Methods, resources and quality control
We have been carrying out online surveys since 2011 and recommend this method for solving a wide range of issues. Our experience shows that online method is as good as any other quantitative method, including semi-formalized personal interviews (F2F); moreover, it has many advantages:
Higher control and efficiency
- All project works are performed in the central office, contractors are not required; thus, falsification of data is minimized and emerging issues are solved quickly
- Only our full-time employees interact with the target audience
- We have a possibility to monitor IP-addresses, from which questionnaires are filled out (a situation when “one person fills out for three respondents” is impossible).
Increased quality of data — minimization of human error:
- Logical errors during completion (which interviewer can omit, and the program identifies an error and asks to correct it – otherwise, further completion is impossible)
- The incorrect answer to the question, because the interviewer has read it incorrectly, made stresses in wrong places, rephrased according to his understanding – as a result, a respondent understood the question incorrectly
- “Misinterpretation” in answer to open questions (specialist uses specific terms in answering the question or speaks very quickly, and the interviewer writes down what he/she “seems to have heard” and/or what he/she manages to write down)
- Positive / negative attitude towards the interviewer can also influence the quality of answers.
Comfort for a specialist — respondent has a possibility to fill out the questionnaire in any convenient setting (if we talk about F2F interviews, for instance, the interviewer is invited to the clinic – doctor is constantly distracted with telephone calls, colleagues, patients, etc.; in some cases, if it is prohibited to hold surveys in the clinic – specialist becomes nervous, hastens the interviewer – all these factors lead to worsened quality of data).
Reduction in project cost by 25-30% as compared to F2F interviews
- No need to pay to interviewers
- No need to spend team resources on interaction with contractors
MAR Consult has in-house software and server for posting online questionnaires. Questionnaire programming is performed directly by employees working in Programming and Electronic Data Quality Control Unit of MAR Consult.
Online survey of specialists is performed with those respondents who are preliminary recruited according to Client’s requirements.
For instance, recruitment inUnit is performed over the telephone by full-time employees of the CATI Center (in the central office) who specialize in projects on medicine and pharmaceutics.
Recruitment is made relatively quickly owing to available up-to-date and constantly revised database of specialists from different sectors.
We carry out telephone surveys of both private consumers and specialists. We recommend using telephone calls in case of shorter surveys. If interview length is not more than 25 minutes, we will quickly receive information of our interest and save time and money on visit to respondent.
MAR Consult opened an in-house CATI center in 2007. Our full-time employees working there have vast experience of communication with various audiences, including such complex respondents as doctors, patients with relatives, managers of different levels in companies, specialists from automotive, chemical, machine building, oil and gas and other sectors.
100% of telephone communications are recorded and can be provided to Clients upon request.
Personal interviews are the most convenient tool in case of work with hard-to-reach target audience, as well as in places where products are either purchased or used directly.
MAR Consult has experienced team of interviewers in Moscow and extended network of regional contractors in over 50 RF cities, as well as in Kazakhstan, Ukraine, Azerbaidzhan, Belarus.
Respondents are recruited only in the central office of MAR Consult. We perform 100% quality control of interviews held and data received.
MAR Consult holds personal interviews with tablet PCs: we program a questionnaire, upload it to the tablet, and an interviewer comes to a respondent with a tool for conducting the interview quickly and without errors.
Interviews on tablets are recommended, if the questionnaire’s structure contains many switches and logical links, because a programmed questionnaire will automatically lead the interviewer to a question required. The tablet allows to make an audio recording of the interview, video records and photos, as well as to determine interviewer’s location.
We recommend holding mini focus groups with 4-5 participants for achievement of the best result. If a small number of respondents are involved in the discussion, knowledge and opinion of each participant can be used very effectively; moreover, you have a better control over respondents and can discuss in a greater detail each issue actively involving all group participants.
The central office of MAR Consult has an in-house, technologically advanced focus group facility: groups can be monitored behind the mirror and broadcasted online.
The Moderators ofUnit have vast experience of holding focus groups, creative groups, expert interviews in medicine and pharmaceutics.
If it is necessary to hold groups in regional cities, an in-house moderator is involved (employee of the central office goes on a business trip). Regional contractors can also be involved, but only those who already have shown their professionalism in previous projects.
The moderator is directly responsible for analytical work and report development, thus, the quality of data and recommendations remain at the high level.
If we need to receive information either from top-level officials, or discuss sensitive areas, or build a clear decision-making tree and analyze individual, unique cases, we recommend to use the method of in-depth interviews. MAR Consult has experience of holding in-depth interviews with complex target audiences, for instance, chief specialists, key opinion leaders, technical specialists, well-off audiences, administrators working in large medical institutions, relatives and close persons of patients (caregivers), patients with rare or incurable diseases.
MAR Consult offers a set of ethnographic methods in order to immerse oneself in the everyday life of the target audience, understand in-depth needs, values, beliefs that influence motives and trigger purchases, the specifics of using the target products and so on. Such methods include home visits to consumers, visits to the working place – to consumers, doctors, etc., accompanied visits to points of sale (household appliance stores, pharmacies, etc.)
In some cases the Client can participate in the visit, and the report is provided in the format of a video which can be used, among other things, for inspiring colleagues from non-marketing departments.
We also have vast experience of using classical methods, for instance, interprofessional dyads, creative focus groups and workshops, creative sessions, as well as digital format: QualBoards, qualforums, SocialSpace, diary studies.
The information we provide to our Clients is a basis for important managerial decisions determining business efficiency and development.
High quality of data provided is one of the priorities of our company. Accurate data are essential for making deep insights and intelligent recommendations!
The quality control system includes several elements:
Use of “electronic” questionnaires for all types of surveys.
- All telephone surveys are held in a completely automated CATI center located in the central office of MAR Consult. The operator’s working place is automated: all talks are recorded; data are input in a programmed electronic questionnaire (if the interview is interrupted and respondent asks to call back later, operator can continue to fill out the questionnaire with the respondent from the very place they have stopped at earlier).
- Quantitative surveys performed through method of personal interviews are carried out on tablet PCs. We use a professional software SurveyToGo on our tablets; it allows us to make automatic audio records of interviews, photos and videos during the survey, as well as to monitor interviewer’s location and many parameters of his/her work.
- As for online surveys, we have a specialized server where we post the questionnaires.
- Programming and electronic data quality control manager and project manager check all completed questionnaires (regardless of survey method). If we see mistakes in the questionnaire or wrong answers (for instance, respondent’s misprints), we contact this respondent to clarify the information and correct the data.
- Use of electronic questionnaires in all types of quantitative surveys allows us to minimize interviewers’ errors related to a complex logic of questionnaires, as well as to automatically rotate lists; if necessary, show respondents photo, audio and video materials during the survey.
Compulsory briefing of interviewers before the survey.
The briefing includes the following elements:
- Study of industry specifics, subject of the survey.
- Study of specifics of the target audience to be surveyed.
- Training on correct pronunciation of terms, names of drug and pharmaceutical companies, as well as other “specific” words used in the questionnaire.
- Study of questionnaire logic.
- Evaluation of interviewer’s readiness is checked through “test interview”: project manager acts as a respondent and “plays out” various situations that can happen during the interview.
Analysis of interviewer’s / CATI center operator’s performance.
- Efficiency – number of questionnaires per unit of time (hour, day).
- Average length of one interview.
- Total working hours a day.
- Analysis of these indexes allows to detect interviewers with a “critical” level of efficiency achieved through breaches in survey method.
Listening to audio records of interviews:
- At first, initial interviews of all interviewers involved in the project are listened to. Thus we detect “common” mistakes and correct them and also outline possible changes in the questionnaire or some wordings in it.
- Further on not less than 10% of records of each interviewer are listened to. If mistakes and improper performance are detected, not less than 30% of interviews of this employee are listened to. Based on information obtained from records we make a decision to reject interviews.
- First of all, we listen to records of those interviewers whose performance indexes are in “risk zone” (too high or too low).
Analysis of interviewer’s location:
- During personal interviews the location of an interviewer is detected through a GPS sensor on the tablet, as well as through photos (the tablet automatically makes photos in different, random parts of the questionnaire).
- These data allow us to effectively detect, if interviewers hold interviews in wrong locations during those surveys where it is important (for instance, survey in a specific shopping center, store, medical site).
Comparative analysis of the key survey results:
- For each survey, we choose the key questions to make a comparative analysis of interviewers’ performance or comparison of data of similar studies. For instance, sex and age structure of respondents, income level, brand awareness level, etc.
- If indexes of some interviewer deviate significantly from the average indexes by sample, it is a “signal” to check in a greater detail the quality of performance of this employee.