Market Questionnaires

Market Questionnaires

Market Questionnaires

As to the type of questions to be used in questionnaires, these fall, generally, into three categories:

A. Dichotomous Questions

B. Multiple Choice Questions

C. Open-ended Questions.

Questions which can only be answered by the words 'Yes' or 'No' are called dichotomous questions. Where these are used in a questionnaire, it is usual to state the alternatives and add spaces for 'Don't know' and 'No answer'. Researchers like dichotomous questions. They make the work of interviewing much easier and also simplify the counting of results. An example of a dichotomous question is 'Did you go abroad for your holiday last year?'

A multiple choice question is one which admits several alternative answers. When these are used in a survey, the alternative answers are provided and usually the respondent is invited to choose the answer with which he agrees. Again, statistical analysis is simplified. A multiple choice question will ask: 'If you went abroad for your holiday last year did you travel by (1) scheduled airline, (2) charter flight, (3) boat and rail, (4) boat and by car?'

The open-ended questions provide for much greater latitude on the part of the respondent. He is invited to answer the question in his own words and the interviewer enters that answer on the form. An open-ended question will ask: 'Why did you go abroad for your holiday?'

Care must be exercised in the use of words in questionnaires. They should be kept as simple as possible. It must be remembered that, in the majority of surveys, a cross-section of the population will be interviewed and this must, of necessity, include people of the lowest intelligence and education as well as the highest. Every word which is used should have a precise meaning, because if the respondent is in any doubt as to the meaning of the question which is put to him, he is liable to give a genuinely mistaken answer. Unfortunately, many of the words in the English language have more than one meaning or a different meaning in different parts of the country.

That enemy of the researcher, namely bias, can be introduced unwittingly to a survey by the use of ill-advised questions. If you ask a housewife: 'Do you give your children a cooked breakfast every morning?' she may well imagine that to answer in the negative would suggest that she was failing in her duty as a mother. A better approach would be to say: 'Some children like a cooked breakfast; others have no appetite first thing in the morning. Do your children like a cooked breakfast or do they not like a cooked breakfast?'

Once all the questionnaires in the sample have been completed, the researcher is faced with the task of processing the information he has obtained. The first step is to edit the questionnaires. Editors are appointed, whose job it is to check every questionnaire to make sure that correct answers have been given. This is achieved by means of the control questions which have been inserted for this very purpose. Researchers refer to the 'Triangle Clause' which consists of three related questions within a questionnaire each of which approaches the same subject from a slightly different angle. If it is found that one of the answers to these questions contradicts another, it can be assumed that the answer which has been given to the third question decides the issue.

Having ensured that the information which appears in the questionnaire is satisfactory, the editor applies code numbers to each answer. Where dichotomous and multiple choice questions are used throughout a questionnaire, these are usually coded in advance. The open-ended questions are rather more difficult to classify. They are often grouped and tabulated by hand and those answers which do not fall into any convenient group are placed under a miscellaneous heading.

Finally, the coded answers are tabulated, by hand, by means of punched cards or by use of a computer. From the figures thus produced, the market researcher prepares his statistical tables.

In this webpage, we have considered, in some detail, the methods employed by consumer research and, more particularly, the conduct of sample surveys. In the majority of small and medium-sized commercial firms it is unlikely that the ONLINE MARKETING Manager will become directly involved in the details of consumer research. It is specialized work and few companies have their own market research departments. Even where such departments do exist within the business organization, it is normal practice for the conduct of field research to be undertaken by outside agencies. These can be either independent firms or the market research departments of advertising agencies.

Independent organizations differ very considerably, according to their degree of experience and the nature of the work in which they specialize.

Market research departments of advertising agencies usually specialize in advertising research. There has been an increasing tendency, however, for the advertising agency to attempt to provide a complete ONLINE MARKETING service to clients and this has involved them in various branches of consumer research. The general practice is to undertake the organization of a consumer survey, but to sub-contract to outside agencies the work of interviewing, editing and tabulating. The final report on the survey is then presented by the advertising agency's own market research specialists.

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