Author: Jenna Hole

Market research has continually been proved as an integral way to understand your market, customers and to keep ahead of the game.However, there are many different methods by which market research could be carried out. Many methods can be seen as important and all have their role when gathering data from the market, so, to help businesses decide what might be the best way to kick-start their personal market research journey’s, we’re going to break down some of the differences between two main methods of market research.



First up, of course, is the classic but effective survey.This involves carefully designed questions presented to a population to gain an understanding of the characteristics of that population.


The main draw of surveys is that they are capable of gathering information from a large number of participants and are incredibly versatile. Indeed, with the opportunity to publish surveys online, huge amounts of data can be gathered and analysed from all sorts of people. This can therefore provide the most genuine representation of the opinions and attitudes of a real population and provides institutions of any kind including businesses, churches, clubs and a host of professions to gather the data they require.  Surveys that provide incentives produce highly accurate and honest answers and the high volume of data is apt for probability sampling techniques. Additionally, they are known as both the most cost-effective method (ROMA surveys offer insight from as little as 75p per customer!) as well as the most time-effective.


A possible weakness that could be attributed to the use of surveys is the lack of validity. Due to the standardised questions that make a survey so reliable, it could be difficult to gain more in depth and complicated answers. However, some survey companies can reduce the impact of this weakness by offering specified user-bases. This means that topics will be able to be discussed in depth whilst maintaining the existing strengths of a survey.  

Casual interview meeting


Interviews are usually with single individuals and are used for in depth discussions on more complicated topics.


They can be the best method for asking and clarifying extremely detailed questions that might be confusing in some other methods.They can also be used for expanding on any feelings or perceptions expressed.


Although very comprehensive, interviews can be extremely time-consuming as they involve finding a time and location for both interviewer and interviewee, as well as transcribing the interview and analysing the interview afterwards. Furthermore, they are one of the costliest methods of market research and can also be highly unreliable and subject to human error. To elaborate, different interviewers may deliver the questions differently and may also understand the answers in dissimilar ways. There is usually only a limited amount of data as a result of interviews and so are often best used in conjunction with another method of data collection.



All methods of data collection are very important to the growth of your business and have varying values at different points along the timeline of your company. The most important thing is connecting with your consumer market via both depth and data volume. However, the use of surveys can gain you a lot of valuable information that can be used to lay the foundations for business plans and customer relations as it the best way to understand the overall attitudes of your market. Only then can these ideas can be built upon and explored more in depth with the use of interviews.

Published on: January 2019