Public opinion drives policy

Finally allowed to voice my opinion!

March 23, 2011

Without going into “overdrive”, we can report that Dutch drivers recently had the opportunity to voice their opinions on policy – en masse – thanks to Synthetron!

We mean by this that over 6000 drivers had their say. For three days, Synthetron registered their views on assignment by the ANWB (the foremost Dutch Automobile Association).

“I am finally allowed to express my opinion!”

This survey will help the ANWB to present the government with some solutions to a prickly situation. The report goes beyond the standard traffic statistics and proffers interesting opinions. Dutch drivers expressed their views on traffic jams, road pricing and the ways in which politicians can and ought to react.

How does Synthetron work here?

The Synthetron method consists of an online dialogue capable of hosting up to 1000 participants for a one hour debate. Decision-makers ask questions from the general public and thus gain insight into the prevailing opinions and ideas at large. Participants debate amongst themselves. They share their opinions on every relevant posted commentary, and reach clear conclusions about the problems. This survey method powerfully combines the qualitative with the quantitative aspects. Thus generating an overview on the opinions and the motivations that drive the participants. The success of the Synthetron method is partly that participants have a positive experience.

  • “I am very happy that the ANWB has given us the opportunity to voice our opinions.”
  • “This is a useful and valuable discussion.”
  • “I am finally allowed to voice my opinion “

“Heavy calibre” methodology

Synthetron is part of a wider approach. The Ruigrok Agency organised a quantitative large-scale survey, to be followed by a more in-depth inquiry into fundamental questions. Synthetron was assigned to collect additional information on seven major underlying themes. Participants felt personally involved and able to identify with the problems. For that purpose, a large-scale recruiting campaign was launched in cooperation with Amplixis in order to find some 6000 proactive respondents. Synthetron (in collaboration with the ANWB) composed the scripts for an effective interactive dialogue.

What was discussed?

The discussion topics, the themes and queries were drawn up in an unambiguous and comprehensible manner in order to ensure clear conclusions. A team of specialised moderators kept the discussions on the right track. Subsequently, the proffered ideas and opinions were analysed for two weeks by Synthetron. In the end, the Synthetron results added even greater value to the quantitative results of the Ruigrok Survey. The final report was sent to the government for the latter’s evaluation. All of the above is a fine sample and telling example of what can be realised by a well-managed methodology.

Source: Communication Business Solutions magazine

German article: Synthetron ANWB Anwenderbericht