We are doing a series of blog articles this month focussing on our international research expertise.
I would like to introduce you to our next Guest Blogger – Erdogan Gundogdu from Eksen Research in Turkey
8 Tips for Researching in Turkey
1. Do not calculate the length of an interview according to the English language. A pilot session that lasts an hour in Chicago might easily take two hours in Istanbul. The number of words almost doubles when translated from English into Turkish.
2. Do not force research agencies to give you recruitment updates three to four weeks in advance of a study. If you want accurate updates, expect to receive them starting at most two weeks before your study begins. Otherwise, you will get different names every other day because we Turks do not live according to fixed plans.
3. Do not expect to conduct studies at dinnertime during Ramadan or at any time during Eid-ul-Fitr or Eid-al-Adha. Even though not everybody fasts or celebrates religious holidays, people benefit from these traditions.
4. Turks are very sensitive about national issues, and they are proud of being a Turk. On special days, it is not surprising to see international brands like McDonalds or Coca Cola celebrating Turkish national feelings on TV. When Cola Turka (a Turkish cola brand) entered the market in 2003, it benefitted from being a Turkish brand compared to its international rivals.
5. Women’s long struggle to take part in social and professional life has recently been bearing fruit unnoticed, even though this is still far from satisfactory. Conducting studies among women with male moderators is not at all a problem. Turkey has been a secular country for more than 80 years.
6. There is no specific rush hour in Istanbul. It is always rush hour. So, plan your arrival or departure accordingly. Do not always expect respondents to come to your session on time. Some may come too early, and some may come 10 to 15 minutes late.
7. Hospitality is something Turks are really proud of. When we conduct ethnographic home visits, we know that visiting the respondents at home with a moderator, interpreter, cameraman and foreign client all together will not be an issue. People welcome us if they know that a foreigner is with us. That may be strange to understand, but the general population loves to interact with foreigners because most Turks do not often see them. We love to offer drinks to our guests (mostly black tea or Turkish coffee). Rejecting an offer is not welcomed. If you do not like tea or coffee, just ask for water instead. You must take something from us so that we feel that we have shared something.
8. With regard to Turkish cuisine, we are lucky. Turkey is located at an intersection where many cultures have passed through and inhabited for thousands of years. You can choose Middle Eastern and Mediterranean delicacies combined in one traditional Turkish meal. Most evening meals are fish. Raki (a strong anise-flavoured brandy) is the inseparable drink of evening meals (at least, in restaurants) because raki and fish complete each other. If fish is not your preference, then you have dozens of mezes (hors d’oeuvres) to try.
Watch out for my next article coming soon on International Research: Misconceptions & Truths about Qualitative Research in Turkey.Subscribe