Unlike Ordinary Web
InterSurvey's unique approach to consumer research is built
on the solid statistical foundation of probability sampling.
"It all depends on who
No matter how good your questions are, if you're not asking
the right people, your answers aren't going to be worth much.
type of broad-scale consumer research, the "right people"
means a statistically representative subset of your target
population. Usually, respondents are selected through some sort of
random procedure which draws from the entire population, or
"universe" of the audience.
For example, if you want to know
what people all across the United States think about your product,
you can't just ask the folks in Oshkosh. You have to ask -- or
"sample" -- a representative cross-section of people from
every part of the country.
Obvious? You'd be surprised how
much consumer research is only done in "Oshkosh."
You Have to Get It Right
If there's anything worse than
not knowing, it's thinking you know when you don't.
That's the pitfall
of any research that isn't grounded in sound statistical science:
drawing conclusions for an entire population based on data from an
incomplete or non-representative sample. For example, finding out
about the weather in California by asking the people in
The Web -- with its instant access to consumers and whiz-bang
multimedia capabilities -- has become a highly attractive medium for
conducting consumer research and opinion polling. The bad news is
that there's no scientific basis for drawing inferences from current
The fact is, most Americans don't own computers. Even fewer
have access to the Internet, and of those who do, only a tiny
percentage takes part in online surveys. No sampling technique can
be representative of population members who have no chance of being
selected. So these aren't probability samples at all; they're
volunteer, "convenience" samples for which probability
sampling theory simply does not apply.
The good news is that
InterSurvey has a solution. We draw a random sample of households
using a scientifically-accepted computerized technique called Random
Digit Dialing (RDD), and then provide those households with Internet
That way, we can offer all the speed, convenience,
flexibility and economy of online delivery, without the sampling
biases of ordinary Web survey methods. Most important, you can be
sure you're getting it right.
Traditional Methods Can't Do
What Traditional Research Can
and Can't Do
Research using existing survey
methodologies often involves a tough tradeoff between sampling
reliability and interviewing logistics.
Telephone surveys. Some
techniques, such as Random Digit Dialing (RDD) telephone surveys,
provide random samples that are guaranteed to be representative of
the target population. Scientifically, they're rock solid.
telephone allows only limited interview content, poor audio and no
video. It's also getting harder to convince people to participate,
because consumers often equate teleresearch with annoying
In-person surveys. If you're face-to-face with the
respondent, there's not much you can't ask. Audiovisual material,
graphics, verbal questions - anything goes.
But...when the interviewer has
to make "house calls" (at $200 or more per interview),
costs can quickly become prohibitive, especially when sampling
across a wide geographic area. In fact, the Federal Government is
just about the only organization still doing large-scale, in-person
Focus groups and mall intercepts. These get the
researcher face-to-face with respondents. Because they allow visual
content, and even live product demos, they can be tremendously
But ... the sample size is small, geographically-limited and
far from random.
It's not hard to build a cost-effective,
scientifically sound mail survey. And it's a relatively easy matter
to administer it.
But ... it's called "snail mail" for a reason. This
is by far the slowest market research you can do. And response rates
to mail surveys, even with incentives, are often too low to provide
Volunteer Web surveys. Definitely a step in the right
direction, volunteer Web surveys are fast and inexpensive. Some of
them take advantage of the multimedia capabilities of the Internet,
too. Even better, Web surveys are easy to administer.
But ... as
they're done today, Web surveys are so statistically biased that
their results are virtually useless to serious market researchers.
Self-selected surveys of current Internet users reach only about one
percent of the American public - predominantly single, young,
affluent, well-educated males - and miss the majority of consumer
Can Do It
And They Can't
InterSurvey research takes the
best of traditional methodology -- probability sampling -- and
applies it to the cutting edge technology of the Web.
Internet-based research relies on scientifically invalid
"self-sampling." What we do is considerably more
complicated and effective.
First, InterSurvey selects a
representative sample of all households using Random Digit Dialing,
a scientifically proven method of random selection. Selected
households who agree to enroll are equipped at no cost to them with
the necessary hardware to receive our Internet surveys. This is all
done on a standardized platform that allows the delivery of high
quality audio, video and other forms of multimedia.
probability sampling to select panel households, InterSurvey can
provide accurate and valid information about any target population.
This gives you access to all of your customers, online or not. It
also gives you the certainty that your research data will be based
on nationally representative samples, or demographically targeted
samples, of your