Data Collection

Sample Design

Respondents are crucial to the market research process, and a well-defined, accurately screened sample increases the efficiency of the data collection methodology whether it is web-based surveys, telephone surveys, or focus groups. Strategic Marketing & Research, Inc., (SMARI) employs a variety of sampling methodologies to fit any need: random sampling, stratified random sampling, cluster sampling, or systematic sampling.

Questionnaire Design

Questionnaire design is a research skill, and in some ways an art, perfected only through extensive training and experience. SMARI’s staff of experts tailors each survey with many elements in mind: conversational quality, response patterns, minimal bias probability, proper ratings scales, etc.

Mail Surveys

Mail surveys are self-administered questionnaires mailed to respondents’ homes. Familiar to many, this tried and true method offers a number of advantages. Sponsoring companies may include visual materials such as pictures, advertisements, or product samples in the mailed packet.


One-in-four U.S. households now have no landline telephone, according to research by the National Center for Health Statistics. This has implications for surveys, which need to reflect the population being sampled. In many cases a single methodology works to reach the right population – but that isn’t always the case. SMARI’s blended methodology combines traditional phone surveys, which tend to reach an older demographic, with online surveys, which reach a younger and sometimes more critical audience.  For more about this topic, see a report by the Pew Research Center.  SMARI has the knowledge and expertise to help you select the right option for your study.

Web-based surveys

The widespread use of personal computers and the Internet have promoted the rise of web-based data collection methodologies.

E-mail Surveys:

An e-mail invitation containing an automatic link, or URL, is sent to potential respondents. This link instantly transfers them to the actual survey on SMARI’s web server. Respondents can be provided with unique security pass codes. These pass codes also allow us to track the overall response rate. We can easily identify those who have not completed the survey after a predetermined amount of time and send a follow up reminder.

Website pop-up surveys:

Our clients’ websites can serve as valuable tools for determining customer preferences and top-of-mind concerns, or to capture simple demographic information. This can be done through the use of web-based pop-up surveys. SMARI can design a system that causes a small window to “pop up” in a certain site location at a prescribed frequency during a customer or prospective customer visit to a particular website. It will ask the visitor to complete a short survey.

Executive Interviewing

The personal interview has long been held as the standard by which other communication techniques are judged. It provides the ability to show respondents visual materials and to gauge reaction to attributes that are difficult to discuss in the abstract.

Focus Groups

Traditional or online focus groups offer a key advantage whenever detailed opinions and perceptions are needed from research respondents.

Online focus groups:

Bulletin board focus groups or online focus groups occur in real time and across any geography, so they are less expensive and can be pulled together quickly. Text, graphics, sound, and video can be supplied to the participants for evaluation and testing.

In-person focus groups:

SMARI selects focus group participants based on shared characteristics related to the project. These group interactions often stimulate lively discussions and thoughts not typically revealed on a quantitative survey.


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