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Agrimarketing : May 2009
61 Data Gathering:32 Feature Story 5/13/09 12:38 PM Page 61 FOCUS ON:MARKET RESEARCH DATACOLLECTION M by Jack Semler, President, Readex Research arket researchers have at their disposalmany different methodologies for conducting survey research. Matching the bestmethod for any particular survey requires an examination of overall objectives aswell as integration of other factors into the decision scheme. If you are going to conduct a survey, themore popular types ofmethods to consider fall into fourcategories: in-person, online, telephone, andmail. own panels or fromentities that have ties to a specificmarket andmaintain files of email addresses. Ideally, online surveyswould be nomore than 10 to 15minutes in length. Also available using online tech- niques are recent entries called bulletin boards and forums. Thesemethods aremore like focus groups to the extent that they usually rely upon recruited (invited) participants and engage participants in conversation on focused topics. Software providers 1 star = poor; 2 stars = fair; 3 stars = good; 4 stars = very good. In-person surveys typically take the formof focus groups and intercepts. Focus groups are usually conducted by a professionalmoderatorwho employs a special facility for conducting the group. Focus groups are ideal methods for exploring ideas and concepts, providing outcomes thatmay lead to other research down the road. Intercepts are typically deployed in mall settings, although itmay not be surprising to see one being done at a trade showor airport. Intercept research is ideal for short opinion surveys, although interceptsmay be used as a screener, ultimately aimed at invitingwilling participants to a more lengthy survey process at a special facility. Online research, to nobody’s surprise, is very popular because of the speedwithwhich surveys can be conducted, combinedwithwhat can be amodest financial investment. Samples can be purchased fromsample providerswhomaintain their for thesemethods also have tools that can be used to display visuals or videos, extending the usefulness of suchmethods into areas as concept testing or product development. Of course, the legacymethods are still quite popular including phone andmail. Phone surveys can be relatively quick in terms of turnaround time. In general, phone surveys should be well focused and as short as possible. They are very appropriate for circumstances inwhich open-ended issues need to be explored and follow-up probing is needed. Mail surveys are still inwidespread use, especially in business-to-business and professionalmarkets.An advantage to themail surveywould be the ability to conductmore lengthy surveys and the ability to explore sensitive issues.Atrade off, however, is that fieldwork is typically longer. AM
May 2009 Supplement