Each of our national studies has included a large-scale survey of a representative sample of the population. To execute these national surveys, we have partnered with leading polling firms such as YouGov, Ipsos and Kantar. Drawing on their expertise, this fieldwork is executed online or by telephone to ensure that every corner of society is reflected in our final numbers. If necessary, weights may be applied after the fieldwork is complete to correct for any over or under representation of groups in the population.
Traditionally, opinion research analyzes differences through the lens of political party identity and demographics. More in Common has sought to broaden this approach by understanding how attitudes are shaped by different worldviews and value systems. To understand these groupings, we have created segments by using statistical techniques known as ‘cluster analyses’ to identify patterns of similar attitudes and beliefs. In each of our national segmentation studies, we have collaborated with professional statisticians to use methods such as k-means, agglomerative hierarchical clustering, and principal components analysis to identify these groupings.
For instance, we have often identified a liberal and cosmopolitan urban group that tends to be more educated, more secular, more deeply engaged in social and political issues, and which believes strongly in human rights, the benefits of immigration and environmental causes. By conducting a segmentation analysis, we can join the dots and develop a more complete picture of the connections between people’s beliefs. In today’s era of deepening tribalism, when social media and other forces are grouping people into like-minded groups, this approach provides deeper and more valuable insights than traditional approaches that compare people across simple demographic groups.
Much of our learning comes through hearing people’s perspectives in their own words. In every major study we have conducted, we have deployed one-on-one interviews, focus groups or both. In these settings, we see and hear all the elements of human communication: conviction, doubt, indifference, arguments, connection and confusion. The insights from our qualitative research are interwoven with our quantitative insights to reflect the complexity of the people and societies we are trying to better understand.
To ensure that our studies contain valuable and original insights, More in Common collaborates with academics and experts in related domains such as political science, sociology and psychology. These external partnerships allow us to draw on key discoveries from academia to enhance our understanding and build a more complete analysis.
For example, these collaborations have resulted in the inclusion of cutting-edge methodologies such as the Implicit Association Test (a methodology developed at Harvard University to measure bias) and Moral Foundations Theory (developed by psychologist Dr. Jonathan Haidt) to gauge ideological orientation). Today, our staff includes permanent academic advisors who help enhance our research methodologies and keep our thinking up to date with new and emerging insights.