Quantitative Research and Surveys

Quantitative Research and Surveys


When people speak of marketing research, they are usually referring to quantitative research. Quantitative research involves a survey of a selected sample of a specific group using mail, telephone or in-person interviews.

Data is collected by means of a carefully constructed questionnaire that is pre-tested before the actual survey. Completed questions are edited, and verbatim responses to open-ended questions are coded using pre-developed categories. The data from the questionnaires is entered into a computer for tabulation of results. Final computer outputs, or "tables," are then ready for analysis. It is important for both research buyers and users to understand the strengths and weaknesses of each of the various research approaches so they can select the technique that best meets their needs at a cost within their budgets.

Mail Surveys

Mail Surveys were extremely popular during the 1950s and 60s when the costs of telephone interviewing were prohibitively high. Mail surveys are still widely used today, although the advent of the WATS telephone service has made telephone surveys much more cost competitive. The major strength of mail surveys is still their relatively low price. For the price of postage, materials and printing, a small business can conduct a very cost-effective research study. In addition, since the respondent actually receives materials from the researcher, illustrative or test documents can be included in the mail-out.

The major drawback to mail surveys is their very low rate of return, or response rate. Even with incentives such as money and second mailings, most end up with only about a 5 to 15 percent response rate. This means you do not know the opinions of 85 to 95 percent of the people you wish to study. In addition, those individuals who do not respond to a mail survey are often different from those who do. For example, older retirees are more likely to have the time and inclining to fill out and return a question while single people between the ages of 25 and 35 are much less likely to do so.

Different research techniques such as incentives and telephone reminders can boost the response rate to as much as 50 percent, but all these methods add to the price of the study, thereby defeating the purpose of selecting this technique in the first place.

In-Person Interviews

Many of us are familiar with in-person interviews. Every ten years, the US Census Department knocks on doors to conduct in-person interviews and find out how the population has changed. In-person, or personal interviews, involve a face-to-face meeting between an interviewer and a respondent. Using a prepared questionnaire, the interviewer requests the respondent a series of questions and carefully records the answers. These interviews take place either at the respondent's home or place of business or at a well-traveled location, such as a shopping mall.

Unlike mail surveys, personal interviews usually result in a very high completion rate. Response rates as high as 95 percent are not unheard of. In addition, in-person interviews allow the respondent to physically come in contact with proposed products, services or advertising under the guidance of the interviewer. This one-on-one interaction is why in-person interviews are often used in researching advertising copy or packaging designs.

The biggest problem with in-person interviews, however, is their extremely high price. Since an interviewer is required to either visit the correspondents at their homes or businesses or track them down in shopping malls, a great deal of interviewing time is required. Even at low hourly rates for interviewers, an in-person interview currently costs at least $ 100. Considering that most surveys use a sample size of at least 100 people, this approach can get very expensive.

Telephone Surveys

Computers have been introduced into the telephone interviewing process. Interviewers now sit in front of a computer screen and read from a pre-programmed questionnaire that appears in front of them. Respondents' replies are recorded directly into the computer system using a keyboard, which saves time in data entry and coding. Results are immediately available at any point during the survey. These "Computer Assisted Telephone Interviewing," or CATI, systems are becoming widely used by research companies and allow for faster, cheaper and more reliable interviewing.

While telephone surveys are much less expensive than in person interviews, they are usually slightly higher in price than a straight mail survey. Response rates with telephone surveys are much better than mail, typically 50 percent and higher, which makes them the ideal choice for most research applications.

Everyone persuades for a living. There's no way around it. Whether you're a sales professional, an entrepreneur, or even a stay at home parent, if you are unable to convince others to your way of thinking, you will be constantly left behind. Donald Trump said it best, "Study the art of persuasion. Practice it. Develop an understanding of its value value across all aspects of life."


Persuasion is the missing puzzle piece that will crack the code to dramatically increase your income, improve your relationships, and help you get what you want, when you want, and win friends for life. Ask yourself how much money and income you have lost because of your inability to persuade and influence. Think about it. Sure you've seen some success, but think of the times you could not get it done. Has there ever been a time when you did not get your point across? Were you unable to convince someone to do something? Have you reached your full potential? Are you able to motivate yourself and others to achieve more and achieve their goals? What about your relationships? Imagine being able to overcome objections before they happen, know what your prospect is thinking and feeling, feel more confident in your ability to persuade. Professional success, personal happiness, leadership potential, and income depend on the ability to persuade, influence, and motivate others.


Source by Kurt Mortensen

Comments are closed.