Industry Glossary

Market Research Terms

The glossary below contains over 100 commonly used market research and social research terms. It may be of help in understanding some of the jargon used in our industry. If you have any suggestions about terms that should be added, we would appreciate hearing from you. 


Access Panel:  A group of individuals who have agreed to participate in market research studies.

Acquiescence Bias:  A tendency for respondents to agree with statements without thoughtful consideration.

Ad Hoc Research:  Research conducted on a specific, one-time basis to address a particular problem or question.

Attitude:  An individual's overall evaluation or feeling about a particular topic or object.


Behavioural Observation:  Systematically observing and recording actual behaviour.

Brand Awareness:  The extent to which a brand is recognized by potential customers.

Brand Image:  The perception and associations that customers have with a particular brand.

Brand Loyalty:  The degree to which customers consistently choose a particular brand over others.


CAPI (Computer-Assisted Personal Interviewing):  A method of conducting face-to-face surveys using electronic devices.

CATI (Computer-Assisted Telephone Interviewing):  A method of conducting telephone surveys using computer software.

Churn Rate:  The percentage of customers who stop using a service or product over a specific period.

Cluster Sampling:  A sampling technique where the population is divided into clusters, and a random sample of clusters is selected for research.

Consumer Behaviour:  The study of individuals, groups, and the processes they use to select, secure, use, and dispose of products and services.

Content Analysis:  A research method that involves systematically analysing the content of documents or media.

Convenience Sample:  A non-probability sample obtained by selecting individuals who are easiest to reach.

Convenience Sampling:  A non-probability sampling method where the researcher selects the most readily available participants.

Cross-Tabulation:  A statistical technique used to analyse the relationship between two or more variables.


Data Collection:  The process of gathering data from various sources, such as surveys, observations, or secondary data.

Data Driven Decision Making:  The practice of making decisions based on data analysis rather than intuition or personal experience.

Demographics:  Characteristics of a population, such as age, gender, income, education, etc.

Depth Interview:  A qualitative research method that involves conducting in-depth, one-on-one interviews to gain detailed insights.


Ethnography:  A research method that involves observing and studying people in their natural environments.

Experimental Research:  Cause-and-effect relationships. Manipulates independent variables to observes effect on dependent variables.

Exploratory Research:  Preliminary research conducted to gain a better understanding of a research problem.


Face Validity:  The extent to which a research instrument appears to measure what it is intended to measure.

Face-to-Face Interview:  An interview conducted in person between the interviewer and respondent.

Fieldwork:  The process of collecting data in the field, such as conducting interviews or observations.

Focus Group:  A research method involving a small group of people who participate in a guided discussion about a particular topic.

Focus Group Discussion Guide:  A structured outline used by moderators to guide the flow of a focus group discussion.


Group Dynamics:  The interactions and influences of individuals within a group.


Hypothesis Testing:  Determines if there is a significant relationship between variables or if an observed result is due to chance.


Inferential Statistics:  Techniques used to make predictions or inferences about a population based on sample data.

In-Depth Interview:  Qualitative research method. Conducting detailed, open-ended interviews to explore participants' perspectives.

Informed Consent:  The ethical principle of ensuring participants fully understand the study's purpose and voluntarily agree to participate.

Inter-rater Reliability:  The consistency of ratings or measurements made by different researchers.

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Latent Content Analysis:  Identifying underlying themes and meanings in qualitative data.

Likert Scale:  A survey rating scale that measures agreement or disagreement with statements.

Longitudinal Study:  A research design that follows participants over an extended period to observe changes or developments.


Machine Learning:  A subset of artificial intelligence. Enables computers to learn and improve performance without being explicitly programmed.

Market Intelligence:  Information gathered from various sources to understand market trends, competitors, and customer preferences.

Market Research:  Collecting, analysing, and interpreting data about a market or target audience to inform business decisions and strategies.

Market Segmentation:  The process of dividing a market into distinct groups based on specific characteristics to tailor marketing strategies.

Mixed Methods Research:  A research approach that combines both qualitative and quantitative methods.


Net Promoter Score (NPS):  Measure of customer loyalty and satisfaction based on the likelihood of recommending a product or service.

Non-Probability Sampling:  Sampling methods that do not involve random selection and may lead to biased samples.


Observation:  A research method involving the systematic watching and recording of behaviour.

One-Way ANOVA (Analysis of Variance):  A statistical test used to compare means of three or more groups.

Online Focus Group:  A virtual focus group conducted via video conferencing or online platforms.

Online Panel:  A group of individuals who have registered to participate in online surveys and research studies.

Online Survey:  A survey conducted through the internet, often using a web-based questionnaire.


Panel Research:  Longitudinal research conducted with a fixed group of respondents over time.

Pilot Study:  A small-scale test of a research design and instruments to identify potential issues before conducting the main study.

Pilot Testing:  A preliminary test of research instruments or procedures before the main study.

Population:  The entire group of people or elements under study in a research project.

Pre-Testing:  Testing research instruments with a small group of participants to assess their effectiveness.

Prevalence:  The proportion of a population that has a particular characteristic or condition.

Probability Proportional to Size (PPS):  Sampling where larger segments of the population have a higher probability of being selected.

Probability Sampling:  Sampling methods that involve random selection, allowing for the generalization of results to the larger population.

Projective Technique:  Asks participants to respond to ambiguous stimuli, revealing their subconscious thoughts and feelings.

Psychographics:  The study of consumers' attitudes, beliefs, and values that influence their behaviour and decision-making.

Purposive Sampling:  A non-probability sampling method where participants are selected based on specific criteria.


Qualitative Data:  Non-numeric data that provides insights into attitudes, behaviours, and opinions.

Qualitative Research:  Explores attitudes, opinions, and perceptions in-depth, often through open-ended questions and observations.

Quantitative Data:  Numeric data that can be analysed statistically.

Quantitative Research:  Research that involves numerical data and statistical analysis to identify patterns and trends.

Quasi-Experimental Design:  A research design that lacks random assignment of participants to groups.

Questionnaire:  A structured set of questions used in a survey to collect data.

Quota Sampling:  A non-probability sampling method where the researcher selects participants based on pre-defined characteristics.


Random Assignment:  The random allocation of participants to different groups in an experimental study.

Random Digit Dialing:  A telephone sampling method where random phone numbers are generated and called for surveys.

Random Sampling:  A sampling technique where every member of the population has an equal chance of being selected for the research.

Record Keeping Analysis:  A research method that involves examining historical records or data.

Reliability:  The extent to which a research instrument yields consistent results.

Reliability Coefficient:  A statistical measure of the consistency of a research instrument.

Representative Sample:  A sample that accurately reflects the characteristics of the population it is drawn from.

Response Bias:  A bias that occurs when respondents provide inaccurate or misleading information.

Response Rate:  The proportion of individuals who participate in a research study compared to those invited.


Sample Representativeness:  The extent to which the characteristics of a sample accurately reflect those of the target population.

Sampling Frame:  The list of potential participants from which the research sample is drawn.

Scaling:  The process of assigning numbers or values to responses on a survey questionnaire.

Selection Bias:  A bias that occurs when the method of selecting participants leads to a non-representative sample.

Semantic Analysis:  A research method that focuses on the meanings of words and language.

Semantic Differential Scale:  A survey rating scale that measures the connotative meaning of objects or concepts.

Semi-Structured Interview:  An interview that combines both pre-determined questions and the flexibility to explore additional topics.

Sentiment Analysis:  Determining the sentiment or emotion expressed in textual data, such as social media posts or customer reviews.

Snowball Sampling:  A non-probability sampling method where participants recruit other participants from their network.

Social Research:  Systematic investigation of human behaviour, attitudes, and social phenomena to gain insights into social patterns and trends.

Stratified Sampling:  Sampling technique where population is divided into subgroups (strata), and a random sample is selected from each stratum.

Structured Interview:  An interview with predetermined questions asked in a fixed order.

Survey Instrument:  The tool used to collect data in a survey, such as a questionnaire or interview guide.

Survey Research:  The collection of data by asking questions to a group of people.

SWOT Analysis:  An assessment of a company's strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats to aid in strategic planning.

Systematic Sampling:  A sampling method where every nth individual is selected from a list of the population.


Target Audience:  The specific group of individuals for whom a marketing campaign or research study is designed.

Target Population:  The entire group or population that a research study aims to investigate.

Telephone Interview:  An interview conducted over the phone, typically using CATI.

Telephone Survey:  A survey conducted over the phone, typically using CATI.

Test Market:  A real-world location or group used to test a new product or marketing strategy before a full-scale launch.

Thematic Analysis:  A method of analysing qualitative data by identifying patterns or themes in the responses.

Time Limit Bias:  A bias that occurs when participants' responses are influenced by time constraints.

Time Series Analysis:  The examination of data over a period to identify patterns and trends.

Tracking Study:  A longitudinal study that measures changes over time to monitor trends and outcomes.

Triangulation:  The use of multiple methods or data sources to validate and corroborate research findings.

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Unstructured Interview:  An interview that allows participants to provide free-form responses without predetermined questions.