Sampling: The Importance of Good Sample
11 Sep 2019

What is Survey Sample? 

A sample is a subset of a population selected for a research study. A population is the total number of people in a group that researchers are interested in examining. For example, if you want to understand the attitudes of people who invest in the stock market in the United States, it would be too difficult and costly to question every person who trades this asset. As a result, quantitative research only takes a “sample” of the full population. 


The quality of your sample determines the quality of your results. As researchers and brands try to interpret insights, they must never compromise the quality of their methodology. We know that errors can come from poor survey writing. A good researcher also knows that a “bad sample” leads to inaccurate and misleading results.

Sample Size

So, how much sample is needed to project the attitudes of all US investors accurately? The key is to reduce the number of errors when mirroring your ideal population. The more respondents you have taking the survey minimizes the margin of error (confidence interval). However, at a certain point, increasing the number of respondents only reduces the margin of error slightly and means it is not worth adding the additional respondents. 

When there are too few respondents, there is a higher likelihood that outliers will impact the survey result, and your conclusions will be inaccurate. 

What is that magic number of respondents? Every ideal sample size is different because not all populations are the same. The best way to figure out the sample is to calculate the margin error.  Click here to use a margin of error calculator. 


It is also crucial to make sure that your sample is unbiased. Sampling bias occurs when the respondents selected are not representative of the population. The best way to avoid any discrepancies is to choose your sample randomly. 

Bias could also come in the form of a “bad respondent.” Someone might fit the population demographics, but fill out their surveys incorrectly to finish the study as quickly as possible or not be paying attention. As a result, it is pertinent to monitor your sample in the field and carefully review it after finishing the research study. 

Monitoring Sample

For online surveys, there are a couple of ways that you can check the quality of a respondent:

  1. Review individual survey results for patterns like straight lines and diagonal/patterned lines. These patterns indicate inadequate responses. 
  2. Make sure to monitor open-ended questions for gibberish or irrelevant answers. If respondents are not taking the survey seriously, they aren’t accurately portraying the population’s views and thus muddying the results. 
  3. How quickly a respondent finishes, the study is another indicator if the respondent was speeding through and took the survey accurately. 


Given that you may be targeting a specific audience, screeners are necessary to determine that the appropriate people are coming into your survey. If you want your results to reflect the views of the population you are seeking, it is essential to impose restrictions on who is taking the questionnaire. For example, you need to make sure a study among stock traders does not include those who do not invest. Add questions to your survey that confirm that the consumer trades stocks.

If your audience is supposed to reflect a specific population in regards to certain criteria (e.g., gender, age, etc.), it is critical to monitor these attributes. A great way to control this is by implementing quotas. Putting these criteria questions in the screener will allow you to quickly determine if you need more sample for a quota or screen out full quotas.

Want to learn more about Market Research? Here are some blog posts to check out!

  1. Blockchain & the Market Research Industry
  2. I’m Just Not That Into You: Exclusivity or Bad Marketing?
  3. Is Your Research Stuck in the 1980s? Update Your Brand Tracker!
  4. Market Research Doesn’t Need to Be Boring – Improve Data Visualization

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Blockchain & the Market Research Industry
04 Sep 2019

Industries Evolving with Technology

You might be thinking ‘What does Blockchain have to do with the Market Research industry?’ Well, the Market Research industry is maturing. It has evolved exponentially since its inception. While it is excellent news for the industry, it means that the companies involved need to keep up. As mentioned in a recent blog, marketing and advertising are advancing too. Now, companies can target their audiences down to their age, marital status, and geo-location all through social media. This means companies want to narrow down the criteria for the respondents from whom they want to gather insights. 

As these industries mature, so do consumers. Reaching the correct audience is becoming harder and harder as they are inundated with more and more content. Also, getting the right consumers to complete a research study is like trying to find a needle in a haystack. Consumers are more sophisticated and do not trust brands or research companies as quickly as they once did. 

Trust in the Market Research Industry

Apparently, the general population trusts the market research industry more than social media companies and the government. But confidence is still low in the space! And the increase of notable cyber attacks (such as Facebook/Cambridge Analytica) in recent years has caused the general public to become more concerned than ever about their privacy. This heightened awareness means that transparency is crucial. While it has always been important, market research companies need to be upfront about how they use and store respondent information, and when they will delete it. To keep trust, it is paramount that research companies limit the amount of Personally Identifiable Information (PII) they request. 

Is Blockchain the Answer To The Market Research Industry’s Questions?

There has been much buzz about Blockchain in every industry, but it turns out that it may be able to help solve the growing pains that the Market Research industry is experiencing. What is Blockchain? It is a system that maintains a record or transaction across several computers that link in a peer-to-peer network. This could mean that data would be safer, and market research companies could stop asking the same questions over and over again.

Could a Blockchain solution improve trust among research participants? This new technology could increase confidence among respondents by encrypting their information and allowing market research companies to get to the point instead of repeatedly asking the same PII of respondents. 

For Blockchain to succeed in the Market Research industry, there are a few factors that we need to account for:

  1. Communication: There needs to be clear communication among industry professionals and research participants. For Blockchain to improve standards in Market Research, all companies will need to agree, and it will have to become the industry norm. 
  2. Education: Market Research professionals, as well as research participants, will need to understand the advantages and disadvantages of the technology entirely. 
  3. Transparency: This goes without saying, without openness, research respondents will not adopt the technology. 

The introduction of Blockchain could improve participation rates in research studies – people will trust the companies conducting the research more, and they will not be bored by filling out the same information time and time again. 

Ironically, for this technology to take the research industry by storm, more research is needed. It is crucial that for Blockchain to succeed, it needs to be commercially viable. 

Check out our other blogs!

Have a look at the way other technologies are affecting the market research industry: Virtual Reality and Qualitative Research: Fad or Here to Stay?

Read about market research for tech companies themselves: Tech Companies: Have You Thought About Your Marketing Strategy?


I’m Just Not That Into You: Exclusivity or Bad Marketing?
28 Aug 2019

Traditional Product Adoption vs. Targeting the Masses

Apple, Google, and many large tech brands have decided that the traditional product adoption curve is outdated and that the best bet is to target straight to the masses. Further, these large brands have the money to market to the general population. In addition, advertising to the masses allows them to beat the competitors in the adoption of their product. However, should your brand stick with exclusivity or target the general population?

In some cases this mass adoption works, such as in the case of Apple’s iPhone. However, in other scenarios, it becomes an epic fail, such as Google Glass. Above all, the product fell short due to the lack of clarity on why the product existed. Moreover, the general population did not need any of the functions that the glasses provided. However, warehouse workers and surgeons found the technology behind Google Glass beneficial to their jobs. For instance, warehouse workers could easily see and access information about a package by merely looking at a container with the glasses on. Similarly, doctors, when operating, can be better informed by wearing the glasses. This product is now marketed to niche audiences and it has a better chance of survival. 

Niche Targeting

Several brands target a niche audience. For example, a backpack company may target hiker enthusiasts or an expensive shoe brand will communicate to women who live in an area with an average household income of $200K+. Many of these brands fear that broadening their target audience will isolate their core audience and ultimately, hurt brand equity. The exclusive feeling that the brand portrays may dwindle if promoted to everyone. 

How to Expand Targeting

For example, brands such as Ralph Lauren, BMW, and W Hotels have sub-brands or different models with lower price points to generate additional sales. However, does this methodology hurt the parent brand? If a brand wants to abandon exclusivity and expand its target audience and start targeting the general population, here are the key questions to ask:

  • Who is your current audience?  
  • How does this audience differ from the new target in regards to demographics, psychographics, and media habits?
  • Where is it acceptable for your brand to be distributed?  
  • Are there new retailers in which you are looking to sell? How does this differ from your current distribution method? Is this retailer acceptable to your core target? 
  • What price is seen as too inexpensive that the product’s core audience will begin to question the quality? What pricing is acceptable for a broader audience to pay?
  • Will you sell a different product line to this new market?

Market research such as surveys, focus groups, and secondary research are essential to help find the answers to these crucial questions. So, the risk is too high not to research before making such a critical business decision. Maybe it’s time to consider exclusivity or targeting the general population. 

Check out some of our most recent posts from our strategy and advertising research blog here:

  1. Blockchain & the Markest Research Industry
  2. Is Your Research Stuck in the 1980s: Update Your Brand Tracker!
  3. Market Research Doesn’t Need to Be Boring: Improve Data Visualization
  4. Tips For Building Brand Strategy for a Successful Brand
  5. What’s the Difference Between Quantitative and Qualitative?

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Check out our most recent features in the news media:

September 11th, 2019: 40% of U.S. Millennials prefer crypto investments in the event of a recession: eToro Survey

July 31st, 2019: Jewelry Is About to Get its Own ‘Got Milk’ Ads

July 1st, 2019: 22 Top Advertising Research Companies 2019

Keep on the lookout for more blog posts from us!

Provoke Insights is a full-service market research firm. We help build and grow brands using multiple market research methodologies including qualitative, quantitative, and secondary research. We hope to work with you in the future.

Is Your Research Stuck in the 1980s? Update Your Brand Tracker!
21 Aug 2019

It is time to update your brand tracker. In 1988, my TV only had seven channels. There was no social media, internet, or email. Cable and satellite TV was a luxury that most people did not have. As a result, a commercial could dominate the airwaves and print ad would take over the major magazines and newspapers. In the 1980s, it was easier to be seen and heard. 

The following thirty years brought a shift in the way people consume media. As internet providers such as AOL became more popular in the 1990s, consumers began surfing the web and sending emails. By the 2000s, traditional media outlets such as magazines, newspapers, direct mail, and radio have all suffered a hit from the digital revolution.  

In 2007, Steve Jobs introduced the iPhone and media was truly accessible anywhere and anytime. Today, waking up in the morning, the first thing many people do is grab their iPhone to check the weather, news, social media, text, or email. 

Changing With the Times – Brand Tracker Makeover

Given the change in the way that consumers absorb media, awareness of brands is no longer driven simply by a TV commercial or a print ad. The consumer journey has become fragmented. The traditional shopping behavior is transformed into a labyrinth of multi-channel interactions that influence the customer decision process. 

There are more media channels and content than ever before. Also, consumers are now viewing media from multiple devices simultaneously. The amount of time spent online has quadrupled between 2007 and 2016, with total internet usage coming close to the amount of time spent watching TV (IPA Media in Focus, 2018).

However, long-term sales and brand equity are still crucial regardless of the media mix, and it is important to track this data needs. Current brand tracking surveys often miss the boat when it comes to understanding the new consumer journey. 

While building a brand that consumers love still needs to include measuring a brand’s fame, emotional association, and what drive sales. Brand building in the digital age also includes tracking how prospects, current users of a brand, and the competition utilize media channels (e.g., search, YouTube, banner ads, TV commercials). It is critical to see how this multi-channel behavior of buying a product or service impacts brand relevance, experience, and if visitors want to return to these sites. 

Successful Brand Tracking Yields Actionable Results

Advertisement placement, messaging, and brand promise analyzed by how consumers are shopping will yield more actionable results than a standard brand tracker. It also allows a company to measure the impact of a brand and its competitors during the purchasing decision.

Brand tracking surveys need to break down the decision journey. Identify critical points of influence regardless of if it is online or offline. Content is widespread in ways that nobody in the 1980’s and before could foresee. Who knew that there would be computers, phones, and tablets in every home in the country? Your brand tracker needs to account for all technology use to help you determine where to place your products effectively and efficiently.

Most importantly given that the consumer journey is constantly shifting a brand tracker needs to be flexible. While tracking and measuring key data points are critical, adding or subtracting questions should not be seen as a negative. You can update your brand tracker without the world ending but if you want to stay in the 80’s – feel free!

Check out our other blogs on tracking:

The Benefits & Boundaries of Ad Tracking Surveys

The Importance of Ad Tracking

Check out some of our other recent blog posts:

I’m Just Not That Into You: Exclusivity or Bad Marketing?

Blockchain & the Market Research Industry

Market Research Doesn’t Need to Be Boring: Improve Data Visualization

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Market Research Doesn’t Need to Be Boring – Improve Data Visualization
08 Aug 2019

Market research reports can many times become overwhelming with endless charts, tables, and lists of quotes. However, telling the story is as important as the data that is gathered. Exceptional visualizations of survey data help show the data in a digestible manner as well as convey a better picture of findings. 

Visualizing data and synthesizing information is a difficult task. To quote statistician Edward Tufte, “To envision information–and what bright and splendid visions can result–is to work at the intersection of image, word, number, art. The instruments are those of writing and typography, of managing large data sets and statistical analysis, of line and layout and color.” Data visualization lies somewhere between math and art. Here are four things to keep in mind when visualizing your open ends and survey data.

1. Visualize Comparisons

Show comparisons, contrasts, differences.  

Useful visualizations show differences between items. Include significant differences between groups on bar graphs to emphasize where contrast lies in the data. Above all, the point of visualizing data is to learn through comparisons. Therefore, an effective visualization reveals a found difference within a dataset.


Show multivariate data; graphs, word clouds, location, and more.

Visualizing as much data in as many different ways is key to making the most out of your surveys. Surveys include a few types of data. There are simple bar graphs to visualize multiple choice answers, but there are more creative ways that might bring out something new in the data. Think about showing data based on location on a map (i.e., What state are you from?). If there are ways to create networks connecting answers, a network graph could be informative. 

For open-ended responses, word clouds to display the most common words and topics that appeared. There are simple word clouds which present the most frequent words in a text set. Then there are more involved methods like topic modeling and sentiment analysis. In short, you should consider both when displaying open-ended responses.

3. Documentation in Market research

Thoroughly describe the evidence. Provide a full title, indicate the authors and sponsors, document the data sources, show complete measurement scales, point out relevant issues.

It’s most important to describe your data. By giving titles, pairing your graphics with question data, and even explaining the results of your visualizations, you are presenting your information correctly and giving your viewers as much information as possible.

4. Quality Above All when working on visualization

Analytical presentations ultimately stand or fall on the quality, relevance, and integrity of the content.

Most important is the integrity of the data. Today, it’s important to show data that is correct, cleaned, and accurately described. A misleading visualization is a lousy visualization. As a result, everything else is out the window if the content is inaccurate and of poor quality.

It’s important to be vigilant yet creative in your data visualizations. It is essential to keep these four methods in mind when visualizing your survey responses. In other words, don’t let shoddy visualization methods affect your interpretation of the survey’s results.

Most importantly, the goal of every survey is to collect useful information that is both accurate and easy to analyze. Make sure you are correctly and creatively visualizing that information.

Want to learn more about Market Research? Here are some blog posts to check out!

  1. What’s the Difference Between Quantitative vs. Qualitative?
  2. Virtual Reality & Qualitative Research: Fad or Here to Stay?
  3. 6 Things to Watch Out for When Writing a Survey
  4. Marketing Strategies for Generation Alpha: the Newest Generation

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Keep on the lookout for more blog posts from us!

Tips for Building Brand Strategy for a Successful Brand
01 May 2019

Why do you need a strategy for your brand? A brand strategy is a long-term plan for your product, service, or company that will help reinforce your positioning in the market and ensuring a successful brand.

Brand strategies are essential to help build awareness, generate consideration, and ultimately create loyalty. Successful brand strategy can ensure consistent engagement. If you are a brand that wants to leave a lasting impact, you should ensure a brand strategy includes the following:

1) Knowing your Audience

Most brands have a specific target audience who they are pursuing. It is essential to know who your ideal prospect is vs. who your current customer is.  As a result, it is vital to understand demographics, attitudes, beliefs, and media habits about this audience. Market research can assist brands in helping to understand which potential customer would be the most profitable. Also, research will allow help you better understand your target (what it is like to walk in their shoes).

2) Uniqueness

Brand identity is critical in establishing a successful brand. Brands must have a unique selling point which differs them from the competition. Consumers have a large pool to choose from; therefore, products need to stand out and uniquely appeal to consumers. This unique selling point can be a functional or emotional difference. Often is the market is extremely saturated; it is essential to create a brand that emotionally connects to prospects and your customers.

3) Brand loyalty

Consumers tend to become loyal to brands which ensure a consistent market. Whether it is product quality or service, brands must establish a relationship with their consumer to promote revisits/repurchases. Brands must provide position association to keep consumers coming back for more. Plus, it is seven times more cost effective to retain a customer than find new ones.

4) Stay ahead of the competition

Being innovative is the key to success. It is a must to think outside the box and be different if brands want to stay relevant in the ever-changing market. To stay ahead of the game, it is pertinent for a brand to analyze changes in the market and come up with new differentiating ideas which will stimulate sales. Research can help you find new trends in the market and determine the white space in the market.

5) Consistency

An important trait of a successful brand. Regularity generates brand recognition. When a brand has consistent marketing, it will eliminate any confusion for consumers, the brand’s message will be conveyed very clearly.

Whether understanding your audience, establishing brand uniqueness, building loyalty, staying ahead of the competition or remaining consistent, market research will provide you with in-depth insights into all of these five brand qualities.

Consumers will decide if the brand survives. Therefore, brands must invest in what their consumers want. The most successful brands today, such as Apple, JetBlue, and Starbucks give consumers what they want and have a clear focus on executing seamless marketing strategies.

Want to Learn More About Market Research? Here are some blog posts to check out!

  1. Four Ways to Better understand Your Consumer
  2. Five Tips for Getting Your Brand’s Social Media Right
  3. Understand What Your Consumer Really Wants 

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Keep on the lookout for more blog posts from us!

Whether understanding your audience, establishing brand uniqueness, building loyalty, staying ahead of the competition or remaining consistent, market research will provide you with in-depth insights into all of these five brand qualities.

Consumers will decide if the brand survives. Therefore, brands must invest in what their consumers want. The most successful brands today, such as Apple, JetBlue, and Starbucks give consumers what they want and have a clear focus on executing seamless marketing strategies.

What’s the Difference Between Quantitative vs. Qualitative
02 Apr 2019

Before discussing the distinctions between qualitative and quantitative research, it is important to go back to basics. There are two types of research categories: primary and secondary research. The way to know the difference is simple – primary research is “not already out here”. While, you guessed it; secondary analysis is data that is “already out there”. There are thousands of examples of secondary research, it comes in the form of articles and databases such as Bloomberg, Lexisnexis, and Hoovers.

Learn Why Market Research is a Must for Businesses.

Both quantitative and qualitative research are types of primary research. So, what is the difference between quantitative and qualitative?

Qualitative Research

Qualitative, also called exploratory research, is directional in nature. Typically, this type of research assesses a small number of people. This kind of analysis includes mostly open-ended questions or observational research. Examples of qualitative research include:

Focus Groups

Focus groups are typically groups of 6-8 participants. An expert moderator facilitates each group. To have the most useful session possible, the moderator follows a guide that includes several open-ended questions.

Focus groups take place in facilities equipped for this type of research. The facility includes a table for participants and the moderator to gather around. The moderator usually sits at the head of the table. There is also a one-way mirror where the client and market research company sit and view the session.

The groups are recorded and transcribed. From them, the moderator along with the research team develop a concise report that includes key findings and quotes to back up conclusions.   

Conducting this research online is a way to reduce the cost and length of the qualitative research project. However, facial expressions or the tone of people’s voices is no longer possible to analyze when conducting the group’s virtually.

Ethnographic Research

Ethnographic Research is observational research where you view the subject in their environment. An example could be a butter company looking at how adults cook with the product at home. A study on how parents shops for children’s clothes at a retailer is another example.  Virtual reality is a new trend occurring in ethnographic research. By building virtual stores and in-home scenarios, it lessens the need to conduct this research in the space.

One-on-One In-depth Interview

Another exploratory research option can include individual interview sessions. This qualitative method can happen in person, via phone or even online. Often this option is beneficial when interviewing professionals such as doctors or discussing sensitive topics.

Quantitative Research

Quantitative research, also called descriptive statistics, surveys a statistically representative portion of a population. For the results to be as accurate as possible, this method surveys a large number of respondents. The goal is to reduce the margin of error in your sample to be more confident in your results.

Unlike qualitative research, quantitative research uses close-ended questioning in order to garner numerical responses.

Developing a questionnaire is often tricky as survey writing is an art form. Errors in survey writing can often lead to inaccurate conclusions. Read 4 Watch Outs When Conducting a Survey to learn more about questionnaire writing.

Once the questionnaire is developed, respondents are invited to take the survey. When fielding is complete, the data is analyzed,this can also include advanced analytics techniques. The results are often shown in a deck that provides key findings, recommendations, and detailed findings with graphs and charts.

Today, quantitative research is most frequently conducted online, but phone and in-person are other methods used. For example, in many third world countries, the internet is sparse and therefore in-person interviews may be a more reliable source. See Conducting Research in a Third World Country.  

Many kinds of initiatives such as ad tracking, naming research, and segmentation research use quantitative research.



Marketing Strategies for Generation Alpha: the Newest Generation
19 Mar 2019

Who are post-Millennials?
Generation Alpha represents those who are born after 2010. This generation is quickly growing as 2.5 million Generation Alphas are born around the world each day. [1] Alphas are growing up exposed to multiple digital platforms in a technology-driven environment.

Major brands are recognizing that Generation Alpha is essential to target. Brands are increasingly acknowledging their awareness of Generation Alpha. For example, Google shared its opinion of Generation Alpha, saying “If generation Alpha possesses similar behaviors, attitudes, and beliefs to that of their parents, then to win with a certain segment of millennial consumers (millennial parents), we must target generation Alpha”. [2]

Teenagers and children today are growing up in a very different environment for previous generations. Not surprisingly, Generation Alpha is set to be the most tech-savvy generation we have ever seen. Firstly, they will be the first generation to be immersed in technology for their entire lives. Secondly, today’s methods of teaching are highly influenced by technology. As a result, this generation of education has become very digitally focused. With the introduction of so many technologies since the early 2000s, it has become hard for parents to ignore the trend. As a result, parents have integrated technology into their children’s lives from a young age.

What are the effects of technology?

The introduction of smartphones for younger Millennials and Generation Alpha can be seen as an advantage for parents. Ninety percent of these parents say they gave their child a smartphone in order to get in contact with them easily. The cell phone helps with security, as well as coordinate the children’s activities.  With the advantage of connection comes the disadvantage of distraction. Seventy-two percent of parents admit that they are concerned about the distraction a smartphone can cause. Sixty- eight percent of parents are concerned by the lack of control they have when it comes to technology and their children. [3]  As more children have smartphones at a young age, cyberbullying has also become an ever-growing issue.

How will Gen Alpha impact advertising and marketing strategy?

Until Generation Alpha is old enough to have spending power, it is important to analyze the effect they are having on their parents spending. Eighty-one percent of Millennial parents say that the habits of their Alpha children influenced their latest purchase. [4] Marketers should focus on ensuring that their strategies are flexible now while keeping a close eye on Gen Alpha and how they will influence advertising and marketing in the future. It is key that marketers start researching possible communication strategies to grab the attention of Alpha’s now so that they are prepared for the future. Even many of today’s two years how to navigate a smartphone device.

New products are already emerging for Generation Alpha. Children are being entertained by smartphones, tablets, and smart home devices. It is not unusual for children to want to have “conversations” with artificial intelligence-driven technology such as Siri or Alexa. Children have always had “imaginary friends”, therefore, it is not too far-fetched to believe children will become “friends” with A.I. [5]
Technology being a part of this generation’s life from birth poses both an opportunity and a challenge for marketers and advertisers. Generation Alpha will be an easy target for advertisers and marketers, as they will be reached effortlessly through technology. However, it is predicted that Alphas will seek an even more seamless experience than Millennials have been seeking when it comes to advertising and marketing. It is important to keep it simple yet effective while targeting this generation to encourage consumer loyalty. It is predicted that businesses and brands will come up with radically new ways of communicating and interacting when trying to influence and capture the attention of Alphas.

Want to Learn More About Market Research? Here are some blog posts to check out!

  1. 6 Things to Watch Out for when Writing a Market Research Survey 
  2. Marketing in the Summer
  3. Why We Love Advertising Research 

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[1]Here’s who comes after Generation Z — and they’ll be the most transformative age group ever. Business Insider. December 2015.

[2]“The Complete Guide to Generation Alpha, The Children Of Millennials,” Forbes. December 2016.

[3]“Mobile Kids: The Parent, The Child, and The Smartphone,” Nielsen. February 2017.

[4]“Forget Millennials, Gen Alpha is here (Mostly),” Digiday. October 2018.

[5]“How Will Widespread A.I. Affect Generation Alpha?,” November 2017. Datafloq.


6 Things to Watch Out for When Writing A Survey
26 Feb 2019

Writing a survey can be tricky. The way in which you phrase a survey question can influence your data. If you write the questionnaire wrong, your data will end up being skewed. A poorly phrased question or too can turn into a real problem for your results. In order to avoid biasing your research, watch out for the following common missteps:

1. Be clear.

It is very important that a survey is written in a clear and concise manner. Uncomplicated language should be used in a survey to avoid confusing respondents. Avoid technical terms and jargon, instead, make questions as easily understood as possible. It is important to provide adequate definitions and examples where needed throughout your survey.

2. Keep the survey accurate.

A common pitfall on in survey writing can be as simple as asking a question about the respondent’s age. If asking respondents their age and categorizing it, make sure you correctly group the ages. For example, 25-30 and 30-35, this will confuse respondents who are 30 years old as they will not know which group to select and it will also hinder analysis.

3. Ensure your questions are not leading.

Leading questions may influence responses by containing wording that may have an effect on respondents. These questions can work their way into your survey without you realizing as they are hard to catch. For example, asking “how expensive is this product?” will immediately lead the respondent to believe that the product is costly. The survey should aim to be unbiased and ask, “what is the price of the product?”.

4. Avoid loaded questions.

A loaded question in survey writing can force a respondent to answer a question without it reflecting their option or situation. For example, instead of asking “do you enjoy watching sports?”, yes or no. Ask “do you watch sports?” and then ask those who do watch sports, “what is your favorite sport to watch?”. The respondent might have never watched sports before and therefore not know the answer to the previous question. Asking the question in this way will provide much more accurate, detailed data which will be easier to analyze.

5. Refrain from incorporating double-barreled questions.

It is impossible to collect precise data from a double-barreled question. An example of a double-barreled question is asking if a concept is interesting and effective. This does not give respondents the option to give an answer to both questions. They may find the concept interesting but not effective but have no way of responding with the correct information.

6. Do not ask questions in absolute terms.

Absolute questions are questions that force a respondent to give an absolute answer. These questions are not flexible. Respondents cannot provide useful information if they answer an absolute. An example of an absolute question would be “Do you play sports? yes or no. With this question, someone who plays sports twice a year has to answer yes along with the people who play sports everyday. In order to get a more detailed answer and provide clearer data for the researcher, ask the respondent how many times a week/month they play sports.  

Although these errors seem obvious, it is very common for them to appear in surveys. It is essential to keep these six common missteps in mind when writing your survey.

The main goal of every survey is to collect useful information that is both accurate and easy to analyze, however, if one of these mistakes makes its way into your survey it could bias or damage your data and make it impossible to interpret. It’s vital to your results to follow these rules. Just a little question bias could ruin the survey responses and turn your results into a nightmare. Don’t let it happen by following these easy steps.

Want to Learn More About Market Research? Here are some blog posts to check out!

  1. What Questions Should You Ask a Market Research Company
  2.  Types Of Market Research Every Advertiser Should Know
  3. What is Advertising Research?
  4. Why Primary Research is Necessary When Launching a Brand

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Virtual Reality & Qualitative Research: Fad or Here to Stay? 
18 Feb 2019

Written by: Pallavi Kalla 

Virtual Reality (VR) in the past was something of a whimsical idea, only thought to exist in Sci-Fi movies. However, today, virtual reality has started to become more accessible in the real world. Companies are implementing virtual reality in new creative ways, now more than ever.

Merrell, an outdoor footwear & apparel company, came up with a creative approach to implement virtual reality. The brand held a VR exhibition, in which they had people wear Oculus Rift headsets and walk along what Merrell called their Merrell Trailscape. People were put in a VR landscape of mountains and boulders, simulating a rigorous hiking experience with crumbling ledges and rickety wooden bridges, to help promote the company’s shoes. This experiment was Merrell’s first time using “walking around” virtual reality, which proved to be very intriguing for their audience.[1]

Other innovative methods that brands have employed the use of virtual reality: Six Flags debuted its first VR rollercoaster, in which riders wear Samsung Gear VR headsets on virtual fighter jets, offering consumers a unique experience.[2]

Marketing teams are not only utilizing virtual reality, but researchers have also found the technology as a new tool for qualitative research. Though focus groups are beneficial, we are just collecting information as the participants are sitting in the facility room. This is where VR comes into play, virtual reality can be used to understand the way customers behave when surrounded by the stimulus rather than just talking about it. The new technology allows participants it interact and respond to stimuli in a whole new light

Ethnographic research is another way that virtual reality has impacted market research. Ethnographic research is often costly, timely, and can feel intrusive to participants – as groups are typically conducted at a participant’s home or when they are shopping at a store. VR eliminates these barriers having the people interact in a virtual home or buy through a virtual store with a VR headset, and this way researchers can be capturing the person’s experience and insights in real time. Virtual reality will help researchers understand the consumer journey better without actually having the shopper gong to the physical store.

Though virtual reality is still in the early stages, it looks like it is here to stay. Regarded as a useful market research device, with its endless new imaginative concept’s companies can create. VR has not only advanced and upped the way companies promote products but has helped market researchers in progressive and forward thinking when conducting qualitative research.

[1]“Merrell Thrills and Frightens People with a Crazy Oculus Rift Mountainside Hike,” Adweek. February 2015.

[2]“20 Innovative Ways Companies Are Using Virtual Reality,” October 2016.