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Marketing Information Management


Summary Comparison of Survey Methods

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This slide summarizes the relative strengths and weaknesses of some of the major survey techniques that we have discussed up to this point. The left-hand column  highlights some of the major dimensions that are important for selecting a survey type.

Speed of Data Collection . Clearly. mail surveys are the slowest because we can not control how quickly respondents mail information back.
Respondent Cooperation. Generally, the face-to-face techniques elicit the mot cooperation because we introduce that personal touch into the survey. Subjects are more likely to feel obligated to cooperate when they actually are in communication with the administrator.
Flexibility. Flexibility refers to ease with which respondents' questions or problems can be addressed during the survey.  A mail survey performs poorly here because there is no administrator available to take care of any problems that may pop up. The respondent is on his or her own.
Questionnaire Length . Questionnaires can be longer when an administrator is specifically asking questions, as in the case of door-to-door surveys, shopping mall intercepts, and telephone surveys . This personal contact, again, tends to make people feel obligated to finish the questionnaire.
Respondent Misunderstanding.  Mail surveys perform the worst here because there is no administrator to clear-up questions. The respondent is on his or her own and, as a result, may interpret the meaning of a question much differently then was intended by the researcher.
Interviewer Bias.  The personal interview performs the worst here. The interviewer may say or do something to change the way that the respondent answers a particular question. Even simple voice inflections or off-handed gestures can dramatically change the way a subject interprets and responds to a question.
Cost.  By far the highest cost technique is the personal interview because we have to pay an administrator. The lowest cost survey method is the mail survey.

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Page last modified: January 23, 2001