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Quality, reliability, and coverage of the audience source: Conducting successful medical/healthcare research in Japan


We will be discussing the key factors to success, as well as the pitfalls, when doing medical research in Japan, with particular reference to the following five points.

  1. Source: The nature and location of your dedicated audiences
    -- You care about the ingredients of what you eat, don't you?
  2. Approach: How you will approach the targets
    -- Ultimately, it is the underlying relationship that is important.
  3. Survey Methodology: The survey design and questionnaire
    -- It really matters!
  4. Operation: Managing the project consistently
    -- There are more precautions to be taken than you might imagine...
  5. Analysis: The need to transform the collected data into insights
    -- Storytellers are required.

1. Source

When thinking about the source of the panel, (a) quality, (b) reliability of profiles, (c) reachable size and (d) coverage of segments (that is, specialties) are important factors that should first be checked. Reaching the right audiences is similar to having the right ingredients when cooking. In other words, the background to how the panel is built is of crucial importance.

As a member of the NIKKEI media group, we have access to a proprietary panel source comprised of subscribers of the "NIKKEI Medical Online," a unique media resource that offers special articles and clinical case stories to physicians. Members are carefully examined upon registration, which ensures certification of eligibility and proof of enrollment.

Not only are the subscribers real professionals - there are over 360,000 members (170,000+ physicians, 150,000+ pharmacists and 50,000+ other healthcare professionals) representing most medical specialties across all therapeutic areas. Also, because the membership is media-based, members are searching for information and are curious to learn and gain new knowledge on a daily basis. This allows for a significantly different quality of responses. The members do not merely have the intention of taking advantage of incentives first when completing surveys - rather, they are interested in and open to discovering new things, which leads to good cooperation with our projects. We value the willingness to engage in a proper manner.

2. Approach

Relating to the previous section, the how-to approach, sending invitations and getting approval for participation, ultimately depends on the relationship between the research firm and the targeted audiences. When you only have a one-way relationship, such as when sending surveys and collecting answers, it is difficult to achieve your goals. We believe that offering incentives in the form of information (especially when collaborating with professionals) requires trust and satisfying engagement.

3. Survey Methodology

Surveys and interviews are sometimes thought to be easy to conduct. Superficially, it appears as if one simply tosses out questions and the participants will give back answers. It is no surprise that there are numerous DIY tools. However, when you ask the experts, you will discover that such approaches give rise to many ambiguities. The results are often full of biases, and erroneous probing and data collection can also occur.

Did you consider the sampling? Did you consider the questions to be straightforward queries that do not lead to misunderstandings? Are there conflicts among your options? Do your questions cover every possibility? Are the technical terms correct? Are you sure that the tone is not strange in the target country's language? Overall, is your way of conducting the survey proven or based on experience?

4. Operation

There are numerous precautions to be taken while proceeding with a research project, regardless of its scale. All such measures are requisites for accomplishing the goal of assembling the optimal population for the study. The total targeted population will have a great impact on the final results, and it must be selected and monitored carefully from the beginning. In experimental projects (which make up the majority of research efforts), examining responses at an early stage and quickly modifying further research is often crucial. To achieve success with a project, you will need a skilled and experienced team to oversee it.

5. Analysis

Whether one is handling quantitative or qualitative data, meaningful insights cannot be generated simply by hitting a button. There must be a good understanding and knowledge of the historical background or surrounding circumstances of the business to derive a convincing story. Such information is not collected in the survey or interview itself, but rather it is either shared knowledge within the research firm or is additionally collected (even if not required) based on enthusiastic expertise.

Last but not least, it should be noted that projects do not take place in isolation. Rather, the corporate culture and mindset of personnel who act with honesty and put their very best into every project are the factors that fuel success.

Nikkei Research has been faithful and has acted with sincerity in every project it has carried out since its foundation in 1970. Its goal is to generate the optimal outcomes from its research and to deliver eye-opening insight. Our corporate culture fosters an environment in which everyone is always eager to learn and experiences joy when discovering the new horizons. We are proud of this philosophy and will be sure that it continues to inspire.

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NIKKEI Research

We help to satisfy your research needs and derive meaningful insights. Our overseas offices in Thailand and the United States provide you with support globally. With over 50 years of experience, we specialize in numerous areas across industries and are involved in both BtoC- and BtoB-related endeavors. We cover a variety of topics, from market validation, employee engagement and customer experience to branding, complex analysis and beyond.

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