Glossary F-N

Glossary F-N

Field is the physical location where the interviewing takes place.

Field Supervisor (aka Field Director) is the person who is responsible for selecting, hiring and training interviewers. He or she is also responsible for the data collection phase of the survey and following the agreed instructions.

Fieldwork is a general term that refers to any data gathering process.

Filter question is a question in a questionnaire to ensure that respondents meet the required criteria for a subsequent question (or questions) in a survey.

Findings are information that answer a research question.

Focus Group (aka Focus Group Interview or Group Discussion) is a type of qualitative research that consists of an informal discussion of a particular topic with a small number of selected participants (usually 8-12). The discussion is guided by a skilled moderator who does not influence the outcome, but ensures that all the subject areas are discussed by the group and the views of the participants are as clear as possible. The ideal number of participants depends on the subject matter being discussed, eg complex subjects may be better discussed with fewer participants – possibly 4-6.

Forced Rating Scale is a scale that does not allow a neutral or no opinion choice.

Frequency (aka Average Opportunities to See) is the average number of times an advert has been exposed to a specified television audience or universe.

Frequency Distribution is a representation of the number of counts of objects or responses, usually in the form of a table or graph.

Hypothesis testing is a statistical procedure used to compare a sample mean to a specified value or to compare a pair of sample means.

Implied Population is the population as suggested by the sample, ie it is that part of the population of interest that was available for the research. When a convenience sample is used or where there is sampling frame error, the implied population could be significantly different to the population of interest (or the ideal population).

Instrument Error is a type of non-sampling error caused by the survey instrument (or questionnaire) itself, such as unclear wording, asking respondents for information they are unable to supply or the instrument being changed in some way during the course of the research.

Intended Sample is the ideal sample for a particular research project (which may be different to the resulting sample).

Intercept Interview (aka Mall Intercept Interview) is a type of central location interviewing where respondents are approached (or intercepted) in high traffic locations such as grocery stores or shopping malls. The main part of the interview can take place either on the mall floor or in another location (usually nearby).

Interview is the exchange if information between an interviewer and a respondent. A questionnaire is the vehicle used for this exchange, and the interviewer records the responses to a question or a series of questions on paper or by using a computer programme. The exchange can be face-to-face, on the telephone or via a computer link of some form.

Interviewer Error (aka Interviewer Bias) is a type of non-sampling error caused by mistakes made by the interviewer. These may include influencing the respondent in some way, asking questions in the wrong order, or using slightly different phrasing (or tone of voice) than other interviewers. It can include intentional errors such as cheating and fraudulent data entry.

Leading Question (aka Loaded Question) is one that suggests an answer by the way in which the question is worded.

Likert Scale is a type of categorical, non-comparative scale that determines respondents’ levels of agreement to a series of statements relating to an attitude being measured.

Mail Survey is one where respondents are asked to complete a questionnaire (unaided) and return it to the sender either by post or e-mail. The respondents may or may not be recruited in advance of the survey.

Marketing Research (as defined by the American Marketing Association) is the systematic and objective identification, collection, analysis and dissemination of information for the purpose of improving decision making related to the identification and solution of problems and opportunities in marketing.

Mean (aka arithmetic mean) is a summary measure of central tendency that is equal to the sum of a set of values divided by the number of values in the data.

Measures of Central Tendency are those that describe the centre of a distribution. Examples of measures of central tendency are: mean, median and mode.

Measurement Scale is a device that assigns numbers to objects, events or people according to a set of rules.

Moderator is someone who leads (but does not influence the outcome of) group discussions and/or in-depth interviews.

Monitor is a quality control measure that may involve observing, auditing and checking the interviewing to ensure that the required procedures are followed and to give feedback and instruction to the interviewers. Monitoring is one means of validating or giving assurance that data is collected from qualified respondents who are interviewed under prescribed conditions. Monitoring can be done in person for face-to-face interviews or by phone for telephone interviews.

Moving Average is the mean of a series of measurements that have been taken over a period of time. Moving averages can be used to eliminate a seasonal bias in some data.

MRA is the Marketing Research Association (based in the US) and it is a professional society for those who are involved or concerned with marketing and opinion research. Its mission is to promote excellence in marketing and opinion research by providing members with a variety of opportunities for advancing and expanding their marketing research and related business skills and to act as an industry advocate with appropriate government entities, other associations and the public.

NA (No Answer) is the accepted abbreviation to indicate no response to a question because the respondent refused to reply, the question did not apply or it was skipped for some reason.

Noise can be used to refer to a random variation in some data due to uncontrolled sources.

Nominal Scale (aka Classified Scale) is a scale where the numbers act only as data labels (eg 0=male, 1=female or a social security number). The only analysis that can be performed is to observe how frequently each of the scale members occurs in the survey.

Non-probability Sample (aka Non-random Sample) is a sample in which the selection of units is based on factors other than random chance, eg convenience, prior experience or the judgement of the researcher. Examples of non-probability samples are: convenience, judgmental, quota and snowball.

Non-sampling Error is any error caused by factors other than sampling error. Examples of non-sampling error are: selection bias. population mis-specification error, sampling frame error, processing error, respondent error, non-response error, instrument error, interviewer error and surrogate error.

Normal Distribution is a symmetrical bell-shaped statistical distribution where the mean, the median and the mode all have the same value.

Null Hypothesis
is a statement to be tested that is usually expressed in a negative (or null) way and suggests that no difference or effect is expected. If the statement is disproved, then the null hypothesis is rejected and the alternative hypothesis is accepted.