting together this special issue, we urge greater collaboration across the disciplines within conservation, incorporating the rigorous use of qualitative methods.

"We envisage a future in which conservation scientists test, modify and improve these techniques so that they become even more relevant and widely used."

The five papers in the special issue include one which examines the use of interviews as part of research into conservation decision-making.

It found that researchers do not always justify their use of interviews, or report on their usefully enough for readers to make informed judgments.

"While interview-based research might not always be reproducible, we should still leave the reader in no doubt about what was done," said lead author Dr David Rose, formerly of the University of Cambridge but now at the University of East Anglia.

Another  looked at the use of . Lead author Tobias Nyumba, from the University of Cambridge, said focus groups are often used but many researchers are "not particularly keen on the process, from planning, execution, analysis to reporting.

"This paper is, therefore, a must read if focus groups must form part of your research toolkit," he said.

A third paper looked at the nominal group  (NGT).

Lead author Dr. Jean Huge said: "While  conflicts are on the rise worldwide, NGT provides a simple yet systematic approach to prioritise management options and could help reduce conflict."

This could inform the choice of criteria in the MultiCriteria Decision Analysis as observed by Dr. Blal Adem Esmail in his paper.

Source: This article was published phys.org

Categorized in Online Research

Any research is only as good as the data that drives it, so choosing the right technique of data collection can make all the difference. In this article, we will look at four different data collection techniques – Observation, Questionnaire, Interview and Focus Group Session – and evaluate their suitability under different circumstances.


data collection techniques

Seeing is believing, they say. Making direct observations, when the situation allows for it, is a very quick and effective way of collecting data with minimal intrusion. Establishing the right mechanism for making the observation is all you need.


  • Non-responsive sample subjects are a non-issue when you’re simply making direct observation.
  • This mode doesn’t require a very extensive and well-tailored training regime for the survey workforce.
  • It is not as time-consuming as the other modes that we will be discussing below.
  • Infrastructure requirement and preparation time are minimal.


  • Heavy reliance on experts who must know what to observe and how to interpret the observations once the data collection is done.
  • There is the possibility of missing out on the complete picture due to the lack of direct interaction with sample subjects.

Use Case:

Making direct observations can be a good way of collecting information about mechanical, orderly tasks, like checking the number of manual interventions required in a day to keep an assembly line functioning smoothly.


data collection techniques

Questionnaires, as we consider them here, are stand-alone instruments of datacollection that will be administered to the sample subjects either through mail, phone or online. They have long been one of the most popular data collection techniques. 


  • Questionnaires give the researchers an opportunity to carefully structure and formulate the datacollection plan with precision.
  • Respondents can take these questionnaires at a convenient time and think about the answers at their own pace.
  • The reach is theoretically limitless. The questionnaire can reach every corner of the globe if the medium allows for it.


  • Questionnaires without human intervention (as we have taken them here) can be quite passive and miss out on some of the finer nuances, leaving the responses open to interpretation. Interviews and Focus Group Sessions, as we shall see later, are instrumental in overcoming this shortfall of questionnaires.
  • Response rates can be quite low. Questionnaires can be designed well by choosing the right question types to optimize response rates, but very little can be done to encourage the respondents without directly conversing with them.

Use Case:

The survey can be carried out through directly-administered questionnaires when the sample subjects are relatively well-versed with the ideas being discussed and comfortable at making the right responses without assistance. A survey about newspaper reading habits, for example, would be perfect for this mode.


data collection techniquesConducting interviews can help you overcome most of the shortfalls of the previous two data collection techniques that we have discussed here by allowing you to build a deeper understanding of the thinking behind the respondents’ answers. 


  • Interviews help the researchers uncover rich, deep insight and learn information that they may have missed otherwise.
  • The presence of an interviewer can give the respondents additional comfort while answering the questionnaire and ensure correct interpretation of the questions.
  • The physical presence of a persistent, well-trained interviewer can significantly improve the response rate.


  • Reaching out to all respondents to conduct interviews is a massive, time-consuming exercise that leads to a major increase in the cost of conducting a survey.
  • To ensure the effectiveness of the whole exercise, the interviewers must be well-trained in the necessary soft skills and the relevant subject matter.

Use Case:

Interviews are the most suitable technique for surveys that touch upon complex issues like healthcare and family welfare. The presence of an interviewer to help respondents interpret and understand the questions can be critical to the success of the survey.

Focus Group Sessions

data collection techniquesFocus Group Sessions take the interactive benefits of an interview to the next level by bringing a carefully chosen group together for a moderated discussion on the subject of the survey. 


  • The presence of several relevant people together at the same time can encourage them to engage in a healthy discussion and help researchers uncover information that they may not have envisaged.
  • It helps the researchers corroborate the facts instantly; any inaccurate response will most likely be countered by other members of the focus group.
  • It gives the researchers a chance to view both sides of the coin and build a balanced perspective on the matter.


  • Finding groups of people who are relevant to the survey and persuading them to come together for the session at the same time can be a difficult task.
  • The presence of excessively loud members in the focus group can subdue the opinions of those who are less vocal.
  • The members of a focus group can often fall prey to group-think if one of them turns out to be remarkably persuasive and influential. This will bury the diversity of opinion that may have otherwise emerged. The moderator of a Focus Group Session must be on guard to prevent this from happening.

Use Case:

Focus Group Sessions with the lecturers of a university can be a good way of collecting information on ways in which our education system can be made more research-driven.


Keeping these factors in mind will go a long way toward helping you choose between the four data collection techniques. The recent evolution of technology has given researchers powerful tools and dramatically transformed the ways that researchers interface with their subjects.

Source: This article was published blog.socialcops.com

Categorized in Research Methods


With the rise of new online social networks in recent years, lead generation has been undergoing some significant changes.

Your potential buyers are overwhelmed with all the noise, and as a result, they ignore the messages that do not appeal or engage them.

You need to find new ways and techniques to reach them.

Having different ways to target your market allows you to cut through the noise and get your messages and content seen by your leads more frequently.

Here are 3 surprising lead generation techniques that you can apply for your business -

1. Turn Helpful Calls Into Leads With SoHelpful:

You have probably heard the term 'Sell Without Selling' many times.

Question is...how can you do that?

The answer is very simple - by helping your prospects!

That’s right.

You can help them in many different ways, but one of the best ways is to connect with them 1 on 1 over Skype, Hangouts, or phone calls and answer their questions, hence solving their problems.

This is also known as Helpful Marketing.

SoHelpful actually makes it easier for you to implement this technique.

According to SoHelpful, “being helpful is one of the most effective ways to build our reputations and grow our businesses.”

SoHelpful is a platform where your potential customers can easily schedule a call with you, which also integrates with your Google calendar.

You have a profile page with testimonials. You send potential customers to your page so they can view your testimonials and expertise and then pick a time according to your availability.



You can promote your profile on your blog’s sidebar, have the link pinned to your social media pages, or add the link to your email signature.

This is like getting inbound calls from your target audience who have questions or problems related to your niche.

The technique here is to -

  • Build trust and be a friend with the person over the call by listening, understanding and providing suggestions that are actionable.
  • Ask if you can send some emails that elaborate on what you just discussed.
  • If the person agrees, then add him/her to your email list.
  • Send a series of emails that tell him “what to do” to solve a problem.
  • At the end, insert a friendly, natural sales pitch based on what you are selling (a service or a product).

In our case, we’ve found that customers who schedule a help session with us are almost twice as likely to convert - surprise!

2. Use Quora For Lead Generation


Quora is one of the most active Question & Answer sites on the web.

Anyone can ask and answer questions about anything here. However, you would like to focus on a specific angle based on your niche.

In case you are new to Quora, checkout this guide to creating your Quora profile and set it up so you can submit questions and answers the right way.

Target Questions That Are Specific To Your Niche

First, you should figure out what your potential customers might be looking for. So knowing your ideal customers is very important before you start using Quora for lead generation.

Say you are a small digital marketing agency that offers PPC ads and Done-for-you content marketing services. What are the questions your potential customers might be asking?

Things like -

  • How to get positive ROI with PPC ads?
  • What are the most common mistakes companies make with PPC advertising?
  • Which is better, content marketing or traditional marketing?

You get the point.

Once you find those niche related topics and questions, your next step is to answer those questions.

Make sure you add value through your answers and not just self-promote.

Write detailed answers maintaining a good format and structure so it's easily readable. When appropriate, add relevant reference links, images, and videos.

This is a good example of an answer that provides value: What are the most common mistakes companies make with PPC advertising?

Quality answers will result in more views and eventually get shared across different channels and social media networks. When people find value in your answers they will follow or subscribe to your Quora profile or visit your website/blog and sign up to read more of your content.

Sharing your answers on your social media pages will give you more exposure. There is also a good chance for Google to index your answers when you acquire social proof.


Mentioning Other Quora Writers And Users

Mention and tag other Quora contributors and users who are expert and have covered similar topics. They receive a notification when you tag or mention them on your answers. This will help you to connect with the experts in your niche and also build a powerful network of influencers.

Track Your Results

Pay close attention to the Quora's 'Stats' analytics tool. You can see all the questions, answers and posts you have contributed, profiles of people who followed your question, views, upvotes, and shares etc.

Track ROI coming from the answers on Quora in Google Analytics. For more info on that check out this post.

And of course, check how Quora performs in your Google Analytics. For us, it was one of the top 5 traffic sources and converted at a whopping 8.5%!


3. Optimizing Twitter For Lead Gen

Many people look at Twitter at just a social network for updating people on your status.

However, we’ve found that some people tend to be particularly receptive on Twitter, even more so than email, especially in the marketing niche (where people are bombarded by email offers daily).

Here are 5 advanced strategies to help you get more leads on Twitter.

I) Include A Call To Action (Cta)

What is the first thing that grabs the attention of a visitor on your Twitter profile?

Probably, it's your background photo and your bio. So it only makes sense if we put our call to action (CTA) on those places.

Also, having a pinned tweet with your CTA is very effective.

These simple techniques can be very effective to get more leads on Twitter.

Using the same call to action in each location can make it easier for your visitors or followers to know what to do next when they visit your profile.

Check the examples below:


You can see that Yaro Starak uses his Twitter bio combined with a pinned tweet to invite his followers to grab his free blueprint, in exchange for their email address.


Here you can see how Ian Brodie uses his CTA in his Twitter background photo and bio.

You can create these Twitter backgrounds very easily using tools like Canva and Snappa.

Ii) Build A Targeted Twitter Following

Getting leads through Twitter requires you to build a targeted list of Twitter followers who have the potential to turn into clients in the long run.

Follow people who are interested in your niche, products, or services. They are likely to follow you back since they can relate to your industry or topics you talk about.

It’s all about who you follow and who follows you back.

Also, consider searching for hashtags, keywords, or company mentions when you search through tweets related to your industry.

Iii) Share Click-worthy Content

Tweet quotes, questions and trivia along with usual industry content as they are some of the most shared content on Twitter.

You can use pieces of your own content as quotes.

Ask questions and share links to yours or others’ blog posts that answer those questions. Asking the right questions will help you get more retweets and shares.

Iv) Educate And Engage Before You Sell

Understand what your followers need and give it to them. Share content that educates and engages with them.

There is no exact formula that says how many times you should be tweeting every day.

According to Buffer, "Post as often as you have engaging, entertaining, or useful content to share."

If you decide to tweet 7-10 times a day - split that between your own content, other people's content and promotional content that promotes your services or products.

But do not over-promote.

According to Rallyverse, a good rule of thumb is a 30/60/10 ratio.

That is - 30% Owned, 60% Curated, and 10% Promotional content.


V) Use Twitter Landing Pages To Move People Into Your Funnel

What better way to generate leads than through a landing page?

You can generate leads from Twitter and move them into your sales funnel.

Create super valuable actionable content for your followers that solves one of their major problems or answers a very important question in a strategic way.

It can be a short ebook, mini blog/video series, step by step infographic, white paper, checklist that can be offered to your followers through a landing page.

Keep your landing page short and simple with one clear CTA.


Its very easy to create landing pages with Leadpages or Unbounce.

A/B test elements of your landing page in case you don't see much conversions from it.

Are you already using these techniques for generating leads? Let me know in the comments below.

Source: searchenginepeople

Categorized in Research Methods

In today’s competitive business landscape, higher SERP ranking has become one of the most important challenges to e-commerce sites. Let’s have a look at some reports of renowned online marketers. According to a data generated by Custora, 26% of ecommerce orders come from search engine traffic. Kissmetrics reports that 30.5% of all ecommerce traffic originates from search engines and according to NChannel, 44% of online customers start their shopping experience with search engines.

Therefore, it can be concluded that it’s hardly possible for e-commerce businesses to sustain without SEO. If you don’t have a solid grasp of SEO tricks and tips, you won’t be able to make it to the top, thus missing out on significant revenue. To many people, ecommerce SEO may seem quite simple but under the hood, there are lots of interrelated factors that have to be monitored and modified in a planned way to increase conversion rate. In this comprehensive guide for e-commerce sites, we’ve jotted down seven highly useful techniques that can be used to leverage SERP visibility.

  1. Keyword Research

Keyword research is of immense importance when it comes to developing a successful ecommerce SEO campaign.

  • Researching the big daddy first – Amazon: Let’s see how you can utilize the largest online ecommerce site Amazon for keyword research. First, type your product’s keyword in the Amazon’s search bar. Now, Amazon provides a list of long tail keywords that not only convert better but are less competitive too. Repeat the procedure to find keywords for your important products. These procedures are a result of researches conducted by Backlinko, which is a leader in building next-level SEO techniques. It’s common for a number of ecommerce site owners to optimize the category pages through random keywords. Though this process has some advantages, it’s not absolutely perfect. It’s important to note here that though category pages might not have benefits over product pages, they too generate some sales. Therefore, take your time to find unique category page keywords.
  • Researching Google Keyword Planner: With Google Keyword Planner, you can make well-informed decisions about the keywords ideal for your business. This tool provides a comprehensive range of features to help you pinpoint a keyword’s popularity status, generate lots of keyword combinations in no time and remove low-volume searches. It isn’t a paid search tool and the data generated by it is immensely useful for ecommerce SEO. Keyword Planner enables you to research the following:SEMRush: SEMRush helps you to identify the keywords that are doing well for your rivals. To complete your keyword research, you need to maximize its reach and to maximize the reach, you should incorporate a mix of keywords used by your competitors too (that suit your business well). SEMRush measures the SERPs for the rankings of keywords you’re looking for. Once you’ve identified your keyword ranking, review the sites with bigger keyword footprints. You should stay away from incorporating smaller brands because of their comparatively smaller presence in SERPs.
    • Average monthly search amount for a certain period.
    • Keyword ideas based on your landing page, product category or a specific phrase.
    • Trends of search volume for keyword(s) over time.
  • Watch out for keyword cannibalization: Keyword cannibalization is a critical problem that occurs when the architecture information of a website heavily depends on a single key phrase or word. In some cases, it can happen unintentionally and due to a number of reasons like pagination. Though some webmasters intentionally optimize various pages with a single term to strengthen SERPs visibility, in reality, this effort leads to lower SEO effectiveness.


  1. Making improvements to the website


It’s very important for you to improve your website as much as you can. An improved website not only helps in search engine crawling, indexing and its ranking but enhances visitor experience as well.

  • Checking for existing site errors using Screaming Frog: Identification of existing site errors greatly helps ecommerce site owners to understand and rectify any poorly functional component or area of their websites, thus enhancing the sites’ online performance. With this check, you can have in-depth insights of your website and tweak the components obstructing your website’s present performance. Normally, a complete site audit seems to be an uphill and time-consuming task but tools like Screaming Frog has made the task easier for pros and newbies alike. Screaming Frog comes with an extremely user-friendly interface that helps you perform site audits easily to identify any existing errors.
  • Changing the Title Tags and Meta Description of the products: Unquestionably, primary keyword of your product/service has to be there in the title tag of your page. But if you want your product/service to be present in long tail searches, add modifiers like ‘best’, ‘cheap’, ‘review’, ‘online’ etc. Rather than making a simple title tag, add words that people generally use when searching for similar products/services you offer. Meta description is the text that appears under the hyperlink of your page when it appears on SERP. Leverage this by inserting attractive text as meta description for your products.
  • Optimizing the images and their tags: Just because the word out there in the market states that the crawlers from Google are not that adept at dealing with images and cannot understand the context they have been used in, people generally presume that this one concept of having the Alt tags for images can be overlooked. This is not so, and in disobeying this simple rule they might miss out on the little brownie points that Google might have vested upon them. Learning about the image optimization technique is a chance that you give your site to get friendlier with the search engine gods. Miss it and you miss your points as well.
  • Getting the rich snippets right: Adding rich snippets is probably the easiest way to show up on Google’s first page. As an ecommerce site owner, you can leverage one of the most attractive rich snippets namely reviews. Implementation of Schema markup on the ecommerce product pages helps you to obtain eye-catching snippets. Schema markup is a kind of special code that needs to be added to specific pages on your website. This code provides the search engines with better understanding of the page’s content. Remember that it’s not guaranteed that search engines will exhibit the rich snippets but addition of appropriate Schema markup increases the chances.
  • Internal linking: Google rates websites with valuable internal links favorably. The lesser clicks a visitor has to make to reach a desired page, the better. Therefore, it makes sense to link each page to other relevant pages in your site. Use of breadcrumbs not only improves a visitor’s journey across your site but also helps Google navigate throughout the site.
  • Page loading speed: Once the errors have been taken care of, you should concentrate on improving the page loading speed. With a slow-loading website, it’s not possible to hold visitors for a long time. If your website takes more time to load than it should, you have to try to improve the site’s speed. Reduction of file and image sizes, use of a different CMS and buying more server space are some useful solutions.

  1. Content for your products


Many ecommerce business owners underestimate the importance of valuable content for their products and the focus mainly encompasses the technical aspects of the site. But in reality, valuable content for products is equally significant to increase your conversion rate.

  • Product description: You can simply copy and paste the product descriptions from the manufacturer’s website or can repeat existing content but this is neither desired nor effective. Rather, you should concentrate on writing unique product descriptions which will help you boost the conversion rate. While writing product descriptions and texts for images, include targeted keywords which will help to increase relevance scores of the pages.
  • Consumer generated content:Encourage your customers to leave reviews for your products. That’s because more reviews are synonymous to more content and continuous reviews mean fresh content, which greatly would help in improving your site’s SEO. Besides, customer reviews act as original proofs to your prospective customers when it comes to becoming assured of the quality of their desired products. You may receive negative reviews which you may think as detrimental for your ecommerce business but in reality, these reviews help you improve your site and in turn, boost your future sales. You can feed customer reviews into the rich snippets and increase visitors’ movement across your site.
  • Removing duplicate content: Many ecommerce business owners face issues with duplicate content when it comes to their websites’ mobile versions. Duplicate content not only cause SEO issues but also affects SERP ranking adversely. Use of responsive website design could give an ideal solution to this problem. A mobile responsive website seamlessly works on any device including desktop and mobile phones. Use of advanced SEO techniques such as canonical tags helps you weed out duplicate content issues. Canonical tags help search engines to understand that a certain page is an exact copy or a copy with little variations and thus, the page shouldn’t be treated as a unique one. Use duplicate content checkers to identify and take preventive measures to avoid having similar content from other websites.


  1. Social media

Ecommerce SEO techniques always remain incomplete unless you make your product pages socially sharable.

social media

Addition of social sharing buttons helps your products to increase their social exposure. You can also add custom sharing phrases like asking questions for the same purpose. Leverage social media to monitor your brand through Google Alerts is another useful strategy, which would let you obtain quality links related to your site. Remember to include targeted keywords in your Google Alerts to keep a track of your competitors’ activities.

  1. Outreach and link building

To increase SERP visibility and awareness of your brand, you should use content outreach and link building. These help in identifying individuals, influencers and organizations related to your industry and connecting with them, thus building a healthy relationship.


  • Product reviews: Connect with bloggers by following their blogs regularly and keep in touch with them through emails and social media platforms, share their posts, leave important comments to develop relationships. Request them to review your products and offer enticing incentives in return.
  • Video reviews: Submission of video reviews of your products can help you increase SERP visibility of your product pages. Video sites like YouTube, Metacafe and Vimeo are considered to be good traffic sources when it comes to prospective customers looking for visually engaging reviews. This can also help in boosting organic and relevant traffic because of their high trustworthy nature.
  • Competitor’s link: A successful ecommerce SEO campaign strategy should include analyzing the competitor’s link as it helps you to understand the keywords responsible for their higher ranking. Try to obtain links from authority domains or pages where your rivals are acquiring links from. Use tools like ‘Open Site Explorer’ to track the links of your competitors. Before engaging with the sites, remember to remove any site with low DA score from the list as this may affect your SEO performance.
  1. Google product search optimization


Though your ecommerce site’s product pages can show up in standard web search, there is a more useful way to increase your SERP visibility. Google product feed is a data source of the meta data of your products that you submit to Google’s Merchant Center. Remember to submit adequate information about your products to the product feed to make them more useful and specific to user searches. Here’s how you can optimize the product search.

  • Submit a comprehensive product listing with as many specific details as you can.
  • You can manually submit individual products or else, if you want to submit the entire product database, do so using Google’s API.
  • Include images in the listing.
  • Ensure that your feed stays up-to-date.
  • Consider Google Base to improve your search listings’ quality.
  • Modify your content in accordance with seasons like holidays, winter etc.
  • Use standard categories.
  • Link your Google Merchant Center account to AdWords account and consider using Google’s Product Extension Ads to attain more control over your SERP visibility. In AdWords, you can include your product data feed to promote your products straight away in your ads. These will feature as product extensions.

  1. What do I do with obsolete/expired products?


Every ecommerce site has some products that have expired permanently. It mainly happens in fashion clothing or consumer electronics when older products/styles are replaced with newer products/styles. Though you can simply remove that specific product page, it will affect your SEO performance. Here are some useful solutions that you can try in this regard.

  • Redirect to the parent category: If you’ve relevant products that serve similar purpose like the expired product, you can redirect your visitors to your parent category.
  • 301 Permanent redirect: If you’ve replaced the expired product by a newer one, use 301 permanent redirect that redirects the expired product’s URL to the newer product’s URL. It also helps Google understand that you want the newer URL to get ranked instead.
  • Reuse URLs: If your ecommerce business consists of generic products, you can reuse the URLs to increase your SERP visibility and retain the page’s authority.
  • Complete delete: In case you want to permanently delete an expired product’s page like deleting the URL, page and the content, use 410 status code that informs Google about the permanent removal of the page.
  • Preserve informational pages: Certain informational product pages should be reserved to act as a valuable guideline for existing customers who may look for certain information, service and help through these pages.

Ecommerce businesses often face issues when dealing with ‘out of stock’ products. Here are three easy ways to resolve this.

  • Clearly display ‘out of stock’ messages to let the users know the unavailability of the products.
  • Display ‘shop more’ messages that encourage visitors to look around your website.
  • Display ‘related products’ messages that help users find similar products.



Ecommerce site optimization is a bit different from the way general web marketers work to increase SERP visibility of various websites. For an ecommerce site, improving SERP visibility may be triggered by various reasons but the ultimate goal is to increase conversion rate. It’s important to note here that SEO for ecommerce sites isn’t a one-time occurrence; it’s an ongoing process instead. Major search engines keep modifying their algorithms to bring the best suited results to the searchers. So, you’ll also have to keep yourself updated about the modifications and change your strategy accordingly to reap the benefits of higher SERP visibility. Though various other strategies are there to leverage SERP visibility, the above mentioned ones are proven and the most-used when it comes to improving your ecommerce site’s performance.

Source : http://www.business2community.com/

Categorized in Internet Technology

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