Roberts Research

Full Service Market Research | Telephone | Online | Focus Groups | Intercept


About Surveys

Survey Research

Key Points

Survey Research as Quantitative


  • Collection of quantifiable information.
  • Usually straightforward statistical analyses.
  • Generally uses random sampling.
  • Projectable to a population.

Various Methods of Data Collection


  • Telephone
  • Online
  • Mail
  • Intercept Studies
  • Exit Interviews




Surveys lend themselves to statistical analyses and are affected by certain requirements and constraints—

  • The need for unbiased sampling
  • The need for quotas and/or data weighting to assure a balanced sample relative to the population.
  • Extensive use of Banner Crosstabulations and other analysis tools.














Survey Research Methods

A Quantitative Methodology

We often refer to Survey Research as Quantitative since most of our data is in the form of numerical values—

  • Some values are actual quantities such as Age, Income, Numbers of Children, Numbers of Cars, Percentage of Income Spent  on "X", and the like.
  • Other numbers are codes that are merely nominal while some have a meaningful value, such as 1-5 scales.
  • Quantitative studies are generally used to project findings to a certain population or subset of a population. For this, there are certain assumptions related to random sampling and other statistical requirements.

Telephone Method

Below are some of the key characteristics of Telephone Methodology—

  • Telephone studies can range from small samples and short questionnaires to large samples and fairly lengthy questionnaires.
  • Sample design can be based on a random digit dialing sample, listed sample, or special audience sample (e.g., list of boat owners).
  • Studies can be designed as stand alone, tracking (monthly, yearly), or before/after studies (e.g., for testing ad awareness and effectiveness).
  • Questionnaires are programmed into a Computer Assisted Telephone Interviewing (CATI) program that facilitates sample and quota handling, skip patterns, data validation, and expedited data delivery.
  • Interviewers are highly trained, briefed on the nuances of each study, and are monitored by supervisors to assure consistent administration of the questionnaire.
  • Data are analyzed by Dave Roberts utilizing state-of-the-art statistical analysis procedures with the findings communicated via an extensive graphics-based Executive Summary.
  • The use of open-ended, heavily-probed questioning adds Qualitative dimension to an otherwise Quantitative study.

Online Method

This methodology is especially useful for studies based on known respondents such as customer databases, organizational membership, and purchased target panels. Some of the key features include—

  • E-mailing alerts with direct links to the questionnaire or telephone pre-recruiting.
  • The ability to present respondents with audio and visual stimuli (packaging, demonstrations, commercials, etc.) that would otherwise not be possible in a telephone study.
  • Online Studies allow for skip patterns, radio buttons, check boxes, open ends, rank ordering (with validation), constant-sum (with validation), single and multiple page, and more.
  • Interviewer bias is all but eliminated and respondents can complete the questionnaire at their own pace and at a convenient time.

Mail Studies

Mail surveys are rare due to poor response rates but are useful for known populations who already have an interest in participating (member lists, customer lists, etc.). And while they may seem straightforward, there are many considerations for assuring a viable response rate—

  • Above all, the questionnaire should be short—no more than four pages.
  • All materials—alert postcard, questionnaire, envelope, return envelope—should be professionally printed, no staples, and only postage stamps, not metered mail.
  • Questionnaires are usually discretely coded for follow up with non-responsive respondents.

Other Survey Methods

  • Intercept interviews at events, malls, and other venues where large numbers of people are available.
  • Exit Interviews conducted with respondents who are leaving an activity such as voting, shopping a particular store, sporting events, concerts, and more.