Glossary O-R

Glossary O-R

Omnibus Study is a periodic study that asks questions on a number of unrelated subjects. The results may be completely or partially syndicated among clients.

One-sided Question is a form of leading question that presents only one aspect of an issue being considered by respondents.

One-Way Mirror is a sheet of glass which, when viewed from one side, appears to be a normal mirror and when viewed from the other side, is transparent. It is used in Marketing Research to observe respondents without their being constantly reminded that they are being watched, although they have to be advised by the researcher that they are being observed. A one-way mirror is often used in focus group discussions.

Open-ended Questions (aka Unstructured Questions) are questions that do not have a set of anticipated responses listed on the questionnaires. The interviewer records the respondent’s verbatim response. When the survey is interviewer-administered, the respondent is encouraged to respond completely and freely with the use of probing and clarifying techniques. These questions may also be self-administered.

Opening Questions are the questions at the beginning of a questionnaire and they should be interesting, simple and non-threatening to gain the confidence and co-operation of respondents.

Opinion is the verbal expression of an attitude and is not directly verifiable by research data.

Opinion Poll is a study that collects views of the public on matters of broad interest.

Order Bias (aka position bias or sequential bias) occurs when respondents tend to favour objects because of their position in a list or sequence. The objects at the beginning and at the end of a list can be remembered more than those occurring in the middle. Usual practice is to rotate a list to eliminate this type of bias.

Ordinal Scale (aka Ranked Scale) is a scale where the numbers assigned represent relative amounts of the characteristic being measured, eg first or second in a ranking. The distances between intervals in an ordinal scale are usually not equal – ie the difference between the values of first and second is not the same as the difference between third and fourth in a ranking.

Panel (aka Consumer Panel) is a group of selected research participants who have agreed to provide pre-designated information at regular specified intervals over an extended period of time. The information may be on purchasing, media consumption or life-style activities.

Participant is a general term covering anyone who is involved in a research study and not just someone who is interviewed, eg in an observation study or a group discussion.

Population of Interest (aka Target Population or Ideal Population) is the group about whom the researcher wants to know more and from whom a sample will be drawn.

Pre-test can be used to refer to two different activities. A pre-test is where a questionnaire is tested on a (statistically) small sample of respondents before a full-scale study, in order to identify any problems such as unclear wording or the questionnaire taking too long to administer. A pre-test can also be used to refer to an initial measurement (such as brand or advertising awareness) before an experimental treatment is administered and subsequent measurements are taken. In this sense a pre-test can also be called a base line, benchmark or pre-wave.

Pre-testing (aka Pilot Testing) is when the questionnaire is tried on a (statistically) small group of respondents to identify any unforeseen problems such as the wording or flow of the questions.

Primary Data are data that are collected specifically for a current research project.

Probing is the asking of additional questions to encourage a respondent to enlarge on a particular answer or opinion so that their answer can be further understood by the researcher.

Qualitative Research involves the use of unstructured exploratory techniques (such as group discussions and in-depth interviews) that are based on statistically small samples in order to understand a problem further.

Quality Control refers to a set of procedures to ensure that interviewers follow the instructions provided by the sampling plan.

Quantitative Research involves the collection of (statistically) large samples of quantitative data and usually some form of statistical analysis. Quantitative research is often used to substantiate the findings from qualitative research.

Questionnaire a structured technique for collecting data consisting of a series of questions. Questionnaires can be self-completion or administered by an interviewer, they can be completed orally or in writing.

Random Digit Dialling is a method of reducing sampling frame error and involves the use of randomly generated numbers for a telephone survey, instead of relying on telephone directories or other lists of numbers that may exclude certain types of consumers.

Range is a measure of variability that is the difference between the largest and the smallest value in a set of values.

Ranked Scale see ordinal scale.

Rank Order Scaling (aka Ranking) is a type of comparative scale where respondents are presented with a set of objects and they are asked to rank them first, second, third etc according to a criterion. Each rank is only used once.

Recall Measurement (aka Recall Test) is a type of post-test that investigates respondents’ ability to recall something they may have read, heard or seen. Recall measurements can be taken without or with the benefit of some form of stimulus material – see spontaneous and prompted awareness.

Recruiting is the inviting of selected participants (who meet specific eligibility criteria) to take part in a research project. The work is undertaken by a field recruiter (often just referred to as a recruiter).

Refusal refers to respondents who will not participate in a research project. Refusals are tracked at various stages within a research project – see initial refusals and qualified refusals.

Refusal Rate is the percentage of contacted people who decline to co-operate with the research study.

Reliability is the extent to which a research process can be repeated and produce consistent results (ie it is free from random error).

Research Design is the framework for conducting a market research project that specifies how information will be collected and analysed to answer the questions at hand.

Respondent is the person who is interviewed by a researcher.

Respondent Bill of Rights is a list of the rights respondents should have in participating in any legimate public opinion research.

Respondent Error (aka Response Bias) is a type of non-sampling error caused by respondents intentionally or unintentionally providing incorrect answers to research questions. Possible sources of respondent error can be: inability error, best light phenomenon, social group norms or selection bias.

Respondent Fatigue is when respondents’ are disinclined to continue participating in a research project and it can lead to invalid responses (usually towards the end of the research project).

Response Rate is the percentage of all attempted interviews that are completed.