what is an online community

What to expect from an online community research study

At Angelfish Opinions, we conduct market research studies with some of the biggest brands in the UK. From retail to health, we cover a wide range of industries. Taking part in a market research study can be highly rewarding as you get to have your say, plus, you can also influence how a brand brings its new product or service to market. If that wasn’t enough to tempt you, you will also receive an incentive for your time – making it a great way to earn a bit of extra cash on the side.

We conduct many different types of market research studies here at Angelfish, but one of the most popular ones are those carried out as an online community. But what is an online community? And what can you really expect from one? This article will take you through everything you need to know so that you can confidently take part and get your opinions heard.

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What is an online community?

So, first things first, what is an online community? Well, an online community is made up of a group of people who come together online to discuss a particular service or product by a particular brand. This discussion is held on a secure platform and you can use a tablet, smartphone, app or computer to take part.

How long do online communities take?

This ultimately depends on the brand’s criteria. Generally speaking, though, online communities usually require respondents to log into the community portal (which is kind of like a discussion forum) for around 15-20 minutes a day, for between 7 and 10 days. This makes it easy for you to fit it in around your personal life and other commitments.

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How do I answer the questions?

Market research is conducted to find out what customers really think about a product or service. Meaning: say what you think – no filter! Brands want to know where they can improve and what you don’t like, as well as what you think they’re doing well. When it comes to length, you’ll need to ensure your answers are detailed enough to give clear reasoning behind what you’re saying, but there’s also no need to submit essays! Remember, most of the time, you’re required to spend 15-20 minutes in the portal per day – so make sure you use that time fully.

Why should I sign up to an online community?

Online communities are great because they give you the opportunity to influence the brands you use on a regular basis, making everything from user experience to marketing and packaging to branding better for all their customers. The flexibility of an online community really is one of the biggest benefits: you can take part any time, anywhere, so if you want to login from your sofa with a packet of biscuits and a cuppa? No problem – it’s completely up to you!

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What about incentives?

Your time is highly valued by both us and the brands we work with, and we’re always super grateful – which is why we offer an incentive for all of our participants. This will usually be in the form of a gift certificate, bank transfer, or cheque. The amount you receive will vary depending on the criteria set by the brand, as well as by how long the study lasts. However, usually, you can expect the incentive to be £40-£150. The exact amount will be clearly identified at the beginning of the research study.

Fancy giving it a go?

Now that you know what an online community is and what you can expect if you take part, why not sign up and get involved? It’s totally free and only takes a few minutes. Once you’ve signed up, we’ll send you invitations to take part in studies that we think are relevant to you. Interested? Click the button below to join us!

Sign Up Here.

ways to make extra money

10 things you can do this summer to boost your career

Whether you’ve just completed your college course, graduated from university, or finished your post-grad qualification, there are plenty of opportunities for you to give your career a bit of a headstart and increase your employability when the time comes to start a new job.

Completing your studies can often leave people feeling a bit low, and the feeling of being in ‘limbo’ can start to creep in. That’s why this time – the period between finishing your course and landing your first full-time role – is crucial to gain as much experience as you can.

Plus, there are plenty of ways to make extra money, which is always useful! Of course, it’s important to relax after a busy few years of deadlines, coursework and exams, but spending three whole months over the summer with your feet up could leave you disadvantaged when you come to applying for jobs.

So, without further ado, here are 10 ways you can boost your career this summer and land your perfect role.

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1. Do some voluntary work

Volunteering is a great way to network and build contacts while working for an organisation you care about. Also, it allows you to become familiar with a range of workplace activities and build upon your personal development. From helping out at your local charity shop to getting involved in fundraising events, your voluntary work can take you a long way.

Volunteering is also a great way to combat the age-old ‘need a job to gain experience but need experience to get a job’ conundrum. There are many transferable skills to develop from volunteering, whether in retail, events, dog walking or anything else you can think of – and it will all give your CV and general workplace confidence a healthy boost ready for the big world of work!

2. Take on an internship

Internships are usually short-term placements within a company to train you for a certain role. An internship can give you a great insight into what working life is like and could even help you to decide what you do or don’t want to do when applying for permanent positions. Whilst it’s true that not all internships are paid positions, the experience they can give you – and the boost this gives your career – is invaluable.

3. Take part in market research

Market research is a way for brands to find out what their customers really think about their product or service. From your perspective, taking part in a market research study means that your voice will be heard and you can influence the way brands advertise, price, brand, package and place their product or service on the market.

But that’s not all: participating in market research shows initiative and helps to develop your world view and will also inevitably build your communication skills. Whether you participate in an online community or a focus group, research is all about communicating – and initiative and communication skills are definitely buzz words worth adding to your CV to help get you noticed.  

Plus, it’s a way to make extra money as you continue your search for your next job. So not only do you get your opinions heard by the brands you use regularly, but you can also impress future employers, show that you are proactive and passionate and make some pocket money too. To get involved, sign up to a research panel and start receiving invitations to studies that suit you.

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4. Go travelling

Travelling is a great option for those who’ve got the travel bug! It shows you’re willing to try new things and take on new experiences, as well as developing your confidence. Travelling often involves quite a lot of organisation and planning, which you’d be able to apply to the workplace, too. Plus you’ll have plenty of interesting stories to tell your new colleagues!

5. Start a blog

One of the best ways to show how passionate you are about a particular industry is to start a blog dedicated to it. Whether you want to work on your writing skills or talk about the latest industry news, starting your own blog will put you a step ahead when it comes to applying for jobs. You could use free platforms such as WordPress or Blogger, and let your creativity run wild with customisation.

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6. Join a club/sports team

Teamwork is a skill that most employers look for – and one of the best ways to demonstrate excellent teamwork is by joining a sports club. And that’s not all: developing a new hobby will also help you to de-stress from the mundane activity of job searching!

7. Organise an event

What better way to demonstrate your organisational skills than by putting together an event? Event planning involves logistics, marketing and a whole lot of organisation, which means it’ll give you a great opportunity to build upon your skills. You could give a talk on a topic that interests you or a charity fundraising bake sale – whatever interests you!

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8. Get a summer job

While doing all of your extra-curricular activities, you’ll need to find ways to make extra money so you can afford to live! Any experience is good experience when you want to land that perfect job – even if it’s just working for the local pub or corner shop. It’s important not to have gaps in your CV if you can help it, as employers may question what you were actually doing during this time! Plus, the new skills you learn will be great to add to your CV too.

9. Learn new skills

To strengthen job applications and demonstrate enthusiasm for your career, try and learn some new skills that are relevant to the role you’d like to go into. You don’t necessarily need to go off and learn three new languages or know the ins and outs of computer coding, but just showing motivation for your work will go a long way. For example, why not develop your writing skills with an online course or take on a short-course over the summer months at college?

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10. Network, network, network!

This one’s a big one. Often, when searching for your next role, it’s not what you know but who you know. Oh, your mum’s cousin’s friend’s uncle works for that company you’ve always dreamt of working for? Perfect! You’re in! But often it isn’t quite so simple – which is why you’ll probably have to put yourself out there a bit to hear of opportunities.

If face-to-face networking intimidates you, don’t worry – online platforms such as LinkedIn provide the perfect solution. Do some research into the kind of companies you’d love to work for and connect with some of its employees. A great tip is to send a direct message to them, asking them how they got their role or if they have any advice. Sure, they might not always reply, but there’s no harm in showing your interest!

All in all…Landing your dream job is often a long journey, so make sure you take your time and give yourself the best chance possible by taking every opportunity that arrives. In the meantime, there are plenty of ways to make extra money such as taking part in market research or working a summer job whilst you make more permanent plans. We wish you the best of luck!

Sign Up Here.

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Why we ask for certain data from you – we’re not just being nosy!

When you sign up for market research and enter the validation process, you may be asked a number of questions relating to your everyday life. This is because we need to recruit the most relevant participants for our clients’ market research studies so that they can generate fair results.

The brands we work with often have very specific criteria when recruiting for their projects to ensure that they get the insights they need. However, we understand that it can seem a little strange to be asked more ‘personal’ questions before taking part in a market research study. Officially, this is known as ‘special category data’, which the GDPR says is more sensitive and, as such, needs more protection. This includes things like race, ethnic origin, religion, or genetics. To process this data, we adhere to strict conditions as part of the GDPR law.

This blog post will take you through some of the most common things we ask and why we ask them, ensuring we always abide by GDPR rules.

What is your financial situation?

When validating you for market research, we may ask about your yearly income, disposable income, and any debt you currently have. Of course, you are not obligated to answer this, but this information can be vital because it allows our clients to really understand their customers. Rest assured, your answers are used purely for market research purposes and will not be passed on to a third party.

We may also ask for your bank details for studies where payment is delivered by BACs so you can get paid for your time. Don’t worry, though – it is perfectly safe to give your account number and sort code as this information can only be used to pay money INTO your account. You could also get your incentive in the form of an Amazon voucher, depending on the methodology.

On occasions, you may be asked about your financial situation will help us to match you to our client’s criteria and to ensure that we are representing a certain audience fairly. Once again, you don’t have to answer this but if you don’t, we may not be able to take you forward for the research study. We will always give you a breakdown of the type of information we are storing, how long it will be stored for, as well as details of any third parties, and a clear indication of how they will process data.

What is your political affiliation?

Again, when you sign up for market research and move through the validation process, we may ask for your political affiliation. This can seem a little odd, however, we do this because our client needs to reflect their demographic as closely as possible or else the opinions could become irrelevant. To give an example, if a brand knows that their eco-friendly product is purchased by people who support the Green Party, which has strong environmental values, interviewing people who don’t support this party would not give a good insight into what their target audience really think.

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What is your sexual orientation?

We may ask for your sexual orientation or your opinion on LGBTQ+ and feminist issues to ensure an equal representation is acquired for the market research study. Everyone should have a voice in market research to get their opinions heard.

How would you describe your ethnicity?

We believe that diversity within market research is really important. Making sure that everyone is equally represented is vital to any market research study in order to produce the best outcomes, whilst conducting research with respondents who have a wide range of different backgrounds also ensures brands don’t make avoidable mistakes.

Who is living in your current household?

We may ask you who you live with and what their occupations are (if applicable). This is to assess whether you are part of the demographic our client is looking to recruit. For example, a brand may want to conduct a market research study with parents whose kids still live at home with them.

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What are your purchasing habits?

This question is asked to find out whether you are a customer of the brand we are working for to ensure an equal representation. Often, this information won’t be provided on your market research invitation so that we can recruit both customers and non-customers for our client. With this question, honesty is always the best policy as you don’t always need to be an existing customer to take part in the research.

As well as this, the brand may be conducting research on their competitors to understand their market better as a whole. In which case, this question is asked to assess why you may choose one product over another.

What is your address/where do you live?

Some market research studies involve an in-home interview, which is where a researcher comes to your house to see how you use a particular product within your day-to-day life, asking you questions as you go. So, in this case, we will need to provide an address for the researcher to go to.

Another reason we ask for your address is so that we can represent a particular audience from a particular area. For example, our client may wish to conduct research with 25-35 year olds from Manchester.

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What are your social media account details?

We may ask for your social media username (such as your Twitter handle) as it could relate to the inclusion criteria provided by our client. For example, if a brand wanted to conduct market research with people who regularly post on social media, we would need to ask you if you’re active. In order to ensure that all our research is conducted fairly, we ask this question to be able to verify the most active social media users.

Equality in recruitment

All in all, we only ask these questions so that we can get a fair representation of respondents for our clients, who often have very specific criteria. We need to recruit those who use the brand’s product or service and who also fit a particular demographic.GDPR applies to every organisation, including market research and fieldwork agencies, so we always handle data sensitively and transparently. Each individual has certain rights when it comes to sharing data with us, including the right to object, the right to be informed, and the right to erasure, which we always respect. If you have any further information about the questions we may ask once you sign up for market research and the data we acquire, don’t hesitate to contact us.

Sign Up Here.

make extra money online

5 Steps to Reducing Plastic Waste

We’ve all seen the upsetting images of plastic items clogging up the oceans and damaging natural wildlife. And, with plastic production expected to increase by 40% over the next decade, the consequences of this shocking prospect could be devastating. Recycling alone is not enough to solve this crisis, so, what can you do to help reduce your plastic waste? Often, it’s more about the little things you can adopt in order to make small changes. After all, a lot of people doing something little is better than a few doing a lot.

To have your say in the way brands market and package their products, you can take part in market research. Your opinions are highly valued and you will get paid for your time. For those wishing to take part from the comfort of their own home, there’s even the option to share your opinions and make extra money online, too. In the meantime, check out these five simple ways to reduce your plastic waste…

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1. Take reusable shopping bags to the supermarket

Remember when plastic shopping bags were free? Not that long ago, we wouldn’t think twice about packing our weekly shop away in single-use plastic bags. But, since the plastic bag charge came into place in England in 2015, there has been a huge 85% drop in their use. They now cost 5p-10p each – hardly breaking the bank – yet this initiative has been really effective.

Many of us now use our own reusable shopping bags on our trips to the supermarket. But let’s go one step further. With so many products inside the store, such as loose fruit, still requiring you to use plastic produce bags, why not invest in some reusable storage bags, too? This way, you’ll save even more on plastic.

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2. Use refill stations

With eight million tonnes of plastic dumped in our oceans every year, the rate of our plastic waste is growing at an alarming rate. To help make one small change, why not try refilling your hand soap, laundry liquid, or washing-up liquid at your local Ecover refill station, rather than throwing away old bottles? Ecover produce 100% recyclable bottles that you can refill more than 50 times at these local stations.

Available at most UK supermarkets, Ecover bottles package washing-up liquid, laundry liquid, household cleaning products, and hand soap. They are the first major brand to implement a nationwide scheme like this, but with more and more refill shops popping up nationwide, it’s only a matter of time before other brands get on board and start offering the same service!

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3. Save money by using your own coffee cup

Takeaway coffee is so convenient when you’re on the go. However, we’re throwing away 2.5 billion coffee cups here in the UK, let alone the rest of the world. That’s 5,000 every minute. What are we doing?! Let’s make one small change by simply taking a reusable coffee cup with us wherever we go.

You can even get collapsible ones that don’t take up room in your bag! Many coffee chains, such as Costa Coffee, Starbucks and Pret A Manger even give you a discount if you bring your own cup, so you can save those extra pennies, too. Boston Tea Party has gone one step further and completely banned single-use cups – now that’s progression.

4. Stay clear of plastic straws and toothbrushes

With an estimated 8.5 billion plastic straws thrown away each year in the UK, it’s clear we still have a long way to go. Plastic straws are not recyclable and don’t decompose, and they also lead to long-term pollution of our land and oceans, clogging up waterways and harming wildlife.

UK consumers are the second biggest users per person of single-use straws compared with other European countries. But, with companies such as Final Straw selling reusable, collapsible straws that you can take with you anywhere you go, there are now more sustainable alternatives. There are also other reusable straws on the market, so you don’t have to buy single-use plastic ones ever again! Just making this one small change can lead to such positive results.

But that’s not all. We use 3.6 billion plastic toothbrushes every year, most ending up in our oceans and polluting the natural ecosystem. Fish and sealife don’t need to keep their teeth clean! Plastic in our oceans has huge consequences, not to mention the disruption to marine life. As an alternative, Humble Brush have manufactured toothbrushes that are made out of bamboo. Working with dentists, these brushes are not only good for your dental hygiene, but they also decompose in just 6 months in a household compost bin. They also make eco-friendly cotton buds and toothpaste, too, if you want to go the extra mile!

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5. Get your milk delivered

Another way you could reduce your plastic consumption is by getting your milk delivered in glass bottles from your local milkman. Okay, it might be a little more expensive than just popping to the shops to grab a bottle, but it’s worth considering, especially if you’d save on petrol. Plus, you’d be supporting your local milk farm.

Between 1975 and 2015, the amount of milk sold in glass bottles shrank by a huge 90%. Switching to plastic meant that we now use about 13 billion plastic bottles a year, including milk and other drinks and toiletries. That’s 200 bottles per person in the country, every year. So even if we just switch our milk bottles, and nothing else, we’ll have a great positive impact on the environment. You can find your nearest milkman here – let’s bring back the good old milk round.

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Let’s spark change

David Attenborough’s Blue Planet 2 was the most-watched TV programme in 2017, highlighting the effect our plastic waste is having on marine life. It sparked a change in people’s way of thinking, making many of us think twice about our plastic consumption. We still have a long way to go, but just by implementing these small changes into your day-to-day life, you can do your bit for the world. We just need to get the ball rolling! The government’s Resources and Waste Strategy is definitely a step in the right direction, but we all need to work together now to help the future.

So, now that you know how to reduce plastic waste, what are you going to do to minimise your impact on the environment?

At Angelfish Opinions, you can voice your thoughts and opinions to well-known brands by taking part in market research. You can have a direct impact on the way a product is packaged, launched, priced or marketed. Plus, you can make extra money online if you’d like to work it around your personal life. Want to get involved? Sign up to our panel today to start getting invitations to relevant studies.

Sign Up Here.

Sources

user experience research methods

The rise of the smart home – is it for you?

It’s so easy to automate daily tasks and chores nowadays. Using the latest technology, we are able to create smart and connected devices that are taking the meaning of modern living to a new level. What was once a thing of sci-fi movies is slowly becoming a reality – from communicating with robots to automating everyday chores, there are many ways our homes are evolving into something quite different. But is this way of living really for you?

One way companies get to understand their customers’ thoughts and feelings about particular pieces of technology is by conducting market research. Usability testing, or user experience testing, is a popular method for brands to see how their products work first hand. Whether it’s a particular app or brand new technological device, companies need to know how to best market their products in-line with their customers’ wants and needs. To get involved in user experience research methods, including to get the opportunity to test the newest technology on the market, sign up to our research community – you will receive invites to take part in studies that interest you. Plus, you also get paid an incentive for your time.

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What is a ‘smart home’?

Smart homes operate to the convenience of its residents. Want to turn your bedroom lights off from a different location? Adjust your thermostat without leaving the sofa? Check who’s at your door before you answer it? There are few limitations to what technology can do these days.

Using Bluetooth and wireless connections, smart home devices – such as the Amazon Echo – streamline everyday tasks that you can control, monitor and access remotely via smartphone or tablet.

Benefits of the smart home

Convenience – most people invest in smart devices for their homes as they want to save time doing basic tasks. Controlling things simply from a mobile device or tablet – from adjusting your thermometer to pre-heating your oven – provides a convenient alternative! This technology helps to streamline your everyday tasks, meaning that you can focus your time on the things you’d rather be doing.

Environmental – Controlling your energy levels all in one place means you’re can easily save on electricity and gas within your home, improving your energy efficiency. Smart meters are so beneficial, in fact, that all energy suppliers must aim to install them in every home in England, Wales and Scotland by the end of 2020.

Accessibility – from a mobility perspective, a smart home provides effective and accessible solutions for elderly or disabled residents. For example, voice control eliminates the need for people to move around unnecessarily.

Security – You can put your mind at ease when you’re away from your house by implementing security devices such as doorbell cameras. You’re also able to automate lighting within the house when you’re not at home, just by a click of a button on your phone.

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Is a smart home for you?

43% of Brits now own at least one smart product in their home. Many people enjoy the convenience of smart home appliances, but the initial cost can be expensive. As well as this, you may have to set aside some time to learn how to use this new technology effectively to decide what will be most beneficial to you and the way you live. Not only this, but the initial set-up of some devices can be fairly complex.

Broadband is faster than ever before, meaning it’s becoming easier to connect an entire home. However, security breaches are a cause for concern. For example, your smart home devices could be at risk of hacking. Therefore, it is important that your smart devices are connected to a secure internet system.

Interested in testing out new technology? With Angelfish Opinions, you can get your thoughts and opinions heard by the brands you know and love by taking part in user experience research methods. Your valued feedback will influence the way a product is launched, branded, packaged, marketed or priced. So – a great way to make a real difference while earning some extra cash!

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Technology today

New and dynamic products are coming to the market all the time, like the ones mentioned earlier. Market research provides the opportunity for brands to really get to know their customers’ thoughts and feelings about these new products. Plus, consumers can get their voices heard, while getting paid to do so.

If you’d like to get involved in user experience research methods, where you’d be testing some of the latest technology, you can sign up to our market research community here.

Sign Up Here.

best european cities to visit in summer

Backpacking on a budget: Top 4 European cities to visit

A trip of a lifetime awaits you in Europe – as one of the best adventures any aspiring traveller can experience, the European continent has such a lot to offer! So, don’t let Brexit put you off and get your backpack at the ready!

For many people, taking a gap year is the best way to fully immerse themselves in the traveller lifestyle. And why not? You’d return home with so many stories to tell, so many photographs to show off, so many memories to cherish.

The cost of travelling, however, is definitely something to think about. But with a bit of crafty spending, clever budgeting, and careful saving, you can make it work. Plus, with our paid market research studies, you can always make yourself a bit of extra cash to spend on your travels.

To help you decide where to go, we’ve picked our favourite cities for backpacking on a budget and reveal our top tips for saving that extra little bit of cash so that you can really make the most of your time away.

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1. Barcelona

First up on our list is Barcelona – a must-see city for those who want to experience its cool architecture, great nightlife, and tasty food! People who’ve visited Barcelona rarely speak ill of this vibrant city, especially when visited on those warm summer days.

In a city that doesn’t sleep, it’s unlikely that you’ll want to, either! From 24-hour beach parties to open-all-hour bars, Barcelona is young at heart, despite being surrounded by numerous historic buildings and cathedrals.

Set aside enough time to soak up every corner of this amazing city – each neighbourhood is unique to the last, but the most popular are Las Ramblas and La Ribera. Don’t just visit these areas, though; make sure you visit as many as you can!

Spending

You’re going to want to get thrifty in this city; it’s known for its high prices! However, as long as you plan ahead, Barcelona doesn’t have to eat into your travel budget as much as you think it might.

The average daily budget will be around £45-£55. However, some only spend around £20-£25 if staying at a cheaper hostel! So, entirely affordable, depending on the time of year you visit.

Don’t forget, you can save money simply by walking over taking the bus (which is around 2.20 euros each way), attending free festivals and activities such as walking tours rather than opting for the paid ones (they’re often just as good, and you’ll get to see so many examples of Gaudi’s architecture all over the city!)

Quick top tips

Park Güell is a public park with gardens and architectonic elements. Designed by Gaudi, it’s amazing to see, and definitely worth a visit. However, stick to the free parts of the park if you want to save some money – especially when you have so much more on your list to see.

The Sagrada Familia is probably the most iconic landmark of Barcelona, with its phenomenal architecture and stunning design! But if you don’t have 26 euros to spare for an entrance ticket – no matter! The real spectacle is the outside of the building, so you can still say you’ve visited, just without the price tag!

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2. Berlin

There are some hidden gems in Berlin, and it really is one to put on your travel checklist! Although perhaps not the most aesthetically pleasing on the surface, the vibe of the city is definitely one to experience.

Berlin is among the best European cities to visit in summer, where you can get the very best weather – which of course comes hand-in-hand with a great atmosphere! The city makes a great stop-off if you’re interrailing across Europe, and there are a range of affordable hostels to stay at. The East Seven Hostel is highly recommended, as is Circus Hostel and St. Christopher’s Berlin (if you’re looking for a party!).

To stay on budget, it’s worth sticking to the cheaper bars and restaurants, which can be tricky when the city has so many expensive options. Alternatively, you could choose to stay in a hostel that has a kitchen where you’re able to cook your own meals!

Getting around Berlin is pretty easy using their rail links. However, to get somewhere quick and, conveniently, Uber is a great option. The price is locked, meaning that you can’t get ripped off, plus it’s often cheaper than travelling by taxi anyway.

Quick top tips

Some highlights of Berlin include:

Checkpoint Charlie – The setting of many thrillers and spy novels, Checkpoint Charlie is a reminder of the former border crossing, the Cold War and the partition of Berlin.

East Side Gallery – Previously the Berlin Wall, the East Side Gallery is now the longest open-air gallery in the world.

New Synagogue – One of Berlin’s most beautiful buildings and a memorial important to Jewish life.

Reichstag – As one of the city’s most significant historical buildings, Reichstag is the Parliament and mirror of German history.

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3. Paris

We couldn’t write a post about the best European cities to visit in summer without giving Paris some of the limelight! This city is home to many great sights – from the iconic Eiffel Tower to the Arc de Triomphe, to the Sacre-Coeur, there’s always something to do here. With such a great vibe running through the city, there are many beautiful areas to visit, not forgetting the abundance of museums and art galleries to peruse.

To really get the most out of this city, you may have to accept that it may cost you a little more than other locations. Because who doesn’t want to gorge on wine, cheese, and pastries? That said, it is possible to save money on things such as travel costs (they say you see more of a place on-foot!) and avoiding eating out every day.

The hostels in Paris do tend to cost more than other cities in Europe – coming in at around £20-£35 per night, but is entirely worth a visit, even if you only stay for a few nights.

Quick top tips

Stick to Sundays: museums and galleries are often open for the public for free on Sundays!

Buy your metro tickets in bulk, not one at a time: plan your trip carefully and ensure you save yourself money on travel costs.

Take a picnic to the Eiffel Tower: if you don’t want to pay to go to the top of the tower, just sit and admire!

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4. Amsterdam

With its idyllic canals winding through the city’s streets, every new turn in Amsterdam presents a new photo opportunity for Instagram! One of the best European cities to visit in summer, there’s plenty to see and do – from art galleries to canal boat trips, museums to their more ‘interesting’ exhibitions, there’s certainly plenty to do here.

If you’re planning to visit Amsterdam on your year abroad, we’d highly recommend purchasing the I Amsterdam city card – it gives you access to discounted (and sometimes free) attractions, restaurants, and public transport. Having an I Amsterdam card also means you can skip the hassle of buying tickets at the city’s major attractions (the queues can get really quite long, especially at the Anne Frank house and the Van Gogh museum!) Also included in the I Amsterdam card is a free canal cruise! This is well worth doing if you want to learn more about the history of the city.

You can buy different versions of the I Amsterdam card – from a 24-hour card to a 120-hour card, depending on how long your stay is.

Things to do

A’dam lookout: get panoramic views of the city at the top of the A’dam tower, while enjoying a cocktail or two! For the daredevils out there, the ‘Over the Edge’ swing is Europe’s highest swing, where you literally dangle over the edge of the sky deck! Make sure you book tickets online as you will save some extra pennies this way.

Anne Frank house: Discover the story of Anne Frank as you walk through the house she was hiding in during the war. Although emotional, this is definitely worth a visit.

Delft: Just a short train journey away from Amsterdam is Delft. Away from the hustle and bustle of the main city, this beautiful town is absolutely stunning and full of history! Wander down the streets, along the canals, and around the churches before sitting outside in the courtyard lit by twinkling fairy lights.

Quick tips

Aside from the I Amsterdam card, there are other ways you can save money when visiting this city.

As travel is so reasonable, we’d recommend staying outside of the city itself, where the hotels and hostels are often cheaper.

Take a packed lunch – instead of eating out for all meals, why not make your own? There are plenty of benches overlooking canals where you can sit and eat!

Bulk-buy your train tickets: Plan your trip wisely by pre-booking your train tickets

Budgeting

These are just a few of the many amazing cities you could visit on your year abroad. Of course, to really make the most of your travels, it’s going to be hugely beneficial to ensure you have enough spending money while you’re out there. So, in preparation, you could take part in one of our paid market research studies. From online focus groups to at-home interviews, user testing to accompanied shops, there are lots of different ways for you to get involved. Interested? Just click here to sign up.

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get paid to shop

What’s really involved in an accompanied shop?

You probably think of market research as just filling out online surveys or taking part in focus groups, but it is actually so much more varied than that! Accompanied shops are a popular qualitative market research method used by brands to gain valuable shopper insights. If you love shopping, it’s the dream; you can actually get paid to shop in your favourite high-street stores! Brands want to understand the shopping habits of their customers so that they can make decisions about the products they produce and the services they provide, ensuring that they put their consumers’ best interests first.

What does it involve?

During an accompanied shop, a researcher will join you on the shopping trip, taking in the way you shop and the decisions you make. They will watch out for how you walk around the store, what catches your eye, and when you make your purchase. But don’t worry, they won’t interfere or influence you in any way, perhaps just asking the occasional question while you browse. For example, they could ask what you think about the layout of the shop, what you think works and what doesn’t work.

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Sometimes, you may not even be ‘physically’ accompanied during your shop – a digital assistant could be used. This advancement in technology has allowed for participants to log their customer journey through pictures, videos, texts and checklists. This way, participants may feel more relaxed and therefore act more naturally.

The whole research study can last between half an hour and two hours, depending on the brand’s criteria and the size of the store.

Location

You won’t need to factor in too much travel time as the study will tend to take place in a convenient place for you. Although, of course, this will also depend on the location of the store, and who the brand is!

Incentives

As a thank you for taking part in the accompanied shop, you will get paid for your time. The value of this incentive will vary depending on the length of the shop, but it will usually be between £40 and £150 paid in the form of cash, gift voucher, cheque, or bank transfer.

How you can get involved!

If you’d like to get paid to shop and influence the decisions of the brands you love, you can sign up to our research panel here. We’re always looking for people who want to get their views and opinions heard, wish to make a difference, and just want to have fun! Once you sign up, you will receive invitations via email to various projects – just choose the ones that suit you.

Sign Up Here.

What does Brexit mean for the UK

What Brexit means for the UK (by someone who doesn’t know about politics) – Part Two

Last time we spoke, we answered some of the most important questions about Brexit: How did it come to be in the first place? Can we stay in the single market if we leave the European Union, what on earth parliament keeps voting on, and most importantly, whether Milky Way Magic Stars will still be available after D-Day on the 29th March. But what’s been going on since then? Well, quite a bit actually.

Since the catastrophic defeat of Theresa May’s Brexit deal which was rejected by a whopping 230 votes, she headed back to Brussels to try and negotiate changes to the Irish backstops and get a revised deal for the Commons to vote on. However, unfortunately, Brussels wouldn’t budge, and at the time of writing this, the prime minister had promised MPs an update by 26th February. So what’s next?

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Well, last week MPs voted to block a no-deal Brexit after passing an amendment which rejects the UK leaving the EU without a withdrawal agreement, but at this stage, pretty much anything is possible.

Whatever happens, deal or no deal, hard Brexit or calling the whole things off, one thing’s for sure: Brexit is going to have a pretty big impact on our everyday lives. Without further ado, here’s our review of what Brexit really means for the UK.

Food

In either Brexit scenario, food prices are likely to go up. There’s a whole host of complicated reasons why, but basically they all come down to the fact that the UK will need to pay additional charges to import food (remember all that chat about import, export and the single market in the first blog? If not, refresh your memory here). And under a no-deal scenario, the UK would be treated as a “third country” by the EU – which means commerce would be governed by the World Trade Organisation rules.

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Around 52% of the food we consume has its origins in the UK – which means 48% of the food we eat is imported. In the first half of 2018, we imported £23 billion worth of food. Of that, around 30% of our imports are from the EU, with key examples including Irish beef (£425 million), French wine (£321 million – we can probably take responsibility for about 50% of that), and Danish pork (£171 million). We even spend £12 million on Greek olives! Further afield, our bananas come from Costs Rica (£50 million) and our grapes are from South Africa (£115 million). So if there’s a hard Brexit, tariffs on imported food go up by around 22% – which would add a whopping £220 million onto our food costs

And where would that be reflected? Food prices, of course. Meat, vegetables and dairy products are set to have the largest price rises under a no-deal scenario – and the Bank of England has warned that if the UK crashes out of the EU without a deal, shopping bills could surge by 10%. Sure, that’s the most extreme no deal scenario, but even if the government was able to negotiate a no tariff deal which would limit extra tariff costs, additional border inspections and safety checks would still see food prices rise by at least 3.8%. The average food shop in the UK is around £89 a week – and under a hard Brexit, this would increase to around £108 – which means you would add nearly £1000 to the food bill every year. Gulp.

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Farming

Next up (and a logical step from the issue of food), farming. Surprisingly, despite the majority of farmers voting for Brexit, farmers and food producers are among the most vulnerable businesses in a no-deal scenario. First, the supply of seasonal harvest workers, mainly from eastern Europe, will dry up unless new immigration rules are quickly brought in. And secondly, there’s the devastating impact on meat and food export. Not only will World Trade Organisation tariffs make our products less competitive on the continent, but EU rules mean a possible wait of up to six months before UK farmers are even certified as approved exporters.

There’s a pretty massive divide in opinion though (not at all surprisingly). Some are choosing to look on the bright side and argue that leaving the EU could actually give Britain a golden opportunity to secure ambitious free trade deals, all the while supporting our farmers and producers to grow and sell more great British food. However, others have a much gloomier outlook, with some going as far as to say that farming businesses could be completely wiped out after the Brexit transition. Gulp.

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People

One of the pulls of the left campaign was that the UK would be completely free to set its own controls on immigration. However, it works both ways: if passport and customs checks are heightened, there could be long delays at borders, and flights to the EU could be grounded as the necessary confirmations to cover both ends of the journey might not be in place. Meanwhile, the fate of expats (1.3 million Britons in EU countries and 3.7 million Europeans in Britain), their rights to live and their rights to work would be unclear. Professionals working in the EU might find the qualifications are no longer recognised, which means they would be no longer able to practice.

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Housing

So far, so scary. Surely things are looking better from the housing perspective though, right? Erm… no really. Mark Carney, Governor of the Bank of England (so it’s safe to say he probably knows his stuff) has warned that in light of a no deal Brexit, the economy would suffer and house prices could fall by as much as 30%. For first time buyers, that’s pretty good news (aside from the fact that banks will be willing to lend less). But for everyone else? Not so much.

Sellers putting their houses on the market are sitting there for longer, because buyers are waiting to see what happens. This has caused a decrease in transactions and is causing house prices to fall. Why does this matter? Well, the housing market is intrinsically linked to consumer spending. When house prices go up, people spend more. When prices go down, people panic that their mortgage is now more than the house is worth, and tighten their purse strings.

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Let’s look at it this way: if the bank lent you £200,000 for your house, they want all their money back and don’t care that it’s now only worth £190,000. So what happens? You start being much more careful with your money. That Friday night takeaway becomes leftover pasta, which means that the Chinese down the road makes less money, and therefore pays less tax, and less tax means the government has less money. The government will then try to get more money by raising prices of goods – which is also known as inflation – and it’s all linked in one big downward spending spiral. S

But really, only a no deal Brexit scenario will impact the housing market in a big way. Sure, Brexit is currently causing uncertainty, but the property market has always been this way – and data shows that the changes to buy-to-let stamp duty in April 2016 had a bigger impact on the market than the Brexit vote. So, as long as there’s no no-deal, there’s probably no need to panic yet (phew!).

Fuel

To sum up so far: So, to sum up so far: If the UK fails to agree on exit terms, we face the possibility of a hard Brexit, going outside of EU trading regulations and trading using international tariffs – which are expensive. In turn, goods imported to the UK are costing more, which goes for oil too. As a result, the value of the pound would go down, and fuel prices would increase by as much as 20% – and the shock to the economy could mean businesses withdraw from the UK and invest in safer places. However, a soft Brexit means fuel prices would remain the same, or possibly even drop slightly as confidence in the EU single market holds. Sure, there will be a level of uncertainty immediately post Brexit, which will manifest itself in petrol price fluctuations. However, having the freedom to make other deals with oil-rich countries could benefit the pound in the long term.

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When asked about the likelihood of a no-deal Brexit, as politics professor Tim Bale puts it, “almost every conceivable outcomes seems just as likely as unlikely”. As the Brexit drama continues to stagger towards its end date, things are changing by the day, One thing for sure: it’s written in law that the UK will be leaving on 29th March at 11pm. But other than that, it’s impossible to say with any certainty what will happen next. Hold on to your hats, guys – it’s going to be a bumpy ride…

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Why you shouldn’t clean & tidy before your in-home interview

When someone comes over to your house, it’s perfectly natural to do a quick once over before they arrive. Plump up the cushions, brush those biscuit crumbs off the sofa, cram that pile of dirty dishes into the dishwasher – whether you’ve got family coming over or are hosting friends for a catch-up, everybody wants their house to look its best! But, when it comes to doing paid market research from home, especially in-home interviews, researchers would actually rather you didn’t have a last minute tidy up. Yes, really – however strange it might feel, put the duster down and ignore those urges to quickly spruce the place up. Here’s why:

It could affect your behaviour

A researcher isn’t there to judge the cleanliness of your kitchen sink. They just want to know how you use a product or service in your own environment, on a day-to-day basis. For example, if the study is on kitchen storage and the research is gathering information on your storage habits, they’re going to be looking at how you move around the room and utilise your current storage solutions. Tidying, cleaning, and changing the area might affect the way you do this. Basically, if you have shoved a pile of post from the kitchen table into one of the kitchen drawers that you would usually use for something else, it will have a knock-on effect when you come to use that drawer – which will have an impact on the whole study.

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It could hide areas that need improvement

The idea of an in-home interview isn’t just to have a snoop inside your house. Rather, the researcher will be looking to identify any pain points. Or potential areas of improvement that their product or service could help resolve. In order to get to know you and identify things that do and don’t work for you, they need to really understand your rituals, your routines and your traditions. How else are they going to get a true understanding of how their product can benefit your life at home? By cleaning and tidying before the interviewer arrives, you could be covering up a pain point without even knowing it. Which means the study won’t be able to provide the most accurate results.

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Researchers want authenticity

In-home interviews are carried out to gain insights into how people really live at home. In order for the research to be authentic, interviewers will observe everything. From your verbal responses to questions, to your body language as you move around your home. So truthfulness is absolutely key. Don’t worry though, the interviews aren’t intended to be intrusive and they’re not going to rummage through your knicker drawer! All researchers want is to see you in your natural environment. Whether observing how you interact with friends round or simply watching you rustle up a bite to eat. They’ll ask you a few questions about the products you are using. They want to peek into your life and see how they can help. So in order to make a difference, it’s absolutely vital that you are authentic in both your actions and your answers!

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They’ll want to see the whole the house

When taking part in market research such as an in-home interview, it’s not unusual, in some cases, for researchers to want to see every room in the house. This is to get a real feel for your needs and a deeper understanding of your living space. And by every room, yes, that includes the spare room that is currently used as a dumping ground! That means there’s no point in gathering up any mess from your coffee table and dumping it in your bedroom. Because the researcher will most likely want to see that room too. Besides, if they need to take any measurements, they will do so using a laser. So you don’t need to worry about that pile of ironing being in the way.

In conclusion, when you take part in paid market research from home, researchers are looking for ways to help, not criticise. It’s all about identifying how you interact with different products and services and uncovering pain points so that they can improve their offerings and help to solve your problems. Remember, you’re not alone. We all have mountains of washing piling up that desperately needs to be sorted – the difference is who is brave enough to show it so that solutions to real-life problems can be developed!

Want to take part in paid market research with Angelfish? As with all of our market research projects, you will get paid between £50 and £100 for taking part in an in-home interview. Paid market research from home is fun, it’s flexible, and best of all, it’s a great opportunity to get your voice heard by big brands. If you want to get involved, sign up to our panel today.

Sign Up Here.

what does Brexit mean for the UK

What does Brexit mean for the UK? (by someone who doesn’t know about politics) – Part One

There’s a lot of noise going on in British politics at the moment and, unsurprisingly, an awful lot of it is focused around the dreaded ‘B’ word. No, we don’t mean Boris Johnson – we’re talking about Brexit. The toing and froing around all things Brexit has been confusing for many, with each different expert having a seemingly different opinion on what will happen after 29th March. So, what does Brexit mean for the UK? We thought we’d get someone without a clue about politics to have a crack at working it all out.

Read on for our Brexit breakdown, and find out what on earth is really going on in the world of British politics. We’ll start with the basics, look at the main arguments for and against Brexit and take a look at what all the recent votes in the House of Commons are about. And, most importantly, we’ll address the question that concerns us the most: whether or not Milky Way Magic Stars (which aren’t currently sold outside of the EU) will still be available after Brexit or if we should stockpile them while we still can…

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Back to basics

In 2017, the UK government paid £13 billion to the EU budget. EU spending on the UK was forecast to be £4 billion, making the UK’s ‘net contribution’ an estimated £9 billion. Since the UK voted to leave the EU in 2016 and Article 50 (the official way of telling Europe we are leaving) was invoked in March 2017, there have been endless talks about how Britain should go about leaving. The biggest hurdle? That all 27 remaining EU parliaments have to agree to the deal.

But in order to understand all that, first, we need to go back to basics and define what the EU even is – especially seeing as this was the most searched term on Google after the result of the referendum in 2016 (yes, really). The EU is basically a club of 28 countries in Europe. Each country pays to be a member, and in return, each member gets access to the single market. “What is the single market?” I hear you cry. Well, this means that the EU runs itself like one market, so you could move to Spain almost as easily as you could to Liverpool – or that’s the general idea, anyway.

The whole point of the EU forming was to break down the barriers for trading, allowing countries within the EU free movement of goods, services, capital, and labour (and also, y’know, to avoid WWIII – but that’s a whole different can of worms). It’s this last part, the movement of labour, that has caused a lot of unrest and was probably the deciding factor in the Brexit vote. But if the movement of labour is limited, then so too is the free movement of goods, services and capital. Basically, it’s au revoir to the single market as we know it.

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The single market

You’ve probably heard the term single market being thrown around a lot in the last couple of years, and that’s because it mainly relates to trade — the hottest Brexit topic. Because the EU is run as one market when it comes to international trade it means that the US, for example, has to trade with the EU has a whole, and not with Britain, France, or Germany as individual countries. It also makes it easier for Britain to trade with other EU countries, as there are reduced taxes on imported goods.

So, if France wants to sell its wine in Britain, there basically won’t be any extra costs involved in doing so — whereas if the US wanted to sell its wine in Britain, it would have to trade with the EU as a whole, and then have an additional trade deal with different taxes and additional payments to sell it in the UK too. As the biggest trade union in the world, some could say that the single market is quite a handy thing to be part of really. So, if we leave the EU, can we stay in this exclusive cool kids trading club?

Can we stay in the single market if we leave the EU?

Erm, no. Basically, the UK can’t stay in the single market without following the EU rules and regulations. If we did stay in the market but made our own rules, it wouldn’t be a single market anymore — it would be two markets, and that’s clearly not an option. So what do we do? Well, one option is regulatory alignment, which is a posh way of saying we align our rules with those of the EU so we can still have access to the single market. It’s a softer Brexit option that could help with access to the trade club, like Norway.

Norway has a deal with the EU which means they are a part of the customs union. Another word frequently thrown around, it sounds a lot more technical than it is and basically just ensures that countries charge the same import costs to non-members of the union. However, in this scenario, the EU still has all the power (meaning those who voted for Brexit aren’t that keen), and Europe is still pretty miffed at us for leaving. One thing’s for sure, though – with 44% of our exports going to the EU, if we don’t negotiate a good trade deal, our exports would be subject to import tariffs and extra admin costs.

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What does parliament keep voting on?

There seems to be some kind of vote going on in parliament every five minutes at the moment. First, there was the vote on the Chequers Deal, where Theresa May put her long-worked-on Brexit deal to parliament only for it to be historically defeated. The heaviest defeat of a Prime Minister in the democratic era, her deal was rejected by a resounding majority of 230. Ouch. Next, the Leader of the Opposition, Jeremy Corbyn called for a vote of no confidence, which the PM survived with a majority of 19.  

Still in Brexit deadlock, recently there were yet more votes in the House of Commons. MPs voted for an amendment by 317 votes to 301 to pass Theresa May’s Brexit deal if she can negotiate changes to the Irish backstop. The Prime Minister promised to return to the Commons with a revised deal to vote on by 13th February and hailed a “substantial and sustainable” Commons majority for leaving the EU. The only problem is, the EU immediately said the backstop wasn’t open for re-negotiation; this could make it pretty tricky for the PM to get a revised deal for the Commons to vote on when the EU has already made it clear they aren’t going to budge.

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What does this all mean? Basically, that as Theresa May heads back to Brussels for the billionth time, the Brexit saga continues to limp along. The Commons rejected a vote to extend Article 50 beyond the end of March, which means that D-Day is still looming in just two months time. And with No Deal looking more likely, the pound has dropped pretty sharply too.

As the drama continues to unfold, stay tuned for ‘Part Two’ of this blog series – what does Brexit mean for the UK? – where we look in more detail at the impact Brexit will have on our day-to-day lives. No need to panic, though! We’ve done a bit of research and it seems that for now, Magic Stars are most likely still going to be available. Phew!