Ambiguous questions 
A question which may confuse respondents,
or which they may understand in a different way to that intended.
For example, ‘which newspapers do you read regularly?’
– the meaning of the word regularly is unclear. 
ANOVA (ANalysis Of VAriance) 
Can be thought of as a generalisation
of the ttest to apply to more than two groups. Posthoc tests can
be used to identify where differences are. 
Attitudinal questions 
Questions that seek to understand
attitudes, motives, values or beliefs of respondents. 
Behavioural questions 
Questions that are concerned with
what people do, as opposed to what they think. 
Beta coefficient 
The weight of a predictor variable
in a regression model, indicative of how much impact it has on the
outcome variable. 
Bivariate analysis 
The analysis of the relationship
between two variables – e.g. correlation. 
Canonical correlation 
A measure of association between
two sets of data, operating through pairs of canonical variates (which
can be thought of as similar to factors in factor analysis). 
Census 
A survey of the entire population. 
ChiSquare (?2) 
Used to test for association between
categorical variables. For instance are males more likely to choose
to watch sport on television than females? 
Classification questions 
Used both for sampling and analysis,
they serve as a check that the sample is representative (for example
in terms of gender, age and social grade) and also form the basis
of breakdown groups for crosstabulations. 
Closed questions 
Questions for which respondents
are asked to reply within the constraints of defined response categories. 
Code of Conduct

The MRS Code of Conduct consists
of a set of rules and recommendations adhered to by the members of
the society. The code prevents research being undertaken for the purpose
of selling, and covers issues of client and respondent confidentiality. 
Coding 
The process of allocating codes
to answers in order to categorise them into logical groups. For example
if the question was ‘why are Xyz. the best supplier?’
coding might group answers under ‘Product quality’, ‘Service
quality’, ‘Lead times’ etc. 
Collinearity 
A data condition that arises when
independent variables are strongly related and is a problem when building
regression models, leading to unstable beta coefficients. Approaches
to counter this problem include factor analysis and ridge regression. 
Confidence interval 
The range either side of the sample mean within which
we are confident that the population mean will lie. Usually this is
reported at the 95% confidence level, in other words we are sure that
if we took a 100 similar samples then the mean would fall into this
range 95 times. Or more simply, we are 95% sure that the population
mean falls in this range. 
Confirmatory factor analysis 
A form of factor analysis in which
the structure of the data is hypothesised in advance and then tested
for goodnessoffit. 
Correlation 
When correlating two variables we measure the strength
of the relationship between them. The correlation coefficient is in
the range –1 to +1, with the absolute value indicating the strength.
A negative coefficient indicates an inverse relationship (i.e. as
one goes up the other goes down), 0 indicates no relationship and
a positive coefficient indicates a positive relationship. In CSM we
would only expect to find positive coefficients. The most common type
of correlation is Pearson’s r. 
Creative comparisons 
A projective technique in which
respondents are asked to liken an organisation to something (frequently
a car or an animal) and give reasons, which is what the researcher
is interested in. For example: ‘If Xyz was a car, what kind
of car would it be? Why?’ – “A Ford Mondeo, because
it does its job, but it’s unexceptional, there are lots of others
that would do just as well.” 
CSM 
Acronym for Customer Satisfaction Measurement. 
Dependent variable 
A variable that is assumed to be
explained by a number of items (independent variables) also measured.
‘Overall satisfaction’ is the usual dependent variable
in CSM. 
Depth interview 
A loosely structured, usually facetoface interview
used in exploratory research in business markets, or if the subject
matter is considered too sensitive for focus groups. 
Derived importance 
Derived importance is based upon
the covariation between an outcome variable and a predictor variable.
It is usually established by correlation or multiple regression. 
Desk research 
Research into secondary data. 
Diagrammatic scale 
Also known as a graphic scale, a
form of scale without numerical or verbal descriptors but which uses
pictures, lines or other visual indicators. 
Discussion guide 
The document used by the moderator of a focus group
as the equivalent of an interview script, though it is much less structured
and prescriptive. 
Dominance analysis 
A technique for assessing the relative
importance of a series of predictor variables by comparing the average
marginal contribution made by each predictor to the model’s
R2. 
Doublebarrelled questions 
Questions which have more than one aspect, for example
‘were the staff friendly and helpful?’ – what if
the staff were friendly but not helpful? 
Endogenous variable 
See dependent variable. 
ESM 
Acronym for Employee Satisfaction Measurement. 
Exogenous 
See independent variable. 
Exploratory research 
Research undertaken prior to the main survey in order
to gain understanding of the subject. In CSM exploratory research
should be used to understand what customer requirements are. 
Face to face interview 
An interview conducted in person,
often at the respondent’s home or office or in the street. 
Facilitator 
See moderator. 
Factor analysis 
Used to examine relationships in
a set of data to identify underlying factors or constructs that explain
most of the variation in the original data set. Factors are usually
uncorrelated with each other. Factor scores can be calculated and
used in order to eliminate the problem of collinearity in data and
reduce the number of variables. 
Feedback 
Communicating the results of the survey – usually
both internally and outside the organisation. 
Focus group 
A mainstay of qualitative research,
used at the exploratory stage. A group of around 8 people is guided
in a discussion of topics of interest by a trained facilitator/moderator.
Used for exploratory CSM in consumer markets. 
Friendly Martian 
A projective technique in which respondents are asked
to advise a friendly alien on the process of interest (say getting
a meal at a restaurant), covering all the things he should do, what
he should avoid and so on. Since the Martian has no assumed knowledge
the respondent will include things that are normally taken for granted. 
Gap analysis 
Achieved by subtracting satisfaction
scores from importance scores to reveal where satisfaction is most
falling short of requirements. Requires intervallevel data. 
Group discussion 
See focus group. 
Hypothesis testing 
Hypothesis testing has a strong
tradition in statistics, and is related to confidence interval estimation.
A ttest is form of hypothesis test. The procedure is to formulate
a null hypothesis (for example that there is no difference between
the means of two groups) and then test this and either accept or reject
it. 
Independent variable 
One of a battery of questions assumed to explain variance
in an ‘outcome’ variable such as overall satisfaction
– with CSM data these are usually individual requirements such
as ‘product quality’. 
Interval data 
Numerical scales whose response
options are equally spaced, but there is no true zero – e.g.
the Celsius scale, the tenpoint numerical scale. 
Item 
A question on the questionnaire. 
Kruskal’s relative
importance 
One measure of relative importance.
Produces the squared partial correlation averaged over all possible
combinations of the predictor variables in a regression equation.
Computationally very intensive. 
Latent Class Regression 
LCR allows us to identify homogenous subsets in the
data that form opinions in the same way, and build separate regression
equations for each of these groups. A very young technique that promises
to revolutionise the way models are built. 
Latent variable 
A variable of interest that cannot be directly measured
(for example intelligence) but has to be estimated through procedures
such as factor analysis applied to a number of manifest variables
deemed to be ‘caused’ by the latent variable (e.g. reading
speed, exam results, etc…). Usually form the basis of Structural
Equation Models. 
Leading questions 
A question that is prone to bias respondents to answer
in a particular way, often positively. For example, ‘how satisfied
were you…’ as opposed to ‘how satisfied or dissatisfied
were you…’. 
Likert scale 
A scale running from ‘Strongly agree’
to ‘strongly disagree’ on which respondents rate a number
of statements. These should be a combination of positive and negative
statements to avoid bias. 
Linear regression 
See regression, assumes that the relationship between
variables can be summarised by a straight line. 
Manifest variable 
A directly measured variable. In procedures such as
Confirmatory Factor Analysis and Structural Equation Modelling these
are used to construct latent variables. 
Mean 
The most common type of average – the sum of
scores divided by the total number of scores. 
Median 
The central value in a group of ranked data –
useful for ordinallevel data. On some occasions the median may be
a ‘truer’ reflection of the norm than the mean –
for instance average income is usually a median, since the mean is
distorted by a few people with very large salaries. 
Mode 
The most commonly occurring response. 
Moderator 
The researcher leading a focus group. 
MRS 
The Market Research Society – the professional
body for market researchers in the UK. Implements the Code of Conduct
by which most researchers abide and offers Certificate and Diploma
qualifications. 
Multidimensional scaling (MDS) 
This can be thought of as an alternative to factor
analysis. In a similar way it aims to uncover underlying dimensions
in the data, but a variety of measures of distance can be used. A
common example is to take a matrix of distances between cities (such
as that found at the front of a road atlas). Using MDS an analysis
in two dimensions would produce something very similar to a map. 
Multiple regression 
An extension of simple regression to include the effects
of more than one predictor on an outcome variable. 
Multivariate analysis 
The analysis of relationships between several variables
– e.g. factor analysis. 
Nominal data 
Scales that only categorise people, but have no logical
ordering – e.g. Male/Female. 
Nonresponse bias 
A major potential source of bias, particularly in
postal surveys, in that responders’ opinion may differ from
nonresponders. For example it is typically those with extreme opinions
who respond, or those who feel most involved with your organisation. 
Normal distribution 
Graphically represented as a bell curve. Most data
has a tendency to fall into this pattern, with people clustering around
the mean. The shape of this curve for a variable can be calculated
from the mean and standard deviation. The characteristics of the normal
distribution are that 68% of scores will be within 1 standard deviation
of the mean and 95% will be within 2 standard deviations. This tendency
is the basis of assumptions used in confidence interval estimation
and hypothesis testing. 
Numerical scale 
A scale for which each response option has a numerical
descriptor, commonly 15, 17 or 110. The endpoints are usually anchored
to provide a direction of response, for example ‘very dissatisfied’
and ‘very satisfied’. 
Open questions 
Questions were the respondent’s reply without
explicit response categories. These are either coded at the time of
interview into existing categories or postcoded. 
Ordinal data 
Response categories can be placed in a logical order,
but the distance between categories is not equivalent – e.g.
Very likely – quite likely – not sure – quite unlikely
– very unlikely. 
Osgood scale 
See semantic differential scale. 
Outcome variable 
See dependent variable. 
Part correlation 
See semipartial correlation. 
Partial correlation 
The correlation between two numerical variables having
accounted for the effects of other variables. This could be used to
assess the independent contribution to overall satisfaction of ‘staff
friendliness’ having removed a similar variable such as ‘staff
helpfulness’. 
Partial Least Squares (PLS) 
A technique producing very similar models to Principal
Components Regression or Structural Equation Modelling in which the
latent variables are constructed in a way that maximises their covariance
with the dependent variable. 
Pilot surveys 
A survey conducted prior to the main survey using
the same instrument, used to assess the questionnaire for potential
problems such as respondent confusion or poor routing of questions.

Population 
The group from which a sample is taken, e.g. all of
an organisation’s customers for CSM. 
Postal survey 
Any survey in which the questionnaire is administered
by post. A mail survey in American usage. 
Postcoding 
Coding the answers to a question after the survey
is complete. 
Pratt’s relative importance 
A measure of relative importance that can be thought
of as combining a predictor’s total and direct effects on the
outcome variable. Calculated as the product of a variable’s
correlation and beta coefficient. 
Precoding 
The process of determining in advance the categories
within which respondents’ answers will fall. 
Predictor variable 
See independent variable. 
Primary data 
Data collected specifically for the question of interest
– the CSM survey produces primary data. 
Principal Components Analysis (PCA) 
A type of factor analysis. 
Principal Components Regression (PCR) 
A form of multiple regression in which the predictor
variables are first put through a PCA in order to produce a smaller
set of unrelated variables, simplifying the data and eliminating the
problem of collinearity. 
Probability sampling 
See random sampling. 
Probing 
A prompt from the interviewer to encourage more explanation
or clarification of an answer. These do not suggest answers or lead
respondents but tend to be very general: ‘Anything else’,
‘In what way?’, or even just sounds such as ‘uhhuh’. 
Projective techniques 
Common in qualitative research, these are a battery
of techniques that aim to overcome barriers of communication based
on embarrassment, eagerness to please, giving sociallyacceptable
answers etc. Examples include theme boards, the ‘Friendly Martian’
and psychodrama. 
Psychodrama 
A projective technique also known as role playing.
Participants are assigned roles and asked to improvise a short play. 
Qualitative research 
Research that aims not at measurement but at understanding.
Sample sizes are small and techniques tend to be very loosely structured.
Techniques used include focus groups and depth interviews. 
Quantitative research 
Research that aims to measure opinion in a statistically
valid way, where the limits to the reliability of the measures can
be accurately specified. Used at the main survey stage in CSM. 
Quota sampling 
A form of nonrandom sampling in which quotas are
set for certain criteria in order to ensure that they are represented
in the same proportions in the sample as they are in the population
– for example a simple quota might specify a 40%60% malefemale
split. 
R2 
The coefficient of determination. This is a measure
of how effectively the independent variables in a regression equation
predict the outcome variable, for example an R2 of 0.76 suggests that
a model accounts for 76% of the variance in the outcome variable. 
Random sampling 
Every member of the population has an equal chance
of being selected. 
Ratio data 
A scale that has a true zero – e.g. the Kelvin
scale. You are unlikely to come across this type of data in CSM work. 
Regression 
A model that aims to assess how much one variable
affects another. This is related to correlation, but implies causality. 
Requirement 
A single satisfaction/importance question. 
Response rate 
The number of admissible completed interviews, normally
represented as a percentage of the number invited to participate. 
Ridge regression 
A form of regression analysis that uses a bias parameter
(ridge estimator) to alleviate the problem of collinearity. Resulting
equations are more stable, but have lower R2 values. 
Routing 
Instructions to an interviewer (or respondent in
selfcompletion questionnaires), usually directing them to the next
question to be answered based on their previous responses. 
Sample 
The people selected from the population to be interviewed. 
Secondary data 
Data that already exists, for example government
statistics. 
Selfcompletion questionnaire 
A questionnaire that is completed by the respondent
rather than by an interviewer. Usually postal surveys, though recent
innovations allow Web or email surveys could be used. 
Semantic differential scale 
A bipolar diagrammatic scale with opposing adjectives
at either end of a series of points (usually seven) on which respondents
are asked to mark their opinion. 
Semipartial correlation 
The correlation between two variables with the effects
of other variables removed from the predictor variable only. 
SIMALTO scale 
Acronym for Simultaneous MultiAttribute TradeOff.
A complex scale that requires respondents to rate their expected,
experienced and ideal levels of performance on a variety of key processes.
Requires the presence of a skilled interviewer to be reliably completed. 
Social grade 
The most common (though now somewhat dated) means
of classifying respondents according to socioeconomic criteria, based
on the occupation of the chief income earner in a household. Classes
are A, B, C1, C2, D and E, though these are often grouped into four:
AB, C1, C2, DE, or even two: ABC1 and C2DE. 
Standard deviation 
The square root of the variance. It can be taken as
the average distance that scores are away from the mean. It gives
us vital information to reveal the pattern of scores lying behind
a mean score. 
Statistical significance (pvalue) 
This is the confidence we have in confirming or rejecting
a hypothesis. For example with a correlation coefficient the significance
relates to the confidence we have that the coefficient is not equal
to 0. 
Stratified sampling 
The population is divided into subgroups of interest
and then sampled within these groups. This could be used to ensure
that the sample is representative of the relative size/value of the
subgroups. 
Street interview 
A facetoface interview conducted in the street or
other public place. 
Structural Equation Modelling (SEM) 
A close relation of Confirmatory Factor Analysis,
this is a powerful technique for hypothesis testing, implemented through
specialist software such as LISREL and AMOS. It is a stateoftheart
and very rigorous technique for testing models. 
Sum 
The total of all the values for a question. 
Systematic random sampling 
Divide the population by the required sample size
(e.g. 4000/400 = 10) choose a starting point at random and then select
every nth (e.g. 10th) person for interview. 
Theme board 
A projective technique involving the use of collages
of pictures mounted on card to act as a starting point for a discussion
among focus group participants. Pictures might vary from illustrative
to metaphorical. 
ttest 
Used to test if the difference between the means of
two groups is large enough to be significant, in other words that
we are confident the difference exists in the population. 
Unbalanced scale 
A scale with unequal numbers of positive and negative
response categories, leading to a bias in responses. An example is
“Excellent” – “Good” – “Average”
– “Poor”. 
Univariate analysis 
The analysis of a variable on its own – e.g.
mean score, variance. 
Variance 
A measure of the amount of diversity or variation
in the scores received for a question. The analysis of variance is
key to many statistical measures of association. 
Verbal scale 
Any scale for which answers are given according to
a range of phrases or words, as opposed to numerical or diagrammatic
scales. The Likert scale is a common example. 