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The survey terminology you need to know for conducting market research

When you run market research, you’ll likely encounter terms that seem complicated—like margin of error, implicit data, or the qualification rate.

Don’t get intimidated! You can become fluent in market research survey terminology by simply understanding the terms we define in this page.

We’ve also made this survey glossary page more digestible by categorizing every word in one of the following buckets: “General survey terminology,” “Market research terminology,” and “Types of market research.” So if you already know the type of survey terminology you’re interested in learning, feel free to skip over to its section!

Our ultimate guide to performing market research can get you started!

Let’s start by brushing up on more broadly-applicable survey jargon:

  • Open-ended question: A type of question that asks the respondent for an answer in their own words.
  • Closed-ended question: A type of question that asks the respondent to select an answer (or multiple answers) from a predefined set of choices.
  • Loaded question: A survey question that forces the respondent to provide an answer they don’t necessarily agree with because there isn’t a complete set of answer options.
  • Leading question: A survey question that influences the respondents’ answers by injecting an opinion(s) or an assertion(s) into the prompt.
  • Double-barrelled question: A prompt that asks two separate questions but requires a single answer.
  • Survey logic: Dynamically changes the question(s) or survey page(s) a respondent sees next based on the answer(s) they provide.
  • Page skip logic: Enables you to automatically send respondents to a specific survey page after they hit the “Next” button on the page they’re on.
  • Question skip logic: Allows you to skip respondents to a later page, or a specific question on a later page, based on their answer to a previous closed-ended question.
  • Advanced branching: Helps you tailor your survey’s behavior based on multiple conditions.
  • Completion rate: The percentage of people who complete your survey out of those who started it.
  • Response rate: The percentage of people who respond to your survey.
  • Drop-outs: Respondents who leave your survey without completing it.
  • Fielding: When your survey is in the process of collecting responses.
  • Top 2 Box Score: A way of summarizing the positive responses from a Likert scale survey question by combining the highest 2 responses of the scale to create a single number.

Got these terms down pat? Good. Let’s build on this foundation by diving into market research survey terminology.

Here’s a comprehensive list of all the market research terminology you should know:   

  • Market research: The process of collecting information on consumers’ behaviors and preferences, category trends, and/or competitive intelligence.
  • Online panel: A group of people recruited to take online surveys or participate in market research.
  • Sample: A subset of the population you’re targeting.
  • Sample size: The number of completed survey responses. A sample size can also be referred to as a “base size.”
  • Feasibility: A panel provider’s ability to source enough panelists to meet your study's targeting criteria.
  • Screening question: A survey question that qualifies or disqualifies respondents from taking your survey—depending on their answer.
  • Qualification rate (also known as incidence rate): The percentage of respondents who make it through your screening questions and go on to take your survey.
  • Explicit data: Information that is directly provided as part of a research study.
  • Implicit data: Data detailing actions or transactions that is collected in an always-on, passive way.
  • Margin of error: An indicator of how closely your sample results represent the entire population you’re targeting. It’s the possible range of values above and below the response you get from a given sample.
  • Statistical significance: Shows whether one group's answers are substantially different from that of another group by using statistical testing.
  • Weighting: An adjustment technique used after data has been collected to make sure the demographic profile of your respondents matches your population.
  • Balancing: The distribution of demographic buckets (e.g. age, gender) in your survey sample and is specified when you target your audience.

Your survey and market research vocabulary is looking strong! Let’s wrap up our list of terms by reviewing the different types of market research you can run.

Here are the top categories of market research, and the types of research you can conduct for each:

  • Agile market research: An approach to conducting market research in which projects are structured in small, frequent “sprints” so you can adapt to challenges on the fly.
  • DIY market research: When organizations do their own market research using self-service tools, like survey platforms and online survey panels.
  • Full-service market research: When an organization pays a vendor to conduct market research for them.
  • Primary research: When you collect new research or information.
  • Secondary research: The gathering, consolidation, and summarization of data and research that already exists.
  • Qualitative research: The process of exploring and collecting unstructured information— like text, images, audio, and video—and summarizing the findings into themes.
  • Quantitative research: The process of gathering structured, numerical data and using statistical analysis (anything from simple averages to predictive analytics) to make sense of it.

Congrats! Now that you’ve read through our survey glossary page, you’ll be able to perform  more thoughtful and effective market research. Plus, as you apply these terms, you might just impress those around you.

SurveyMonkey Audience has the panel you need to run first-class market research!