What is opinion research?
When talking about public opinion research, we are referring to the process of measuring the views, opinions, attitudes, or experiences of a specific research group (population). This process is conducted by eliciting responses to posed questions from a selected sample of the population. Surveys serve as a source of information that has become increasingly important in today’s times, and they encompass the opinions of various groups (internet users, voters, entrepreneurs, societies, consumers). Public opinion is mainly influenced by the media, shaping the motives of individuals in various aspects of life.
Why is it worth to conduct a survey research?
Public opinion research is gaining increasing interest, and not without reason. It is behind the success of many investors, businessmen, and entrepreneurs. It can be boldly stated that support of this kind is essential for achieving entrusted goals with minimal losses. Opinion research helps in selecting the right actions, the implementation of which will significantly contribute to reaching successive stages on the path to the top. Gaining a position in the market is a process that directly translates into the return on invested time and resources.
Public, Social, or Consumer Opinion Research – Who Can We Ask?
In the case of public opinion, we are referring to the norms of beliefs with the aim of verifying which positions are predominant in a particular community. This is the prevailing approach to issues relevant to the studied social group.
When discussing social opinion, we refer to a broader range of questions, omitting issues directly related to politics.
Consumer opinions consist of feedback from customers regarding the services or products offered by a company, which opens up opportunities for development and improvement of the services provided or shopping preferences.
A method that allows for gathering important information about the evaluation of various aspects perceived by employees in the employee-employer relationship is the employees’ opinions. It is through this method, often in anonymous form, that management most frequently obtains information about the strengths and weaknesses of collaboration within the organization.
If we are talking about research that allows for the verification of a company’s position compared to the competition in providing a particular service or delivering a product, we are referring to market research. It helps gather information about the phenomena or processes shaping the market, which is a valuable guideline for industries looking to develop their product or service.
Where Do Respondents for the Survey Come From?
One of the most common questions, especially among those undertaking their first research projects, is the issue of how to distribute your survey and contact participants (respondents). How do you reach the intended research sample size? How do you inform customers about the opportunity to express their opinions while maintaining a high response rate? The answer is simple: collect customer feedback through various contact channels. For example, if you operate in the e-commerce industry and want to inform customers about the opportunity to participate in a survey, you can use the following methods:
- Place the survey prominently on your website. You can do this in the form of links, visually appealing buttons, attractive widgets, or pop-ups.
- Include a link to the survey in your company’s email signature.
- Send a survey link in your newsletter.
- Conclude chat conversations with customers by providing a link to the survey.
- Inform your customers that they can share their thoughts on a thank-you page that appears at the end of a transaction.
- Share the link on social media to invite your followers to participate in the survey.
- If you’re interested in the opinions of people beyond your customer base, you can invite users from relevant forums and thematic groups to take your survey.
Survey questions that can be used
What constitutes the primary source of data in research? These are survey responses from research participants, who can be individuals, companies, or institutions. Opinion research involves interaction with respondents using survey tools such as questionnaires and interview scripts, selecting appropriate research methods and techniques. Survey tools are managed by surveyors, interview moderators, or software (scripts, websites, electronic forms).
Which research method should you consider?
To analyze public opinion, various research methods are used:
- Survey Research: This type of research is based on a standardized questionnaire and aims to collect information from respondents on a specific topic.
- Polling: It involves systematically gathering information about the opinions and attitudes of individuals in a short period using a questionnaire. This is the most commonly used method in public opinion research and allows for drawing conclusions that can be scaled to the behavior of a given population.
- In-Depth Individual Interview: This method involves in-depth interviews conducted by the interviewer with the respondent. It has a script but allows for modification to explore deeper insights.
These are just a few of the research methods commonly used to study public opinion.
Research Techniques You Can Use
PAPI (Paper and Pencil Interview): The interview is conducted using a paper questionnaire. This means that either the interviewer fills in the respondent’s answers on a printed questionnaire, or the respondent completes the questionnaire independently.
CAPI (Computer Assisted Personal Interview): The interview is conducted using a computer-based survey. The interviewer reads or displays the list of questions and then marks the answers on the screen in the survey script.
CATI (Computer Assisted Telephone Interview): The interview is conducted using a telephone survey. The interviewer reads specific questions and then marks the answers in the survey script.
CAWI (Computer Assisted Web Interview): The most global option is to conduct an online survey using an electronic questionnaire. In this case, the respondent reads the questions and answers, and then marks a response consistent with their opinion.
RTS (Real Time Sampling): The survey is “open” to all users, so anyone with access can participate. Typically, this is an online survey with a publicly accessible link.
Panel Survey: Conducted exclusively among users of a specific research panel. Invitations to the survey are sent to a randomly selected or predetermined group of respondents.
IDI (Individual In-Depth Interview): High-quality in-depth personal interviews where moderators communicate with respondents based on interview scripts.
FGI (Focus Group Interview): Group interviews conducted with a moderator guiding the discussion among respondents, following guidelines from the interview script.
Telephone or Online Opinion Surveys?
Which form of conducting opinion surveys is better? In the case of telephone conversations, much depends on the respondent’s focus on the survey being conducted. Their engagement in the survey is directly influenced by the ability of the person conducting the survey to create such an environment. Therefore, in this case, it is important to establish customer service standards for telephone surveys in advance.
The online variant offers broader possibilities. It helps engage panel participants through visual analysis by incorporating multimedia content, images, and suitable color schemes, which undoubtedly gives it an advantage over the telephone form. Online surveys allow for a more extensive analysis of the responses by comparing them, giving users the opportunity for thorough analysis.
Among the advantages of electronic surveys are:
- Cost-effectiveness, as there is no need to print questionnaires.
- Flexibility in continuing the survey over a longer period.
- The ability to send survey invitations and reminders at various times of the day.
- The potential to reach a broader group, allowing for global marketing research.
- The simplicity of the method, which is inviting and allows for the collection of the target group of respondents with simplified survey topics.
- Universal implementation of surveys: the possibility of filling them out on smartphones or laptops for convenience and comfort.
- Relatively easy result analysis, enabling precise comparison of achieved survey results in various formats.
It’s worth noting that the market offers a wide range of online survey creators, making it easier to reach the target group.
Do online surveys have disadvantages?
Participating in surveys through online questionnaires naturally comes with its drawbacks. Some of these include:
- Incomplete Responses: Internet users may not always pay attention to completing the entire questionnaire.
- Reliability of Responses: There is a risk that the honesty of responses may affect the complete picture.
- Difficulty in Verifying Respondent Identity: It can be challenging to verify the identities of online respondents.
- Potential for Data Falsification: Participants may falsify data or provide inaccurate information.
- Limitations for Senior Citizens: Online surveys can be limited for senior citizens due to their limited use of web applications.
However, it’s worth noting that a significant portion of the older population now has internet access and may be able to use laptops or smartphones well enough to respond to survey questions.
Is an online survey representative?
Representative test results help clients effectively manage their businesses. However, the problem lies in the fact that it’s becoming increasingly difficult to select a truly representative sample. How can this be addressed?
When it comes to sensitive political preferences in surveys, the first thing you need is tools that ensure respondent anonymity. In the context of the failure of political polls in the media, there is increasing discussion about the representativeness of quantitative methods in research. The Computer-Assisted Telephone Interview (CATI) method is not always the best tool.
It’s important to emphasize that there is no such thing as a “perfectly representative survey”. Representativeness cannot be assessed on a scale from 0-1. The term “representativeness” is considered in the context of additional information that allows for a satisfactory level of assessment. This means that all surveys are to some extent representative. For example, if we are studying the reading preferences of the Polish population, the opinion of Polish linguistic professors is representative to some extent but not sufficient. It does not reflect the preferences of the entire population.
What are the most important indicators of opinion research?
The indicators for opinion research can vary depending on the type of research being conducted. In the case of consumer research aimed at assessing customer satisfaction, you can summarize it using the following indicators:
CSI (Customer Satisfaction Index) – This is a weighted average of customer satisfaction ratings based on product characteristics, taking into account the meeting of customer expectations and requirements.
NPS (Net Promoter Score) – It measures the likelihood of recommendations.
CES (Customer Effort Score) – This indicator assesses the effort a customer has to put in to have their issue resolved by the company. It considers CSI, the recommendation score (NPS).
CLR (Customer Loyalty Ratio) – It takes into account the likelihood of a customer making another purchase.
How to conduct public opinion research?
How can you prepare for conducting public opinion research on your own? You should go through the following steps to prepare for the research:
Specify the specific subject of the research, what will be specifically verified.
Define the goals of the research process. What is their content? What research question(s) will you be trying to answer? Justify why the research needs to be conducted. A good introduction is also the best incentive for readers to continue reading the rest of the document.
Specify the location and timing of the research and how long it will last.
Determine the start and end dates for data collection and the location where the survey will be conducted. Is it a one-time survey, a recurring one, or will it be compared to previous results of the survey?
Choose the research method and the respondents.
The selection of respondents and the research method always have an impact on the final outcome. Therefore, recipients of the reports should have full awareness of the conditions and survey data collection methods. At this stage, answer questions about how the research will be conducted and what research technique will be applied. Will it be an online survey, a telephone survey, or a paper survey? Will it be handed out to respondents for self-completion, or will an interviewer read the questions and provide answers?
Briefly describe the individuals with whom you intend to conduct surveys (e.g., students, employees, individuals over 50 years old, customers, etc.) as well as the distribution method and the selection of respondents.
Specify how the research will be conducted in detail.
Will the survey have closed-ended questions (single/multiple choice), or open-ended questions? Will respondents receive additional information before completing the survey? Are there any events that may influence the conclusions? If the survey is cyclical, what questions will be asked during the next iteration, and will respondents answer all questions that have already been used?
Establish the method of documenting the research.
Summarize the research, draw conclusions, and provide recommendations. Typically, this involves a few sentences containing the most important observations made during the research. You can mention any interesting, unusual, or surprising findings. Describe what insights have been gained from the research and how these results can be used for other purposes. Evaluate whether the objectives set for the research have been achieved. Don’t forget to include key metrics. How many surveys were collected? How many were completed correctly? How many can be discarded, and why?
Why is it worth outsourcing opinion research to a third-party company?
If you are seeking support in conducting public opinion research, we are the right partner for you. As CCIG, we have extensive experience in conducting CATI (Computer-Assisted Telephone Interviewing) research in various industries. We can conduct consumer surveys, market research, and customer satisfaction surveys for your company.
With our own equipment, IT infrastructure and a well-trained team any opinion research conducted with us will be executed swiftly. Explore our CATI research services.