Madeleine O'carroll

  • Dublin 6

Work History

Work History
2006 - Present

Freelance Reseacher

Have held a wide variety of posts and roles in this period.

Private company: Trade research, market value and volume sizing and trend analysis

Private Company:  Qualitative interviewing and reporting for top and middle tier legal firms in regard to service provision and client satisfaction.

Private company:  Preparation of marketing strategies and activities plans for professional services firms in engineering, architecture and legal sectors.

Private company:  Advisory role on multinational employee survey in hospitality sector (Quantitative).

Public body:  Research Manager with Crisis Pregnancy Agency. Acted as member and adminstrator of national steering groups for publication of first national study on sexual experience and activity reporting to the Agency board.  Set up primary policy positions, peer review programmes and evaluation of capital programmes.

Public Body: A full assessment of all services and support available to users of the rivers and canals of island of Ireland.  Preparation of a flexible database of information in an updatable format.

Public Body: National on-line survey of early childcare and education service providers

Professional Organisation:  feasibility and project preparation for the provision of internal services for membership

Charity: Organisational audit and review

Charity:  Fundraising training programme and presentation development. 

Sep 1994 - Jan 2006

Director of Research & Operations

CST International Ltd

Taking a start-up company to becoming one of the leading providers of customer and guest satisfaction monitoring programme providers in the EMEA region was one of my main achievements with this company.  Household named clients in the hotel and restaurant sector use our programmes as a key building block in supporting their brand development and quality control.  CST acts as data integrator for information streams in Balanced Scorecard systems used by some of our clients.  CST is also pivotal in administering company based bonus schemes for thousands of employees. 

As Director of Operations the first objective was to automate the input side of the research process. I designed, helped build, maintain and develop an automated data recognition, processing and reporting suite.  The system peaked in processing over 250,000 questionnaires in a 10 day period and provides on-line reporting in multiple languages.  The development of hand held computerised data collection, sometimes self adminstrered and sometimes assisted also underpins the drive to automate as much of the research process as possible.  On-line surveying in multiple languages with full visual stimulation is also provided.

The second step of automating the output side lead to the development of an adaptable reporting suite designed to deliver templated reporting as well as ad-hoc querying systems to the desks of every employee in the client organisation, as needed.  Multiple language options, printing systems and varied computer configuration considerations helped define the system design principles.

As Director of Research I had complete control over all elements of methodological design and implementation.  Key to our success was an ability to access interested samples rather than using standard approaches to the overall population.  Talking with insurance companies in the UK , for example, allowed us to launch the first national survey of car owners usurped after three years by the Top Gear JD Power survey. 

Nov 1990 - Aug 1994

Freelance researcher

On returning to Ireland from London I worked with a variety of different companies:

Private company:  Reader evaluation of new magazine layout and content (Quantitative)

National agency: Advisor on research proposals for a national survey of young people and their attitudes (Quantitative)

Feasibility Studies: International hotel operator requirement for project development, economic, regional and national supports as well as tourism planning and resources (Desk and Qualitative)

Pharma company: Evaluaton of reaction to introduction of pregnancy related products (Quantitative)

Jun 1988 - Nov 1990

Research & Information Officer

KPMG Peat Marwick McLintock

Within the national marketing office with responsibility for new and current client pitching, cross selling support and client development.  Work was based on assessing publically available information from a variety of business libraries and the newly launched subscription online information services.  Also worked within the consultancy division when research services and support needed.  Launched and promoted a national company programme on cross selling based on a database developed in-house.

Oct 1987 - Jun 1988

Epic Communications Ltd

As part of a human resources management company backed by the trade unions I worked on large scale employee studies in UK PLCs  at a time when "re-engineering" and 360 degree programmes were first introduced.  As a researcher I was responsible for all aspects of the research programme including historical analysis of large data sets using multivariate analysis, lifestyle, regression and factor analysis to underpin a published theory of the psychology of the workplace and employee motivation.

May 1985 - Oct 1987


Harris Research Centre

One of the top 10 research agencies in the UK gave me a wide ranging basic education in market research first within the automotive division with exposure to syndicated panels, continuous rolling programmes of service assessment and new product evalution, 

Within the Social & Political divison I supported the firm's position as primary polling service for ITV.  Here I learnt about political sampling methods as well as "Quickie" surveying and the range of European sponsored surveys conducted by the firm.  Moving on to Transport and Tourism and then later to the IT division extended my knowledge of industries, use of technology and varied methodologies employed within the firm. 


Dublin City University  1980-83

 BA Communications

Murray State University - College of Business and Public Affairs, KY, USA

MS Communications  1983-84

Microsoft Certified System Administrator

Proficient in Office, MSSQL, SPSS, Cognos, Eyes& Hands, On-line surveying

Longitudinal trend analysis

Having spent over ten years working on longitudinal studies, trend analysis, how to influence it in a positive manner became a regular activity.  With monthly reviews, quarterly and annual rollovers, benchmark indicators and KPIs it became possible to identify where and how staff within an outlet produced a positive outcome. 

With the ultimate goal of protecting the brand asset, particularly in a franchised business, it is possible to combine sales figures, customer satisfaction, quality inspections and produce comparable  network wide indicators so that leaders and laggards could be easily identified and targeted.

How to do a survey when you have a tight budget

Working freelance exposes me to many of the free and near free tools available on the net.  For example, a recent project allowed me to complete an online survey of 370 professionals starting with a mailing list of less than 100.  Using snowball techniques and the power and speed of the internet this survey was conducted and produced basic tabulated data analysis for a development cost of less than €100.  Complex routings, company logos and visual stimulus are all available within a survey within a couple of hours.

Getting to know your customers

Chasing the circle from promotion campaign through to gauging the customer experience is a near impossible ambition with most in house information systems but when possible it provides invaluable behaviour about customer potential at every stage in the cycle.  It is very productive in understanding the type of people who responded to the promotion, actually purchase the product or service through to their after purchase satisfaction levels  It helps hone the offer to suit the potential audience in a way that is not normally always possible.