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Glossary of Market Research Terms – P
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Paid survey:

Paid surveys are marketing research studies for which the panellists are paid for their participation. The payments can be made either in cash or gifts or entry into contests with different prizes, depending upon the company policies. The amounts and modes of payments also differ from company to company, and from study to study conducted by the same company.


Panel is a group of people from different demographic sections who regularly participate in many marketing research studies. They participate in many surveys conducted over longer durations of time. These respondents usually participate in studies for the associated incentives. The panels are usually very diverse and are used for various types of surveys. There are specialty panels also, which are generally a group of people with similar demographic configurations.

Personal interview survey:

It is a survey conducted by personally interviewing the respondent in a one-on-one situation. These are mainly qualitative studies involving only the moderator or interviewer and a single respondent.


Polls are mainly short surveys aimed at collecting opinions of the respondents. These are generally used to gather quick opinions about certain aspects of a product or service. Also they are very frequently used during elections to gather public opinions and inclinations towards certain candidates.

Pop-up is a window that opens up automatically while surfing the Internet. These normally present all of a sudden and tend to block the previously opened page. They are used frequently by advertisers to display their products and services. They are also used by marketing research organizations to conduct short on-the-spot surveys.

Privacy Policy:

Each marketing research website adheres to certain privacy policies, which are aimed at providing security to the personal data of the panellists. These are listed on the “Privacy Policy” section of the website and explain the privacy rights clearly regarding data collection, data storage, data usage and accessibility to the data.

Prize draw:

Some companies hold prize draws for respondents of surveys. Prizes may be in the form of cash or a variety of gifts. Each participant who has successfully completed a survey is entered into a pool and winners are chosen. Some sites clearly display the percentage or odds of winning. The prize draws may be held as the only incentives for participation in surveys or in addition to other individual incentives.


Prizes are the incentives won in the prize draws. These may be in cash or a variety of gifts.

Product Concept Testing:

This is the study conducted by pre-testing a product with a group of potential consumers before launching the product in the marketplace. Most common type of product testing is done by letting the consumers try out the product at their place of residence for certain duration of time. This is called at-home testing or product placement study.

Product tester:

Product testers are the respondents who agree to test a certain product before its launch.


Personal information of the panellists given by them at the time of registration into the panel is called profile information. This is matched with the survey requirements to select the potential respondents for a certain study through the process of recruitment.

Packaging Tests:

Packaging Tests are the tests conducted on packaging designs and materials for the purpose of market research in order to suggest better, more feasible and less expensive packaging designs, materials and strategies.

Paired Comparison:

Paired Comparison is an evaluation of two products that are given values based on set criteria as means of comparing the two items. Many product attributes can be scrutinised under paired comparisons for developing better understanding of them. These are done usually to compare the product attributes of the company with those of competitors’.

Paired Depths:

Paired Depths are referred to in-depth interviews conducted with two respondents at the same time. This technique is often used when the main respondent is a child who is interviewed with a parent or friend to lessen the apprehension of the interview situation; or when two children are interviewed together. In some situations, it is seen that the responses can become biased so additional care needs to be taken. These interviews are generally conducted by highly trained and skilled interviewers.


A panel is a group of respondents participating in multiple surveys over an extensive period of time. These respondents voluntarily participate in the market research projects usually in return for some incentives. Panels can be of many types. Some of them are specialty panels only for professionals like doctors, executives, lawyers, techies, and people from younger generation and others. Specialty panels are used for specialized studies. General panels are for normal consumers and are used for wider research needs.

Pantry Check:

Pantry Check is an audit conducted by the respondent of a specialized study. The respondent is requested to create an inventory of the products and brands found in their kitchen pantry or refrigerator. This data is used later and helps in preventing corruption of the research study because it does not completely rely on the respondent’s memory.

Paper and Pencil Interviewing (PAPI):

Paper and Pencil Interviewing (PAPI) is a conventional method of survey. In this the respondents fill out a physical paper questionnaire, which is administered by an interviewer.


Paradata is the general information about the research process. It includes time and date of interviews, duration of interviews or the entire study, number of questions answered, number of errors, length of text used in open-ended questions and other similar information. Maintenance of this information makes the research process more efficient and streamlined.


Participant is a person volunteering to be involved in a survey, focus group, or any other market research study. He or she is also referred to as a subject, unit, experimental unit, unit of analysis, or respondent.

Past Participation:

Past Participation is the process where the respondents who have participated earlier in some research studies are excluded from further participation. Some researchers opine that such participants are unsuitable for research studies of the same topic during a particular time frame. This process can remove potential bias and repetition of responses can also be curtailed, which invariably corrupt the study results.

People Reader:

This is the ability to document a participant’s reading material as well as their eye reaction at the same time by using a machine.

Per Capita Income:

Per Capita Income is the average income per unit of an entire population. This is computed by dividing the total income of a country by its total population.

Permission Based Research:

Permission Based Research is the research where only the people who have agreed to be contacted are reached out to participate in research studies. This list is expanded by also including the people who have not disagreed to be contacted. Most companies follow this process so as to not disturb the consumers unnecessarily without their permission.


Phone-Mail-Phone is a research methodology where the respondent is contacted initially by phone. Thereafter they are sent a lengthy questionnaire through the mail. When the respondent completes the questionnaire they are contacted by phone again and the responses are collected. This is a lengthy process and is used only where the research requirements absolutely demand it. Also it is a good method because enough ‘stroking’ is done to boost the morale of the respondent.

Photo Sort:

Photo Sorting is a study methodology used for collecting customer perceptions about a certain product or service. In this technique the respondents are given pictures of several different people and are asked to associate them with the products or services that they think might be used by them.

Physical Control:

Physical Control is the maintenance of the consistency of extraneous variables throughout the duration of a study so as to prevent these variables from affecting the final outcome.


Pilot is the preliminary research conducted before the commencement of the actual study. This is done in order to assess project logistics like the sample size, methodology, procedure, time involvement and expenditure. The aim of a pilot study is to streamline the actual research for improvement in accuracy and efficiency.

Placement Interview:

Placement Interview is a study where a participant is given a product to use and test in a PMSA (primary metropolitan statistical area).


Population is the entire set of subjects that an experiment is attempting to identify. Usually samples of the population are used to represent a population because owing to the large size, it is next to impossible to collect information from each unit or subject in a population.


Portal is a web interface for users to login and access information pertaining to a certain website. Services offered in portals include news, links, email, articles, audios and videos, advertising, and entertainment possibilities.


Positioning is basically the presentation of a product or service to a certain segment of the population. It is the way in which a product or service is introduced to its target market audience. This includes pricing, packaging, prestige, brand identity, store placement, customer perception of the product or service as opposed to that of the competitors’.

Post Hoc Segmentation:

Post Hoc Segmentation is dividing the markets using empirical data to be able to identify different segments within those markets.


Pre-Coding is a technique of computing the data received during an interview. This is done before the interviewing process. Computer codes are created and added to the questionnaire in order to accelerate the processing of data of the respondent’s answers.

Pre-Experimental Design:

Pre-Experimental Design is a research design that is set and does not have control over extraneous factors.

Pre-Recruited Central-Location Test:

Pre-Recruited Central-Location Test is an interview located at a location that is convenient for the participants. The participants are contacted and qualified or pre-screened before the actual process of the interview.


Pre-Test is an evaluation of a questionnaire prior to its distribution for the research process. The survey can be sent to a smaller test sample to ensure that questions are comprehended correctly and the responses generated are sufficiently clear.

Primary Research:

Primary Research is the research conducted in which new data is collected through the usage of fresh methodologies in order to solve a marketing information discrepancy or to resolve a strategic situation.

Primary Sampling Units:

Primary Sampling Units are the geographic units that are decided to be covered under the scope of a survey.

Product Concept Testing:

Product Concept Testing is testing of a particular product with a consumer group before the product is actually placed in the market. This technique gives a fair idea of how the product may fair in actual usage conditions and how well it would be adapted by the consumers.


Probing is a process where follow-up questions are asked to clarify the respondents intentions behind answering a certain question in a certain way. This process also verifies the correctness of answers given by the respondents. This method is used in both quantitative and qualitative research methodologies.

Product Placement Study:

Product Placement Study is a study in which the actual consumers are recruited as respondents who volunteer to try the products in their own homes. They are then asked questions either through a written survey, phone interview or face-to-face interview. The consumers use the product in their daily life just as they would normally use any other product. Since this is a study conducted outside a lab setting, it is a kind of field study. It is also called a product test.

Product Positioning Research:

Product Positioning Research is the study performed to measure how brands are perceived compared by the customers based on many attributes and dimensions. This study is essential so that a product can be placed as per the cost and other brand factors and can be properly positioned in a target market.

Product Pricing Research:

Product Pricing Research studies the consumers’ sensitivity to a range of prices for a particular product. This gives an idea about how to price the products in a certain way so that it is best acceptable by the customers, at the same time doing enough justice to the brand.

Product Prototype Tests:

Product Prototype Tests are the tests conducted on the basic preliminary samples or the archetypal samples of the final products made. They are made in order to determine how target consumers would react to early editions of new products.

Professional Respondent:

Professional Respondent is a term associated with respondents who participate often in market research studies with different companies. They mostly participate in research studies for the incentives rather than truly contributing to the marketing research efforts. Generally the companies do not encourage these respondents because their opinions tend to corrupt the research results.

Programmatic Research:

Programmatic Research is the study performed for better understanding more efficient marketing processes by looking at market segmentations, conducting opportunity analysis, and consumer attitudes and product usage studies.


Projectability is the application process of adjusting the research results derived from the study of the samples and applying them by extending them so that they apply to the entire population. This process assumes and deduces that the sample was a true representative of the population.


Projective Techniques are the techniques used in focus groups or interviews to stimulate the creative thinking process of the participants. Through these techniques the respondents are encouraged to enhance their level of participation and accuracy of responses. Some techniques are sentence completion, expressive drawing, word associations, dialogue completion and others.

Proportional Allocation:
Proportional Allocation is a study where the proportions between the sample, stratum and population are maintained. The study is conducted with a sample wherein a proportion is maintained between the sample and the size of the stratum and between the sizes of the stratum compared to the size of the population.

Proprietary Research:

Proprietary Research is the market research that is owned exclusively by the client for whom the research is conducted.


Psychographics is the research process that is targeted to explain why the consumers behave in the way they do. Research is conducted by observing and analysing the personality traits and values. This is a kind of lifestyle research.

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