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Interview with Naomi Stark, University of Salford

At Relative Insight, we’re in the world of language and linguistics – which means that we get to work with a huge variety of clients on a daily basis. It’s always wonderful to talk to the people who use our technology in interesting ways to discover fascinating insights for a whole host of use cases.

I caught up with one of our brand clients, Naomi Stark from the Market Insights team at University of Salford, to find out how qualitative research applies to the Higher Education space, and why comparison proves to be useful.

Quick fire round!

Where are you from? Manchester
What book are you currently reading? Hellbent by Gregg Hurwitz (Jason Bourne vibe if you’re interested!)
What did you study at university? Psychology
Who would play you in a movie? Holliday Grainger
Dogs or cats? Too hard to decide – both!

Now that we know a bit more about you, could you tell us about your role at University of Salford – what does a typical day look like?

I‘m one of the Market Insights Officer for the university. My role involves conducting market research, creating surveys, running focus groups and interviews, and analysing qualitative data.

A typical day can vary really! One day, you might find me writing a survey for a recruitment event, which, for example, might be handed out to prospective students at university open days. But the next day, I could be analysing these survey responses. I also help to facilitate focus groups for our student panel, along with conducting secondary research for various projects.

What data sources have you found to be most insightful?

Open-ended surveys prove to be really insightful, and the feedback we get from survey data often influences how we prepare for future recruitment events. Another valuable data source that Relative Insight has helped us tap into is student specific forums, which provides an organic representation of the student voice.

Can you give us an example of how your team have used Relative’s “Insights” to inspire action?

Once we’ve found interesting language insights using Relative, they are mainly used within the Marketing and Recruitment teams at the university. For instance, insights may influence the web copy, with the aim of making studying at Salford an attractive option.

Another example is our involvement with programme development or portfolio reviews. In this case, insights are often used as evidence to support the feasibility of a programme. Is the programme a viable business option, is there a market for it, would there be any uptake and is there an appetite for it amongst students?

What’s the most interesting project that you’ve worked on recently?

We ran a project called ‘The Future of Business’ where we wanted to explore the terminology being used across different sources talking about what the future world of business looks like. For this project, we used Relative Insight to compare how the industry, students and the media were speaking.

We found linguistic differences in how each channel spoke about the ‘future of business’. It proved really helpful for the marketing team to better understand what conversations were taking place around this topic and what terminology different groups of people were using.

Is there anything else you’d like to share?

Relative Insight isn’t just about comparing differences. You can also look at similarities and frequencies of words which are just as insightful. When I first began using the tool, I was always tempted to go straight to the differences between two data sets. But actually, frequencies also give really interesting insights that you may not have even thought to look for. The breadth of what you can do in terms of comparisons is the best thing about the platform!

If you’d like to find out how Relative Insight can help you do amazing things with your language data, whether it’s from surveys or social media, get in touch.

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