A Thorough List of Market Research Terms for AEC Marketing Professionals


Completion Rate

The rate at which surveys are completed as compared to the number of surveys started by respondents. To calculate completion rate, divide the number of completes by the number of starts.


Consumer Insights

Valuable information on the preferences, opinions, habits and emotions of your most valuable customers. Consumer insights usually encompass insights related to a product or service.


Control Group

Survey participants can be split into two groups–an experimental group, exposed to a product or service, and a control group that is neutral. A common example is ad effectiveness testing, where researchers can track a respondent’s exposure to an ad through cookies. They then split those who have viewed the ad and those who have not into separate groups, asking the same questions to see how responses differ.



Any information collected by your survey, along with any outside information collected, observed, generated or created in service of your research goals.


Data Cleaning

Removing unqualified, biased or incomplete responses from a survey. This process improves data quality and protects against survey bias.  


DIY market research

Market research conducted using a self-service platform, as opposed to partnering with a market research agency or research consultant. Most DIY market research is conducted in-house to avoid the speed and cost limitations of working with outside entities.  



When a respondent begins a survey and doesn’t complete it. These are also called Starts. Drop-offs are not counted as completes.



Engagement has many meanings. It can refer to a high degree of focus and interest in stimuli. In digital marketing and technology, engagement often refers to metrics surrounding use of platforms, content features or apps (think clicks, time on page, etc). In market research, engagement refers to how users interact with your survey. Does their time spent on each question indicate they are confused or don’t understand how to choose an answer? If so, your completion rate could be impacted.


Feasibility Study

A feasibility study is designed to determine the likely success of a project, product or service. There are many factors that go into a feasibility study, including existing competitors, production limitations, timing, estimated pricing and more. Brands or researchers may conduct feasibility studies to determine the market interest in a new product or service, or even to help determine the feasibility of a future research project.



Fielding refers to the distribution of the survey questionnaire. 


Incidence Rate

Incidence rate is the measure for the rate of occurrence or the percentage of persons eligible to participate in a survey, based on the targeting criteria selected.


Longitudinal Research

Researchers performing a longitudinal study will run the same survey many times over short or long periods in an effort to observe how the opinions, behaviors or habits of the same population change over time. The population can also be randomized to see how time impacts the questions being asked, regardless of population.


Market research

Market research refers to the gathering of consumers’ needs, preferences, habits, behaviors and more in an attempt to better understand a company’s potential customers, brand positioning and potential interest in a product or service.



A panel is a collection of potential respondents who have agreed to take a survey in advance of the survey’s fielding process. These respondents are typically promised some type of incentive in exchange for joining the panel, which would effectively pay them for their time. 



Piping allows researchers to personalize surveys by ‘piping’ an answer from a previous question into a later question. For example, you can ask a respondent their name or occupation on the first question, and then add that name or occupation to future questions to make the questions more personalized.



The population is the total group of respondents who you attempt to survey. If they complete your survey, they become part of your sample.


Primary Data

Primary data refers to the data collected by researchers directly from respondents using surveys, interviews or direct observation.


Primary research

Primary research refers to the methodology of using only data collected directly from respondents, rather than relying on data collected during previous research or from some external source (government agencies, employment records, etc).


Qualitative research

Qualitative survey questions aim to gather data that is not easily quantified such as attitudes, habits, and challenges. They are often used in an interview-style setting to observe behavioral cues that may help direct the questions. 


Quantitative research

Quantitative research is about collecting information that can be expressed numerically. Quantitative research is usually conducted through surveys or web analytics, often including large volumes of people to ensure trends are statistically representative.



Your questionnaire is the list of questions you plan to ask your respondents. There are many different types of survey questions you can ask, depending on your survey goals. 



A respondent is a person who meets your targeting criteria and completes your survey in full.


Response Rate

The response rate is the percentage of the total targeted population who responded to your survey 



Your sample refers to the respondents who matched your targeting criteria and completed your survey.


Sample size

Your sample size is the number of completes your survey receives. Learn More >


Secondary data

Secondary data refers to data that has been collected outside of the bounds of a researcher’s survey, but which the researcher can use to add context. For example, DMV records, national census records and other government information can be used for things like weighting and quotas, or just to show the disparity between perception and reality within a studied population.


Secondary research

Secondary research refers to the summary or synthesis of existing research towards a new research goal. In this practice, previous primary research projects are used as sources.



Segmentation studies seek to separate larger audiences into smaller segments based on similar tastes, interests, perceptions and other secondary factors like education, employment or lifestyle.



In its most basic form, a survey refers to the questionnaire–delivered either in person or online–that a researcher administers in service of a research study.



Targeting refers to the criteria you select to screen potential survey respondents. Once targeting is selected, a population is created and your survey is delivered.


Tracking Study (Tracker)

Tracking studies use the same questionnaire, delivered over time, to track brand awareness, monitor customer satisfaction, study consumer interest in new products or services, analyze the effectiveness of advertising creative and more. Tracking studies may be delivered to the same populations (to gauge how perceptions of the same group changes as time goes on) or different populations to view time as just one factor impacting shifting perceptions.



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