What does it all mean?


If you’re new to market research, it can all seem like a bit of a minefield.
Help is at hand. We have a no nonsense guide explaining key terms and links to examples too.


Attitudinal questions
Attitudinal questions are typically asked as rating scales, to measure brands, products, social attitudes or lifestyles. (e.g. brand attitudes such as modern, innovative, effective, value for money).

Name commonly used to refer to an item, description or brand value in questions. E.g. brand attributes in a matrix question.

Advertising awareness
When evaluating advertising campaigns it is common to measure awareness of a brand or a specific advertising campaign. E.g. which brand of smartphones have you seen advertised recently.

Attribute association
See brand attribute.


Baby Boomers
Refers to an age group of people born between 1946 and 1964 (e.g. aged between 54-72 years of age)

Behavioural questions
Behavioural questions ask about what people do. They are based on fact and are usually easy to answer. It is often a good idea to place easier behavioural questions towards the beginning of a questionnaire.

Brand awareness
Spontaneous brand awareness ask for respondents recall of brands without being prompted. It is sometimes called top of mind awareness. It can be asked over several questions (e.g. which brand come to mind? Which other brands do you know. Prompted awareness offers a list of brands (e.g. Which of these brands do you know?)

Balanced scales
Any scale which has an even balance of negative and positive attitudes. E.g. very good, good, average, poor, very poor.

Brand attribute
A typical approach to measure how a brand is perceived is to show a matrix question with a loist of attributes. The respondent is asked to indicate how much they agree with the brand attribute.


Closed questions
Elicit a response to close down answers, such as “yes” and “no”.

Constant Sum Scale
A question type which requires the respondent to allocate a fixed number of points between a given number of attributes. E.g. there could be five attributes and 100 points to allocate. Surveygoo shows the respondent how many points they have so they can easily reallocate points to the given total.

Customer satisfaction research
Surveys designed to measure customers perceptions of services or products.

Conjoint Questions
Another type of survey question designed to explore user/market preferences for individual product or service attributes that can then be used to construct attractive product “packages”


Data Visualisation
The generic name given to the practice of turning survey data into visual stories using charts, infographics and dashboards

Dichotomous questions
These are questions which only have two answers. E.g. Have you been to the cinema in the last month? Yes / No.

Don’t Know questions
People are sometimes unsure as to whether they include a don’t know response. The simple answer is that if don’t know is a valid response, it should be included.

Drag and drop
Refers to question types which allow the respondent to answer the question by dragging the mouse on a grid to register their response. Are used to help improve respondent interest in the survey to vary questionnaires.


Exclusion questions
Sometimes organisations exclude people who work in marketing, research, advertising, etc, in case these respondents bias the results. It is no longer universal practice and not necessarily a good idea.


Fatigue effect
Very long questionnaires or poorly presented questions which appear long and monotonous can have a detrimental effect on respondent engagement and ultimately the quality of responses given. It is not recommended, for example, to have too many items in a battery of statements on a matrix question. Mixing up question styles and using drag and drop questions help respondent interest in the survey.


General Population (Gen Pop) sample
Sample composition to reflect the population accurately by age, gender and region. General population weighting will ensure sample distribution is an accurate reflection of the population. E.g. in the UK Female population should represent 51% of the population.

Grid questions
See matrix questions.

Generation X
See X

Generation Z
See Y

Government Regions
Consists of four countries: England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. The so called NUTS code has 12 regions (9 in England, plus Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland). English regions include: East Midlands, East of England, London, North East, North West, South East, South West, West Midlands, Yorkshire & The Humber.


Hypothesis development
A hypothesis is a possible answer to the research question. A hypothesis to a problem can also generate ideas to be tested in a survey.


Interval scales
Refers to rating scales that have an equal distance between them. E.g rating based on a numerical 10 point scale, where 1 is poor and 10 is excellent.

Itemized rating scales
Are the features, measures or attitudes which are measured on a rating scale.

Interactive Reports
Online reports viewable to clients via private access or to the wider public. Consist of charts and allows the user to view extracts of the data. See Data Visualisation


Joint income
The income in a household, typically of a married couple or adults in a relationship. Household income levels can be targeted in Surveygoo Online Panel Access.


K means
A statistical technique used in cluster/segmentation analysis.


Likert scale
Often referred to as agree-disagree scale. Respondents see a list of attributes in a battery of statements. For each statement, the respondent indicates how much they agree with it (e.g. agree, strongly agree, disagree, strongly disagree). In Surveygoo likert scales can be set in matrix style questions. (also see randomize).

Likelihood of purchase
A question which asks how likely a respondent would purchase a product or service on a given scale. E.g. definitely, very likely, not very likely, not at all likely.

Large scale pilot
Any large scale survey (e.g. multi country) may benefit from running a trial survey to test the questionnaire and likely responses before rolling out the full surveys.


Max Diff Scaling
A type of survey question used as an alternative to ranking and importance questions. Respondents are asked it indicate preferences of best and worst attributes in a series of questions.

Refers to an age group of people, often defined as born between 1981 and 1996 (e.g. 22-37 years of age). Surveys can compare millennials with other age groups or focus just on this age group.

Multiple Choice/responses
Closed questions which have options for more than one choice are called multiple choice.

Matrix questions
Feature a grid/battery of statements or items which can rated against a scale.


Nationally Representative
Refers to a sample structure being representative of a population. E.g. a sample of 1000 or 2000 survey responses structured to be representative of age, gender and region in the UK so that is mirrors the true UK population.

Nominal Data
Data classified by categories or name. e.g. male, female, London, Birmingham.

Number of points on the scale
Five point scales are the most common because it is effective. It has enough points on the scale to allow discrimination and is familiar to many respondents. Seven points can be used for more discrimination (e.g. extremely likely, very likely, quite likely, neither likely nor unlikely, quite unlikely, very unlikely, extremely unlikely). 10 point scales are also common, particularly for number scales.

Numerical scale
The scale is set often between 1 and 10, or 0 and 100. The end points of the scale should be set verbally e.g. 10 at one end and 1 at the other.


Open questions
An open question does not suggest answers in the question. It could feature a short answer such as one or two products, or a longer description, such as to explain why they prefer a certain brand.

Ordinal data
Is typically found in ranking scales, where a respondent ranks the importance or attractiveness of a feature with a ranked number.

Order bias
The order in which prompts/attributes appear can have a biasing effect. Surveygoo allows you to randomize the order in which attributes appear in a grid.


Prompted questions
Questions which provide a prompt list for the respondent to review and pick an answer (e.g. Which of the following do you agree with, please rate brand x on the following scale).

Positively weighted scale
A scale which has more positive than negative dimensions. E.g. excellent, very good, good, average, poor. There is an argument for trying to differentiate higher levels of excellence in measuring customer satisfaction surveys.

Measures typically used in customer

PR Survey
Name sometimes given to a type of poll used to create ideas, headlines and news content based on public opinion polls.


Questionnaire sections
When planning a questionnaire it is good practice to band subject areas together and sequence the questions in order.

Question order
It is always recommended to ask spontaneous questions before prompted questions. It is also often recommended to ask easier, general questions before asking more difficult questions.

Question flow/planning
Good questionnaire design should include planning activities to ensure that the order of questions and subject matter is mapped out before starting the scripting of surveys. Short or simple surveys can be directly designed in Surveygoo, but it is always recommended that longer questionnaires are planned in advance.


Rating Scale
Scales used to rate ideas or brand attributes. E.g. verbal scales such as excellent, very good, fair, etc.

Ratio scales
e.g. What proportion of your income do you spend on food? 0-5%, 6-10%, 11-15%, 16-20%, etc.

Ranking questions
Questions used to rank the order of an issue or criteria. E.g. Please rank the order of the following service criteria. Surveygoo allows you to use matrix questions or drag and drop questions where the respondent is asked to drag the factor in order of importance or attractiveness.

The means to ensure that questions are asked based on relevant answers or demographics recorded in the questionnaire. E.g. If answer yes at q3 ask q6. Surveygoo allows full routing instructions.

It is often recommended to randomize the order of attributes in matrix questions (likert scales). Survegoo allows you to do this. By ticking randomize in the question set up, the order of the attributes appearing to the respondents will be random, thus removing any potential bias in the order of question attributes.


Sample Weighting
If a sample structure does not match the true population (e.g in terms of age or regional distribution) it is necessary to adjust the results of the survey to reflect the population. Various weighting techniques can be used to adjust the sample distribution within the data analysis software. E.g. rim weighting.

Screening questions
If you only want to interview people with certain demographics Surrveygoo can help target relevant respondents. But sometimes it is necessary to interview people based on their behavior or attitudes to a product or lifestyle. To do this it may be necessary to ask questions to screen out respondents. E.g. Which of the following items have you bought in the last six months? TV, DVD, iPad, Video streamer.

Spontaneous questions
Questions designed to capture a spontaneous answer (e.g. which is your preferred brand?) captures the answer in an open ended box. It is important to ensure spontaneous questions appear on pages before prompted questions appear, which could influence the answer of the spontaneous question. Typical uses of spontaneous questions include brand awareness, attitudes towards a product or advert, and likes/dislikes towards a product.

Sensitive questions
Questions which ask personal data (e.g. health, lifestyle, etc) which may be of a sensitive nature.


Tracking Studies
Studies which are repeated over a given period of time (e.g. monthly, quarterly, annually). Tracking studies are typically used to measure brand awareness or customer satisfaction.


Userability research
User tests of products in product research or to test usage of websites.

A term researchers sometimes use to refer to the size or number of organisations/respondents in a population. E.g. 500 customers in a customer database represents the universe of all the customers of an organization.


Verbal scales
A question scale which defines the scale with labels. E.g. Excellent, good, fair, poor instead of 4,3,2,1. Arguably, verbal scales are better for making clear what exactly the scale means.

Questions which require an answer as a value / number.


Weighted data
Sometimes researchers weight data to match the profile of a population or customer universe. See sample weighting


Generation X
Gen X people were born after the second world war (between 1960 and early 1980s). Researchers sometimes target this audience, typically by the year they were born.


Generation Y
Are known as the millennial generation, or the millennials. Other names for Generation Y include Generation Next or Net or Echo Boomers. People born between 1980 and 1999 are often characterized as Generation Y.


Generation Z
Also known as Generation M (for multi tasking) or Generation C (for connected) or Digital Natives. They are often defined as people born from 1990 onwards.