Orie Kristel, Ph.D., CEO

Orie V. Kristel Ph.D., CEO

His Background in Academic Research Orie V. Kristel earned a B.S. in psychology from Ursinus College in Pennsylvania and a M.A. and Ph.D. in social psychology from The Ohio State University. Social psychology uses the scientific method to better understand how individuals think, feel, and act in social situations. His academic training emphasized the study of both the theory and application of "how to influence others," the measurement of attitudes and attitude strength, the power of accountability demands, the construction and application of research designs, and quantitative data analysis.

His Background in Applied Research Orie completed his first market research project as a senior in college, when he collected and reported client satisfaction data for a medical care provider in the Philadelphia area. As a 19-year market research veteran who is ivory-tower trained and real-world experienced, he has successfully managed and led hundreds of market research projects. He appreciates and embraces every opportunity to design and deliver high-quality, usable research to his clients and partners.

Organizational Role In addition to fulfilling the duties required of a CEO, Dr. Kristel is one of the organization’s principal researchers. He is ultimately responsible for the quality of all work performed by Illuminology. He also owns Illuminology's sister company, The Strategy Team.

Some Personal Info As father of an energetic, adventurous middle schooler and an active, creative elementary schooler, Orie is frequently called upon to make electrical, plumbing, and other minor structural repairs to his home (which he secretly enjoys). Orie’s community activities include service on the boards of Directions for Youth and Families and the Clintonville-Beechwold Community Resources Center, which are nonprofit organizations in Columbus, Ohio. He continues to suffer as a Philadelphia Eagles fan but is now feeling more optimistic.

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Alison Szymanski, Ph.D., Senior Researcher

Alison M. Szymanski Ph.D., Senior Researcher

Her Background in Academic Research Alison M. Szymanski earned a B.A. in psychology from the University of Michigan and an M.A. and Ph.D. in social psychology from The Ohio State University. Social psychology uses the scientific method to better understand how individuals think, feel, and act in social situations. While in graduate school, Alison explored the linkages between human behavior and self-identity – how what we do informs how we think of ourselves. She was one of ten OSU graduate students to win a Graduate Associate Teaching Award in 2008. And working in conjunction with some of the nation’s leading survey research experts, Alison has published on the topic of survey response rates.

Her Background in Applied Research An eight-year veteran in the applied domain, Alison’s intuitive grasp of project requirements and ability to identify (and then communicate) the critical findings of a research engagement means she’s a natural fit with our company.

Organizational Role Dr. Szymanski is one of the organization’s principal researchers.

Some Personal Info Alison is from Michigan but we don’t hold that against her. When not extolling the virtues of Western Michigan, Alison enjoys watching Detroit sports on television, cheers on the Michigan Wolverines whenever they are playing, runs, plays tennis, and is an avid pescatarian. She loves her husband, her children, and her cat.

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Amanda Scott, Ph.D.

Amanda Scott Ph.D., Partner

Her Background in Academic Research Dr. Amanda Scott is a social psychologist whose academic training at The Ohio State University focused primarily on stereotyping, group behavior, and legal decision-making. Her dissertation topic was how stereotypes of victims can impact civil decisions in a legal context. She has additional academic training in the areas of attitude measurement, research design, and survey methodology.

Her Background in Applied Research Amanda has over 12 years of professional and consulting experience in applied research, including project management and statistical support to expert witnesses who conduct survey research in the context of class action litigation. She has also served as a Social Science Research Advisor for the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services and interned at ODJFS’ Research and Evaluation department while a student at Ohio Wesleyan University.

Organizational Role Dr. Scott is one of the organization’s principal researchers.

Some Personal Info Amanda is a foster / adoptive parent and serves on the Board for the Greater Common Good, an effort to reduce domestic violence, and Six Strings Concerts. She is a member of the American Association of Public Opinion Research and the American Society of Trial Consultants.

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Our Process

How We Do It

Define. Gather.
Report. Enlighten.

Although each one of our research projects is custom-designed, each market research engagement typically follows what we call our Plan-Do-Tell approach.


Define the critical questions.

We begin by obtaining a clear view of the decisions you need to make and the information that will help you make them. Perhaps the most valuable service we perform for clients is helping them articulate research questions.

Recommend an approach.

When designing a research plan for our clients, we consider the triple constraints of project time, project cost, and project quality. Answers to critical research questions can be identified quickly, at a relatively low cost, or at a high level of quality — but not all three at once. We help our clients identify their priorities. Or, to paraphrase Matthew Crawford, “Accuracy costs. How accurate do you want to spend?”


Gather data expertly.

We first review our clients’ existing data and records (i.e., secondary research). By helping clients analyze information they already have, research questions can sometimes be answered quickly and inexpensively. In collecting original data (i.e., primary research), we apply research methods that make the most sense for that client. We’ll recommend one or more methods, such as ethnographic (observational) research, in-depth interviews, focus group / triad research, and scientific surveying via phone, mail, and Internet.

Analyze comprehensively.

Our academic pedigrees, plus our experience in explaining the data, ensure that our reports are thoughtful and focused. For example, our qualitative reports “translate” research responses into useful data. We provide coding of open-ended responses, interpretation and analysis of focus-group results, and summarized findings from structured personal interviews. We’re also number crunchers, with nearly all our research projects including descriptive statistics and correlation analyses. Here’s where our inner scientists are put to work. We use tools such as Analysis of Variance (ANOVA) and non-parametric methods (such as Chi Square tests) to look for differences between groups. More advanced techniques, including multiple regression, logistic regression, structural equation modeling, factor analysis, and cluster analysis/segmentation, are used to model complex relationships among variables.


Report clearly and concisely.

We produce reports that outline key research findings in a clear, compelling format. Our reports tell a story that’s understandable to everyone in your organization, not just our fellow researchers. We use charts, graphs and tables as appropriate to illustrate data patterns and trends, and our signature “pop-out text boxes” are great showcases for key points. Like our research approach, our reports are customized for each project.

Make strategic recommendations.

Sometimes the research itself makes a compelling read, but our job does not end there. We offer thoughtful advice, too. We know our clients commission research because they want (or need) to make changes. We serve as a business partner, interpreting the data and making shrewd suggestions based on what we’ve learned. We keep in mind budget, timeframe and business goals to ensure our reports offer realistic recommendations you can actually use.