The world of market research is cluttered by a seemingly limitless number of terms used to describe different elements of studies, processes, and best practices.

While it’s easy to deem yourself as a ‘survey-savvy’ market researcher, it’s always a good idea to revisit or take a closer look at the language used in the field of data collection and analysis, so that you can maintain confidence that you are communicating as effectively as possible.

Below we’ve compiled a list of survey terminology for the survey-savvy market researcher. If you consider yourself survey-savvy, then this is must-know jargon. 

If after reading through this list none of the terms caught you by surprise, then congratulations! You are indeed a survey-savvy market researcher! 

20 Terms All Survey-Savvy Market Researchers Should Know

#1: Survey

A survey is a data collection tool that includes at least one question. This question, or in many cases questions, can either be open-ended or close-ended, and are asked in either written or oral format. 

A survey can be thought of as the entire research project, or a ‘point-in-time’ data collection method. 

#2: QRE

QRE is simply an abbreviation of, or shorthand for questionnaire.

#3: Multi-Modal 

A multi-modal survey is one that is comprised of a variety of distribution methods. For example, the same survey might be administered via an email, a letter sent via snail mail, or by a person on a street corner.

#4: Participants

Participants are the people that a researcher invites to be a part of their study, or to complete their questionnaire.

#5: Respondents

Respondents are the participants in a study that actually respond to the survey or questionnaire.

#6: Dropouts

Dropouts are the respondents in a study that stop answering questions in a survey, instead of completing the survey in its entirety. 

#7: Completes

Completes are the responses that have fully completed all aspects of the questions in a survey.

#8: Incompletes

Incompletes are the responses that have NOT fully completed all aspects of the questions in a survey.

These incompletes can come from respondents who have failed to click the final ‘Submit’ button that resides at the end of a survey.

#9: Response Rate

The response rate is the percentage of the questionnaires that have been fully completed.

#10: Open-Ended Questions

Open-ended questions (AKA open-ends) are questions in a survey that require the respondent to provide commentary.

#11: Close-Ended Questions

Close-ended questions (AKA close-ends) are questions in a survey that require the respondent to choose from a list of available responses, such as a multiple choice question.

#12: Mean

The mean is the average value in a dataset. 

#13: Median

The median is the center value in a dataset.

#14: Mode

The mode is the most frequent value found in a dataset.

#15: Quantitative

Quantitative methods refer to methods that leverage numerical data. While survey responses may often not come in quantitative form, they are able to be coded systematically to then become quantitative pieces of data.

#16: Qualitative

Qualitative methods refer to methods that leverage non-numerical data. For example, if someone is dealing with the raw responses of an open-ended questionnaire, they would perform a qualitative analysis of the response data. 

#17: Logic

Logic is a tool that enables particular survey questions to be displayed to certain respondents depending on the responses that they have submitted previously. Logic combats survey fatigue by only displaying questions that are directly applicable to individual respondents. As a result, the quality of the data is higher.  

#18: Fielding

Fielding is the actual process of administering a survey in order to gather responses.

#19: Population

A population is the target group of people that the researcher is investigating. Here, population refers to the entire group under examination. A market researcher would then pull a statistically significant sample from the population to actually administer the survey to.  

#20: Sample

A sample is the representative group parsed from the greater population of interest. 


So… How did you do? 

If you were familiar with the definitions of all of the terms listed above, then consider yourself a survey-savvy market researcher! 

Are there more market research terms that you wish were included in this list? If so, we’d love to hear from you! Reach out to us in the comments below, and we’ll continue to add to this list.