Market research surveys: The complete guide

Good market research survey questions

What are market research surveys?

Market research surveys are questionnaires that are designed to collect responses on a desired subject. As a market research tool, questionnaires help discover insights on business interests by asking the right survey questions. They usually target consumers in order to understand purchasing behavior, interests, and expectations. Surveys can also be conducted for academic purposes and studies.

A market research survey seeks to understand a certain “pattern” in a given market. Markets can be segregated based on geography, age, gender, and other demographics depending on the nature of the study. This “pattern” provides insight into future trends using Trend analysis, Conjoint analysis, and Turf analysis.

Key attributes of successful marketing research surveys:

A survey is a set of questions that form a questionnaire. These survey questions are typically answered online. A survey questionnaire can be sent via email, SMS, QR Code, or other electronic platforms to be answered on a web or mobile browser.

Additionally, Mobile Offline App is an exclusive feature of QuestionPro’s market research survey software. The app allows users to capture survey research responses on a mobile or tablet device anywhere. This is ideal in locations that do not have internet connection or suffer from unstable connection.

Good market research survey questions are the most critical part of any market research. Attributes such as language, question type, and answer type help you create customized surveys for research.

What is the best distribution method for your survey to get maximum and complete responses? Will email surveys or a physical tablet/mobile based kiosk be better to collect responses? Does the majority of your target audience own a smartphone for survey links to be sent over SMS?

While email surveys by far remain the most popular form of market research survey questions data collection, B2C businesses are also exploring kiosk-based tablets. These stationary tablets capture live surveys from visiting customers at stores and business events.

For qualitative research, specialized survey portals (such as QuestionPro Communities) are often the choice of businesses who want to generate innovative ideas. These survey portals give respondents options to answer less restrictive and more open-ended questions to pass on ideas.

Survey analysis, which subsequently leads to market analysis, is the most critical aspect of any market research study. Companies in the past have been prone to using Excel sheets for graphs and diagrams from survey data. Now, there is a rapid transition to in-built market research survey software platforms that automatically provide live survey analytics, all in real-time!

QuestionPro features the complete set of analytics features - Trend analysis, Turf analysis, Gap analysis, Conjoint analysis, MaxDiff analysis, Text analysis and Strategic analysis (SWOT analysis)!

Your survey report is the complete set of conclusions drawn from survey analysis. This includes what the current trend is and what projections appear to be. A good survey report forms a complete thesis based on the market research survey objectives and survey data analysis.

You can use these reports to better utilize the collected survey data. Reports streamline the processing of your survey results. This leaves you with more time to innovate and implement process, products, and services based on the needs of your target respondents.

How to conduct a survey for market research

Conducting a successful research survey and its subsequent survey analysis requires thorough planning and structuring. Here are some key steps to follow while conducting marketing research surveys:

Set iron-clad and clear objectives for your survey. Your survey is only as good as its market research survey questions. Those questions should define the objective of your research.

In order to identify the kind of audience you want to target with a market research survey, you and your team need to answer two primary questions:

Which geographic region will you be targeting for your research? (If you are targeting multiple geographies with different primary languages, you will need to make use of multi-language surveys.)

What are the qualifying parameters for a respondent to answer your survey? (Such as age, gender, income, job title, purchasing preference etc.)

Survey creation today is done almost exclusively using online survey tools. There are several reasons why online surveys have quickly taken over paper-based surveys. One is that exponentially fast survey creation leads to more time available for sending surveys and analyzing survey data.

QuestionPro offers a complete suite of survey creation options with over 250+ ready-made and mobile friendly survey templates. Our advanced and standard survey question types allow you to customize surveys for specific demographics. Meet branding requirements with brand personalization, survey theme, and survey design customizations. Powerful logic and branching options help keep respondents engaged and lower drop-out rates.

Survey distribution methods vary based on the survey creation platform. For instance, using QuestionPro you can send your survey using both online and offline methods. Distribute customized online surveys through email, SMS, or QR Code. Collect data from offline respondents using Tablet/Mobile based Kiosk and our Offline Mobile App.

You can also instantly buy respondent data to send your surveys with QuestionPro Audience.

Receiving your survey data in real-time is easy with platforms like QuestionPro. Market research survey platforms also make survey analysis much faster. Manual survey data updates and analysis are usually done using Excel sheets. While manual survey processing is possible, it requires additional man-power and time.

Conducting specialized market analysis for the best insights requires methods such as Turf and conjoint analysis. All survey analysis methods are real-time and automated in QuestionPro.

Why should you conduct a market research study for your business?

Businesses in particular need to conduct market research surveys for successful ventures.

This means getting viable information on the 4 “P”s of any business :

Understanding customer behavior around the nature of your product, customer service, product enhancement vs price implications, functionality, and look and feel of products and services.

A good market research survey provides businesses with insights on what will be the most profitable way to position their product in the market. Your business can get a competitive edge over existing competition through creative product placements. Discover the ideal placements with customized surveys and market research.

Nothing dictates a product’s journey more than its price. How much are potential consumers willing to pay for a new feature? Will decreasing your product price give you a sales boost? Will improving functionality increase sales? These questions can only be answered by directly and exclusively reaching out to your audience through market research surveys.

Finally, all the above add up to how you intend to promote your product line - whether through organic or paid promotions. Insights collected from research surveys play a critical role in understanding what type of language and highlights will work best in promotions. This why successful businesses conduct thorough market analysis through research studies before pushing for a major marketing, promotional or advertising drive.

Types of market research - Market research survey methods: qualitative and quantitative research

Qualitative market research

A qualitative market research study focuses around collecting un-structured or semi-structured data from the target research respondents. The information collected from these types of studies can then be used to derive market insights.

Common methods used for successful qualitative market research:

Focus groups

Focus group-based qualitative research usually involves getting a few people for a face-to-face group discussion on a certain subject. Questions are usually based on what-if scenarios around a certain product or subject of interest.

Physical focus groups are becoming more and more obscure with the rise in platforms like Communities. Online portals allow both data collection and market analysis to be completed in a single online platform.

On-call interviews

One of the successful and still widely used qualitative research methods is conducting on-call interviews. This method is mostly used when the respondent is a business leader or senior official. This allows the researcher to “open-up” the conversation such that the research sounds more like a conversation. The survey usually spans across a number of topics of interest, and feels less like a questionnaire.

Innovation research

Innovation research, also referred to as innovation games, are specialized focus group studies where the final goal is to crowd-source innovative ideas. Platforms like communities have made it possible for businesses to conduct such qualitative research remotely and tap into global respondents. This allows organizations to get the best ideas from the best minds without the barrier of physical presence.

Advantages of qualitative market research :


Given that qualitative market research by nature is conducted at a smaller scale than quantitative survey-oriented research studies, they are relatively much cheaper.

In-depth insights

Due to the open-nature of qualitative research and the freedom of the researcher to dive deeper on any subject of interest, these studies have the potential to provide deep insights to ven minute aspects of the research.


The same nature of qualitative research that offers in-depth insights, is also responsible for the great flexibility they possess. This gives the researcher the ability to identify sub-topics of interest as the conversation proceeds with the respondents and dive deeper.

Answering the "Why"

Qualitative market research is a popular option when the objective of the research is to find answers to “why.” Politely pressing respondents to answer key questions gives businesses the causes behind occurrences, events. or actions.

Quantitative market research

Quantitative market research surveys is used by organizations and researchers to conduct market research studies through structured questionnaires and utilizes statistical survey data analysis methods to derive meaningful and actionable insights.

Once conducted through pen and paper responses, today quantitative research makes use of advanced market research survey software platforms. Online platforms add additional value to the quality of surveys, responses and insight.

Here are some of the attributes of quantitative market research surveys :

Survey questions

While survey questions may appear to be simplistic, there are great details to them. Single select questions, multiple-choice questions, and rating scale questions give you options when creating your survey. There are also several types of scales and questions, such as the Semantic Differential Scale, Likert Scale, and Dichotomous question-type.

QuestionPro’s survey platform provides a vast range of survey question and question-types, both standard and advanced.

Moreover, to make it simpler for a researcher to create surveys, there are over 250 ready-made survey templates to simply select, edit and send!

Survey design

Survey design refers as much to the look and feel of the survey, as much as it does to the logic and branching techniques used in the survey. The idea of a good survey design is to make survey questions more precise for the respondents. This must be done with consistent branding and personalization to make these online surveys visually appealing.

Survey distribution

Today email surveys dominate survey sending and distribution methodologies, however, kiosk-based point-of-sale/event surveys are also becoming popular.

With QuestionPro, you can send or schedule email marketing research surveys alongside QR code, offline mobile data capture app, SMS survey, web intercept surveys, and automated IVR surveys.

Survey collection

Survey collection depends on the method of distribution. Distributing using survey software allows for real-time data collection using platforms like QuestionPro.

Even better, QuestionPro also enables you to live-track survey responses based on who has not started, started but completion is pending and fully completed the survey in a powerful dashboard.

Survey analysis

Survey analytics in quantitative research makes use of powerful methods such as conjoint analysis, Turf analysis and SWOT analysis among others. The application of these analytical methods to get concrete data-oriented insights makes quantitative research a favourite among business and academic researchers.

In QuestionPro’s market research survey software, all analytics are done by the engine in real-time. Advanced analytics programs allow for fully-automated data analysis.

Advantages of quantitative market research surveys:

Fully data-oriented decision making:

Because of the precise nature of quantitative market research surveys, the data and subsequent analysis provides organizations and researchers the ability to make decisions that are fully backed by data.

Zero scope for analytical errors:

If you are using QuestionPro which is a fully package survey software, all the way from creating to analysing market research surveys, there is no scope for analytical errors. All data is computed by the system in real-time and the analytics reports are error-free!

Concrete projections:

Time projections and trends are one of prime reasons for quantitative research methods. Given that data collection and analysis are error-free on a survey software, so are the projections made using the various statistical survey analysis techniques.

Learn more: Marketing surveys

Statistical survey analysis techniques for market analysis

Statistical survey analysis techniques that drive market analysis are primarily done for quantitative research. Here are the most popular and widely used statistical survey analysis methods for market analysis :

TURF stands for Total Unduplicated Reach and Frequency. Market analysis using TURF provides details on aspects such as user frequency and marketing reach without any duplicates, hence giving a real estimate of market potential.

Conjoint analysis is used to understand how different attributes (or features) of a given product or service range in importance to a customer or potential consumer. Conjoint is widely used in modern market analysis given the feature-rich digital products of our time.

MaxDiff analysis is used to understand consumer preference across different attributes. For example - A product’s branding, advertising and features all become attributes for response collective under this type of statistical survey analysis technique. MaxDiff analysis has some similarities to conjoint analysis, however it is much simpler to implement and use.

Gap analysis typically is used to measure actual performance vs desired performance. This type of statistical market analysis answers the question on what needs to be done to move the needle to a more desired position.

SWOT stands for Strength, Weakness, Opportunities and Threat. A SWOT analysis is a market analysis technique that takes a holistic view of an organization's key strengths and weaknesses from a business standpoint.

Trend analysis is widely used to analyse data over time with the intention of identifying a plottable trend and relationship in the data changes. This trend may then be used to predict future trends in the movement of data.

Cross tabulation is a statistical survey analysis tool that is used for categorical data tabulation. Categorical data involves values that are mutually exclusive to each other.

Text analysis is a technique that researchers implement to arrange and bring structure to unorganized data. Analysis of text in documents or graphics is done to convert it into computer readable language.