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As the speed of business plunges forward at a blistering rate, research sprints along racing to provide just-in-time insights. And that means field windows - the time people have to respond to surveys - become shorter and shorter. But at what cost?

When we field a survey overnight, are we cutting it too short? What if the answer we find is wrong? Are we somehow biasing the results and collecting potentially misleading information? When is fast, too fast?

These are important concerns. That's why we conducted some research on research, looking at the effect of 24 hour field windows on the answers we obtain.

In the United States and Canada we examined the results of eight omnibus surveys, comparing the answers of those who responded in the first 24 hours with those who responded two, three, four or even five days later. We discovered that length of field windows has no bearing on how respondents answer.

In our study, people who answered within 24 hours gave the same answers as those who responded after two or three or more days, on topics like age, race, gender, satisfaction with the government, mobile phones, government priorities, shopping online and many others.

So as the need for speed increases, we can be comforted that formerly unthinkable time lines like 24-hour turn around are not compromising the quality of the insights we provide. But don't take my word for it. Check out our short reports on the US and Canadian Studies.

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