A Path to Better Research with Geo-Maps

A Path to Better Research with Geo-Maps

Given how common mapping capabilities have become via the Internet and smartphones, it is surprising that we don’t see more geographic mapping in market research.  Researchers nearly always look at customer demographics, and a key component of a person’s demographic profile is where he or she lives.  This data is far more compelling if you…

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3 Reasons We Don’t Do Statistics in Excel

Over the last few years we have wondered whether spreadsheet software like Excel will soon make statistics software like SPSS or SAS obsolete. Spreadsheets have amazingly powerful and often intuitive capabilities.  They have many of the statistical functions we use every day.  Younger people entering our profession rarely know programs like SPSS or SAS, and…

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A Better Way to Scale MaxDiff Utilities

MaxDiff is a survey method used to measure the importance of product features.  Subsets of features are presented, and respondents are asked to select which feature is most important and which feature is least important.  Its advantage over other techniques is that by forcing a choice from among multiple features, it more strongly differentiates the…

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Three Mistakes to Avoid on Data Charts

Turning data into stories involves not just words, but pictures as well.  In the world of quantitative market research, that usually means charts, graphs, and tables.  Moreover, just like poorly written sentences that often complicate rather than clarify data, charts and graphs in market research too often suffer from “chartjunk,” as Edward Tufte calls it. …

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An Interactive Graph for Choosing Sample Size

A good chart is the best way to understand the law of diminishing returns when it comes to sample size.  So for our June 2011 newsletter we built an interactive graph for choosing sample size.  It’s cool, educational, and useful.  Moreover, it will show you just how mind boggling the numbers behind sampling can be. …

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How Data Can Highlight Mistakes

We are often surprised by the number of senior researchers in the market research industry who never touch raw data.  Often they don’t even have the tools, since “data processing” is outsourced to lower levels or other countries.  It is surprising because we almost always engage in work where getting into the data and puzzling…

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Advice for PR Surveys: Avoid Numeric Scales

As much as we love numbers, we find ourselves often advising clients against using numeric scales in their surveys.  A numeric scale is any response format that asks people to give a number within a certain range to indicate the strength of their feeling or opinion.  The insanely popular survey question used to calculate Net…

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Bad Decisions with Better Graphics

Does data displayed in charts and graphs, rather than tables, lead to better decisions?  Not according to the latest research reported in this month’s Journal of Marketing Research. The authors looked at various types of biases that creep into business managers’ decisions when based on data presented to them.  They did this by conducting experiments…