6 Survey Myths Debunked

Perfect the Gateway Survey to Premium Content

Cut Through the Data Noise - Shine a Light on Real-Time Consumer Sentiment. hotblack | Morguefile

The rules for conducting surveys research have changed. Market researchers will need to run down this parallel track, as well as maintaining their conventional surveys research skills and expertise. Below, we will examine ad debunk six myths of surveys research.

First of all, first things first: According to the new, top of the SERP, Bing dictionary, the definition of debunk is: "To show something to be false: to show that something is wrong or false." To show that something is wrong, the nature of the thing comes into question.

  A myth that is wrong can be an error or a mistake. To show that something is false, some truth (substitute: data) must be used to prove the falsity. While this may seem like a heavy lift, it isn’t really – because Google has provided the data.

Six Surveys Research Myths You Can Ignore

  1. Your information will only be as good as your sampling techniques.
  2. Your questionnaire must be designed very carefully.
  3. It is important to always provide some opportunity for detailed answers.
  4. It is important to set initial criteria for respondent participation.
  5. You must allow respondents to complete surveys when it is convenient.
  6. You must ensure that a great many respondents complete the survey.

Debunking the Myths with Current Successful Practices

Countering Myth # 1. Current sampling techniques represent a broader spectrum of research approaches than ever before. Conventional research sampling strategies are important for certain types of research, such as medical studies and other high-stakes inquiries.

Market research moves fast today, especially when tracking social media activity or on when the research takes place on mobile platforms. The sample that companies get may well consist of all the people online at any given moment.  Or the sample can be automatically restricted to a targeted segment.


Countering Myth # 2. The questions a company asks today may not be the same questions they need to ask or want to ask tomorrow. This is especially true when a so-called questionnaire consists of only one or two questions. The beauty of this model is that questions can be tried out, changed around, eliminated, and refreshed quickly and painlessly. 

Countering Myth # 3. Proponents of qualitative research value in-depth information because it provides the rich, thick data needed to interpret the individual accounts respondents relay. Social media can be linked to company websites and comments can be posted directly on company websites that are configured to accept them. While the data collected via these user-generated activities is not perfect, it can certainly be rich with consumer sentiment.

Countering Myth # 4. Proctor and Gamble (P&G) takes real-time data to great lengths as they conduct market research on the fly.  P&G does an enormous amount of research and the company continually collects and analyzes data.  But they are more focused than ever on tracking and monitoring social media data in the moment.  For do-it-yourself market researchers, real-time data collection does not afford much opportunity to specify initial criteria for respondent participation.

  However, if a DIY market researcher elects to use one of the sophisticated platforms available – such as Google Consumer Surveys – they can segment and target the survey respondents by demographic data.

Countering Myth # 5. The idea of using gateway flash surveys that users must complete in order to access premium content flies in the face of ensuring survey completion is convenient for consumers. Gateway flash surveys also violate the notion that brands should avoid intrusive marketing and advertising if they don’t want to annoy consumers. Gateway surveys are a contemporary version of dangling a carrot just out of reach to increase users’ motivation to answer a question or two and then move on to the content they want to access.

Countering Myth # 6. The use of videos in ethnographic research enables market researchers to rely on a smaller sample size for data collection.

The reason this works so well is that the consumers who produce these videos are accessible to the market researchers. In fact, an ongoing dialoguemay take place the market researchers and the consumers during the ethnographic research.  Firms like Qualvu tackle the multimedia research with ease, hosting the videos and also conducting data analysis. 

Here is more information about how Google Consumer Surveys work.


Easy answers for every business decision. Google Consumer Surveys.

McDonald, R. (2011, November). Inside P&G’s digital revolution. McKinsey Quarterly.