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Shock to the (Stable) System - Applying Dynamics to Smokeless Tobacco Use

communication research / public health / tobacco / conferences / featured

This past weekend at the Western Communication Association Convention in Spokane, WA, a colleague of mine, Josh Nelson, presented a paper titled, Toward the Scientific Study of Dynamic Communication Processes. Along with Josh, Professor John Sherry, and Esther Paik, I was fortunate enough to be one of the paper's co-authors, and I have been thinking quite a bit about what this paper can offer applied researchers and practitioners.

Although the paper is primarily theoretical, its ideas offer some food for thought when approaching public health issues. As with any applied endeavor, before translating the paper's ideas into practice, some explanation is needed.

What are dynamics?
Dynamics refer broadly to phenomena that display time-changing patterns—in other words, dynamic processes are those... more


How to Moderate Focus Groups Like Oprah

focus group / qualitative / current events / featured

I am not usually interested in self-help books or “personal transformation” activities, but when a childhood friend invited me to go with her to a workshop hosted by Oprah Winfrey, I decided to embrace the potential cheesiness and buy a ticket. For two days, we (and a few thousand other people) listened as Oprah and a team of speakers talked about how to create “The Life You Want.” I heard all sorts of things over those two days---some of interesting, some useful, some a little crazy—but I found myself surprised over and over by how much Oprah was like a focus group moderator. As I watched her tell stories about her career and manage the crowd of thousands, I... more


Economic Voting in Developing Democracies Workshop at the University of São Paulo

economics / voting / conferences / featured

I was fortunate enough to receive an invitation to this recent workshop on economic voting in developing democracies held in São Paulo, Brazil. The workshop brought together a number of international researchers focusing on the phenomenon of economic voting in developing countries. Much of the work presented employed public opinion data on why and how citizens in developing democracies vote. The workshop was hosted by the University of São Paulo which is a leading South American University in many fields, including political science.

Economic Voting Workshop Brazil

The term economic voting can generally be described as voters rewarding or punishing incumbents based on economic performance. The 1992 U.S. presidential election is a notable example.... more


Frequent Survey Responders on Online Panels

featured / survey research / blog

FMG regularly conducts online surveys as a means of data collection. We recognize that like all survey modes, online surveys have their limitations, in many cases due to how the online panel provider procures its sample of respondents. Online survey One potential problem is that online panel members differ in their propensities to participate in surveys: some respondents take numerous surveys every week or month, while others take few or none. This phenomenon of "frequent survey responders" (Coen, Lorch, & Piekarski, 2005) concerns survey methodologists because the act of taking numerous surveys may have an impact on the way respondents answer the survey questions. Along these lines, the survey research community has voiced two concerns about respondents who take a... more


Making FMG Great - Why We Value Lunch and Learns


If you’ve had the chance to work with FMG over the past few years as a partner, client, or employee, you’ve probably noticed one personality attribute all of our employees embody – curiosity. Our team is made up of 70 people that are eager to learn something new, apply different approaches in their daily work, and interested in hearing the opinions and practices of those in similar fields – whether it be cognitive psych, I/O psychology, communication research, software development... the list goes on. In an effort to help employees keep growing personally and professionally, we implemented bi-monthly Lunch and Learns back in 2013. Two years later, Lunch and Learns have proved to be a great success and something we recommend other companies try.

Should... more


How Behavioral Economics Can Help You Keep Your New Year's Resolutions

featured / behavior economics / conferences / featured

Behavioral economics is a branch of economics that takes into account the seemingly irrational aspects of human behavior. Instead of treating people like robots that never make mistakes and always choose the best options, this line of research takes into account the apparent inconsistencies of our decisions. As anyone who has ever tried to change their decision-making patterns knows, it is not always easy to commit to behaviors that we know will improve our lives and lead to better long-term outcomes or goals. In a recent talk titled "Tackling Temptation," Professor Katherine Milkman outlined some of the findings of her behavioral economics research and how those insights can be put to use by both individuals and policymakers.

  1. Temptations? Bundle... more