Glossary

Listed in alphabetical order

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Ad lab
A market research session designed to obtain feedback on advertisements. Typically respondents/participants would be shown a number of different versions of an advert then asked to pick their favourite and to explain why they prefer it.

App diaries
A qualitative research technique in which respondents/participants use a smartphone app to enter their feedback on research topics as they go about their daily lives, for example to provide their views on a product or service while they are using it.

AQR. The Association for Qualitative Research
A trade association that represents and furthers the interests of the qualitative research industry in the UK and beyond.

Computer-assisted personal interviewing (CAPI)
A quantitative research technique in which the respondents/participants are interviewed face-to-face and their responses are entered directly into a computer (usually a tablet). CAPI is more efficient in terms of data entry than traditional pen and paper techniques and ensures that the correct question (based on the respondent’s previous answers) is always presented to the interviewer.

Computer-assisted telephone interviewing (CATI)
A quantitative research technique in which the respondents/participants are interviewed via telephone and their responses are entered directly into a computer for efficient data collection and to ensure that correct questions (based on the respondent’s previous answers) are always asked.

Co-creations
A qualitative research technique in which customers work together (with each other or with representatives of the company conducting the research) to solve a problem, improve a product or service, or develop aspects of a brand.

Dial testing
A market research technique in which respondents/participants give their reaction to a visual or audio stimulus in real time by turning a dial (or moving a slider) to indicate a positive or negative response. Dial testing is widely used to test audience responses to adverts and TV shows.

ESOMAR
(formerly known as The European Society for Opinion and Market Research). A membership organisation representing the interests of the data, research and insights profession at an international level. Joint publisher of the ICC/ESOMAR Code of Marketing and Social Research Practice.

Ethnographies (or ethnographic market research)
A qualitative market research technique in which respondents/participants are observed using products and services in their own environment, e.g. using a kitchen appliance to make a meal in their own home.

Fieldwork
The part of a market research study that involves collecting data from external sources, e.g. through interviews or focus groups. It is useful to think of fieldwork as the middle stage of a market research study, preceded by a stage where the objectives of the market research are defined, and followed by a stage where the findings are analysed.

Focus group
A planned group discussion (typically involving six to eight carefully selected respondents/participants) led by a moderator which aims to find out the respondents’ perceptions and opinions about the topic under discussion, for example, a brand or a new product. In a focus group the respondents can interact with each other as well as the moderator, which may generate more, or different, insights to interviewing them individually.

Gang test (or gang survey)
A market research session in which a large number of respondents/participants take part at the same time. Gang tests often combine quantitative elements (e.g. self-completed questionnaires) and qualitative elements (e.g. moderator-led discussions).

GDPR. General Data Protection Regulation
A regulation in European Union law on data protection and privacy for all individuals within the European Union. All market research organisations operating in Europe are obliged to comply with the GDPR

 

 

ICC. International Chamber of Commerce
Joint publisher of the ICC/ESOMAR Code of Marketing and Social Research Practice.

In-depth interview (IDI)
A one-on-one qualitative research technique where an interviewer conducts individual unstructured or semi-structured interviews with a small number of respondents/participants to find out their perceptions and opinions about the topic under discussion.

Market research online community
A selected group of respondents/participants who participate in qualitative market research over an extended period of time by accessing a private online platform.

MRS. The Market Research Society
A professional body for market research based in London. MRS members must adhere to the MRS Code of Conduct.

Moderator
The person who leads a focus group. The role of the moderator is to create the right environment for the focus group, guide the discussion to ensure that all relevant topics are covered in the right amount of depth, probe the respondents’ initial answers to validate them and obtain deeper insights, and act as a time-keeper.

One-way mirror
See two-way mirror.

Participant
Someone who takes part in market research. Also known as a respondent.

Qualitative research
The use of unstructured techniques such as focus groups and in-depth interviews with individuals to obtain insights into opinions, motivations and behaviours. Qualitative research usually involves a smaller sample of respondents than quantitative research and is often used as a precursor to quantitative research.

Quantitative research
The use of structured techniques, typically involving face-to-face, telephone, or online responses to pre-defined set of questions, to obtain numerical information about the target market. Quantitative research usually involves interviews with a fairly large sample of the target population to ensure that the results are statistically significant.

Recruitment
The process of selecting market research respondents/participants who fit the client’s target profile and validating their suitability and willingness to participate in the study.

Respondent
Someone who takes part in market research. Also known as a participant.

Screener
A short questionnaire designed to find out if potential respondents/participants meet the target profile for the market research and find out if they are able and willing to participate in the study.

Two-way mirror (also called a one-way mirror)
In a viewing facility, a window that separates the client viewing area from the respondents’ area. From the respondents’ side the window looks like a mirror, but from the client side it looks like a piece of tinted glass, allowing the client representatives to see the respondents.

Usability testing
A market research technique in which respondents/participants are asked to perform a task or a series of tasks while being recorded or observed by a researcher with the aim of finding out where they encounter difficulties or experience confusion. Online retailers and service providers frequently conduct usability testing to test how easy their websites are to use.

Viewing facility (or viewing studio)
A venue designed specifically for hosting qualitative market research sessions. It will be equipped with audio and video recording and streaming facilities and usually enables the clients to watch the research taking place from a viewing area which is separated from the respondents’ area by a two-way mirror.