Spotlight on Web Surveys
Jury research doesn't have to be tabled due to tighter budgets. With the internet becoming as pervasive as the telephone, new research tools are available that make use of this tremendous technology. As of June 2008, Internet access in the U.S. has skyrocketed to 78% of the population, including every demographic, and with the average adult visiting 1,547 web pages per month.* Web surveys are just one such new approach.
Web surveys take advantage of this trend in internet usage. They are a cost-effective tool for quickly getting the thoughts and reactions of several hundred jury-eligible community residents to the issues in your case. Many attorneys have found that web surveys save their clients time and money by providing an early assessment of how jurors are likely to view a particular case and the kinds of damages they would consider. Web surveys are rapidly becoming a standard procedure in trial preparation for law firms, insurance companies, and corporations.
A web survey is basically an online mock trial. Community residents from the trial jurisdiction are invited to participate as mock jurors in an online civil trial. They go to a secure website and answer a series of questions similar to what jurors would be asked during voir dire, including questions about important case-related attitudes and experiences. After answering a series of screening/security questions, which would curtail their further participation if answered affirmatively, participants read an illustrated summary of the evidence and arguments by the plaintiff followed by a similar presentation of the evidence and arguments from the defense.
Jurors are then given jury instructions and asked to render their verdicts. They provide written explanations for their liability and damage verdicts, describing how and why they arrived at their decisions. These insights allow counsel to strengthen the trial strategy, plan jury selection and assess the risks of taking the case to trial.
Less Than Half The Cost of a Typical Mock Trial
Technology has impacted almost every profession over the years, including jury research. There's no doubt that mock trials provide invaluable information about a dispute, but the introduction of web surveys means attorneys are no longer limited to conducting research live, on-site. By removing the restriction of having to be in one place at a particular time, we have significantly reduced costs associated with conducting research. Travel expenses don't apply. Facility costs are gone. Recruiting fees and incentives to jurors for their participation are a fraction of the cost of conducting traditional mock trials. There are plenty of potential online jurors because participants are free to sign on at their leisure from the comfort of their homes . These lower costs allow us to cast a large net when it comes to participants. Surveys allow counsel to obtain feedback from hundreds of participants.
* The most recent usage information comes from the data published by Nielsen Online (http://en-us.nielsen.com/tab/product_families/nielsen_netratings), ITU (http://www.itu.int/en/pages/default.aspx).