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Author: Kristen Miles is director of insights at Branded Research, San Diego, Calif.

Recently my team set out to conducted research into the nuances of our online panelists’ experiences. We surveyed a representative sample of 1,069 U.S. community members in April 2017. We wanted to know what panelists are doing when they take surveys. What do they love about taking surveys? What frustrates them about the process?

The results bring panelists to life and provide actionable insights for designing more compelling and engaging research. Here’s our Top 10 insights for providing a high-quality experience for survey panelists:

  1. Think of panelists as people: Panelists should not be viewed simply as data points. The personal experience of the panelist as a real person with a real life must be considered when conducting research.
  2. Respect their voices: Panelists genuinely care about voicing their opinions through the surveys they take. Research should be designed to respect the time and effort panelists put into voicing their opinions.
  3. More rewards, faster rewards: Panelists are motivated to take more surveys by receiving additional rewards and faster payouts. Ensuring fair and timely compensation is key to keeping panelists excited about survey-taking.
  4. Keep it short: Long survey length is the top survey-taking frustration for panelists, with approximately 40 percent citing lengthy surveys as their primary pain point. Conducting shorter, streamlined surveys reduces survey-taking barriers for panelists.
  5. Pay attention to time of day: Panelists have preferences about when they take surveys throughout the day. Evening is the most popular time of day to take surveys, followed by afternoon. It is important to be conscious of time preferences when launching surveys.
  6. Device usage matters: Many surveys aren’t optimized for mobile, driving survey-takers to their laptops and desktops. As a result, about 70 percent of panelists use laptops or desktop computers most often to take surveys. However, mobile represents a sizable and growing share of device usage with one-in-five panelists using their mobile devices most often to take surveys. Among younger generations, the rate of mobile survey-taking is even higher. Almost one-in-three Millennials use their mobiles most often to take surveys. Improving user experience on mobile is key for capturing Millennial panelists.
  7. Spread the love: Three-quarters of panelists are members of multiple survey communities. Because of this, panelists are adapting to different survey-taking experiences with different providers. A simple and straightforward experience ensures panelists will be successful in taking surveys across communities.
  8. Compelling topics: Panelists are most engaged on surveys about shopping, restaurants, health and lifestyle. On the other hand, panelists are least engaged on surveys about financial and automotive topics. While survey topics are predetermined based on the goals of the study, being aware of the survey topics that are most interesting to panelists helps with successful design.
  9. More capacity: The majority of panelists have capacity to take more surveys. Only 2 percent of panelists indicate they don’t have enough time to take more surveys. And most panelists take surveys for at least 15 minutes at any one time, indicating they are likely taking multiple surveys when they dedicate time.
  10. Capitalize on high panelist engagement levels: The majority of panelists take surveys on a daily basis. This consistent interaction and engagement makes our community members better survey-takers who provide meaningful insights and opinions.

By Kim Bergman

What do you want to know? Writing effective screeners.

To much to do, to much distraction, to little time; that’s become a mantra for us all.  Our frustrations and distraction levels keep pace with the continuing increase in demands for our attention; by the way, there is an ultimate boil over point for each of us.

Please allow me a moment to remind you of some basic things and be encouraged you to apply make them a habit again.

There are few things if initially gotten wrong, can be corrected.  That’s good news, isn’t it?

Secondly, writing effective screeners is more a process of collaboration and discussion than it is actual writing abilities. More good news, right?

If we agree on the above, I think we can agree that having a tried and true process of Writing effective screeners a foundational building block culminating in the research simply giving us more stuff or giving our clients what they need to make sound decisions.

An effective screener is a conversation between you, the researcher and the respondents

Writing good screener questions requires good questionnaire design skills

It’s important to talk with clients; ask relevant questions and listen, listen, listen, in order to find out what their real objectives of the study are.

Design screener questions to:

  • Be easy to understand
  • Straighforward to the respondent.  In other words, the question is worded in language that is unambiguous.
  • Ask qualifying questions at the beginning of the screener.
  • Be meaningful to the true research objectives
  • Weed out unqualified respondents quickly

Taking the time to pretest the effectiveness of each question saves time, frustration, and money.

Please let me know if you have ideas which will be helpful to share with others.

By Kim Bergman

Punishment or Personal Responsibility?

I recently watched a documentary “(Dis) Honesty: The Truth About Lies” and realized we as market researchers, can increase the honest and accurate responses from our participants.

The film suggests asking participants to recall the 10 commandments.  This simple exercise eliminated cheating in all participants regardless of religious belief or affiliation.

Why don’t we add a moral question or statement of personal responsibility at beginning of all of our studies?  How simple.  The alternative has proven to be destructive.

Punishing “bad” behavior has been the norm in most societies for 100’s of years.  This approach doesn’t do anything to curb wrongdoing.  Evidence indicates quite the opposite.

For example, in the United States of America, the state prison inmate population has increased 700% since the 1970’s while the overall citizen population has increased a mere 60%.  The average cost to each taxpayer for housing one prisoner in a state prison is about $32,000. These figures are state prison populations only and do not take into account local and federal correction facilities.

It’s estimated that in the USA, $1,000,000, millions or one trillion dollars are paid in bribes and $270 billion of income is not reported each year.

The 2015 cost of retail theft was around $60 billion dollars.  Retailers pass on these losses to the consumer by raising the price of goods and services.

Equally important is the social cost of dishonesty.  As our moral expectations of each other decrease, unethical behavior increases.

“Insights from the growing field of moral psychology and behavioral ethics show that people care about morality”.  Further, “…most people make an effort to resist temptation and try to behave honestly (Aquino & Reed, 2002)“.

According to the psychological model of dishonesty, people are caught between a rock and a hard place—that is, between the temptation to profit from unethical behavior and the desire to maintain a positive moral image of themselves. This internal conflict—creates severe psychological tension and threatens people’s self-concept and moral identity (Ayal & Gino, 2011; Barkan, Ayal, Gino, & Ariely, 2012).


By inserting subtle ques into our surveys that encourage moral behavior, we will begin to reverse the downward spiral of the society in which we live.

At a minimum, reminding people of the benefits of honesty will actually improve personal accountability and trustworthiness.


Film – “(Dis) Honesty: The Truth About Lies” –

The Dishonesty Project –

Three Principles to REVISE People’s Unethical Behavior –

The self-importance of moral identity –

Honest rationales for dishonest behavior –

The pot calling the kettle black: Distancing response to ethical dissonance –,ayal,gino,ariely_the-pot-calling-the-kettle.pdf?sequence=1

The Price of Prisons, What Incarceration Costs Taxpayers –

Jack L. Hayes International’s 28th Annual Retail Theft Survey –

By Kim Bergman

EU-US Privacy Shield Certification; We Must Comply

If your organization conducts business in the European Union, this information is imperative.

The new EU-US Privacy Shield Certification replaces the Safe Harbor Agreement and is awarded by the US Department of Commerce.

Did you know that if you hire a data collection agency that does not conform to the rules and regulations from each country research is conducted, you can be liable for the infringements?

Here is a link to the fact sheet:

Here is the link to begin the process:


By Kim Bergman

Thank you to Market Researchers Everywhere

I am  grateful to be in an industry with people who generally love their job.  Of course, we all have parts of our jobs we don’t like but overall it’s obvious to me that the vast majority of market researchers like what they do.  The loyalty of people who enter market research and stay in market research for the long haul is remarkable.

I became a part of the market research industry only 5+ years ago; have been welcomed by my peers and continue to grow and learn from each of you.

This is my humble thank you for loving what you do because that love results in really good work for our clients.

Thank you to each of you for jobs well done.

By Kim Bergman

Worldwide Market Research, Inc., is looking for a Sales & Marketing Intern.



This is a virtual office position

The Market Research Sales & Marketing Intern is responsible for achieving sales and/or profitability objectives, typically from new accounts. In meeting their objectives, the Sales & Marketing Intern will develop, research, and execute a plan for acquiring new business and growing and deepening relationships with existing clients.
Training is provided.

This position can grow and evolve based on Sales & Marketing Intern’s interests and abilities



Finding and developing relationships with new clients
Possibly some project management
The responsibilities will depend on Sales & Marketing Intern’s interests and abilities
Computer with internet access


High level thinking skills and ability to articulate and execute this “out of the box” thinking.
Teachable attitude
Personal and professional integrity
Ability and desire to work independently

See job posting on

By Kim Bergman

Are the Costs Worth the Risks?

This is a cautionary tale dear reader.

In the current global economic climate, the pressure to cut costs is alarming.  Beware and resist the temptation.  The consequences aren’t worth it.

Over the past couple of years, I’ve noticed an increase in the number of new panelist companies offering their services as “low cost”.  Low cost for anything as the leading reason to buy always raises red flags for me, particularly in the much commoditized online research world.

Because of the implications inherent in market research, the price-service-quality paradigm is best not ignored.  We’ve all had to “clean up” messes created by surrendering to the pressure of low cost.  The cost in dollars is minimal compared to the long-term cost in reputation and trust which can be catastrophic. 

Resist, dear friend, resist!

Feedback welcome.


By Kim Bergman

announcing specialty panel building and management

Worldwide Market Research, Inc.., (Worldwide MR) announced today the  addition of a new service,  specialty panel building and management.  Small and mid-sized business, scientific, and research associations have had few cost-effective choices in reaching their audiences for market research.  Working with a team of partners, Worldwide MR has developed feasible solution to build and manage specialized panels,  creating potential for a new revenue stream for our clients, domestically and internationally.

“We are fulfilling a need small and midsized organizations have to reach their specialized audiences in an affordable way,” said Kim Bergman, President at Worldwide Market Research, Inc., “By providing small scale customization to reach smaller audiences, we are helping our clients get the information they need to make profitable business decisions..”

Incorporated in 2013, Worldwide MR is an innovative market research company with the corporate structure to customize solutions for their clients.  As a boutique company, their flexibility, creativity, and culture of people talking to people continues to improve their clients bottom line.  For more information on Worldwide Market Research, Inc., please email: or visit:

By Kim Bergman

Get What You Need

Sometimes we get client requests that just are not possible.  Because our panels are located within the country of origin, we have knowledge of the subtle differences in customs, ideas and social behavior.

Here are some real examples:

  • Asking women in Saudi Arabia about their driving habits –  it’s illegal for women to drive in Saudi Arabia.
  • Asking about Google, Facebook, and Twitter in China – China has banned Twitter, Facebook and severely limited Google.
  • Targeting job titles used in the United States are not the same in other countries.  Using job descriptions and job responsibilities as a targeting criteria provides more accurate results.
  • Don’t ask a man in Mexico household income, it’s rude in Mexico.
  • 95% of Australian companies have no more than 20 employees.

With this information our clients were able to make changes to their questionnaires before getting into field which saved them money and helped them get the results they needed.




By Kim Bergman

Keep Their Attention – Online Studies

When conducting any market research, a key to success is keeping the participant interested enough to provide thoughtful responses.  As we know, our ability and desire to focus on any given task at any given time is limited.  How do we keep their attention AND get the responses we need?  Following are some of the proven ways to get the results you need.

1)  What Is Most Important – Invest in time and resources to determine what you really need to know from each study.  By first knowing the reason you’re conducting the research,  every question can be written to help you achieve your objective.  

2)  Demographics – When you know your objective, determining who your target audience is and how large it should be will follow.  

3)  Simple/Concise/Direct Language – Word questions as if you’re the one being asked.   Respondents are people with busy, distracted lives just like you and me. Word questions in simple, concise,       direct language without using bias.

  • Remember to word the question in an objective/unbiased way.  For example,  
    • A leading question – “How would you rate the legacy of the great President Abraham Lincoln?”   
    • An objective question – “How would you rate the legacy of President Abraham Lincoln?”

4)  Test The Survey – A good rule of thumb here is to sample about 10% of  your total targeted audience in order to determine if you’re getting the results you need.  

5)  Follow-up Surveys – The responses you get from your initial study may result in needing to know more information.  Let participants know on the initial study they may receive follow up questions.  This is your opportunity to dive deep.  Dive deep within reason.

Final thought, keep every task  focused on your objective.

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announcing specialty panel building and management