The A-Z of Market Research

Companies spend vast amounts of time, money, and effort on market research and with good reason. Research takes the guesswork out of decision making, it can establish whether an offering is appealing to a target audience, it informs R&D (Research & Development), pricing, placement and much, much more!  

Market Research enables business decisions to be made with confidence.  

From qualitative and quantitative, primary and secondary research to surveys, interviews, focus groups, and customer observation, there is so much more to market research than you might think.

Here at Face Facts Research, we offer years of collective market research expertise. Our team is called upon to plan and project manage the fieldwork elements of market research projects to help our clients answer their research questions.  Whether the objectives are to inform brand awareness, marketing messaging development or testing, market segmentation, product/service development, understanding customers’ decisions and journeys, pricing or competitor analysis our in-house experienced project team can be relied upon to deliver seamless project management, quality data and exceptional customer service.

With so much industry-specific language and terminology, we thought it would be helpful to pull together a useful A-Z that covers our services and provides a more general market research ‘dictionary’.

The index shares some common sector acronyms and hopefully busts some myths that surround market research. Any others you come across and don’t quite understand feel free to contact us at and we’ll do our best to help! 




Introducing Face Facts 

Who are we?  

Face Facts are more than just a fieldwork provider. With over 50 years of joint experience, our owners Rach & Jules bring the best of both worlds – from Rach’s client-side Director role and Jules’ Field Director and logistic roles, they are the yin and yang in the business. Fully supported by experienced Account Management and Data and Field teams that create a winning formula. 


Accompanied Shopping Trips (ASTs)

Also known as ‘shop-a-longs’. Respondents are recruited to be observed during a shopping trip. The session takes place in a retail setting (e.g., supermarket, retail store, make-up counters, etc). 

The research moderator observes the shoppers’ natural behaviour and follows up with relevant questions relating to the research. The benefit of AST’s is the ability to capture real-life feedback of ‘in the moment’ experiences. 

Face Facts use our experienced RAS accredited recruiters to source perfect respondents and ensure they are fully briefed, in the right place at the right time and ready to go.  



We are proud that Face Facts is;

You can be assured that Face Facts provide quality respondents, quality data and quality project management. We’re a safe pair of hands. 

Award-winning (MRS Oppies Award Winner 2020)

The Market Research Society (MRS) Operations awards (known in the industry as the Oppies). 

Face Facts has been a finalist for several years but scooped the award for ‘Best Data Collection face-to-face’ in 2020.

The Best Data Collection face-to-face category recognises that exceptional data is essential for influencing decisions relating to a client’s strategy, orientation and focus. The specific award we won recognises excellence for collecting data face-to-face that has delivered outstanding results. 



Base Sizes
The perfect base size is often a trade-off between budgets and desired reliability/level of confidence one can have in the results.

Quantitative research should be conducted using a robust sample and be sufficiently large to allow for meaningful analysis.

Factors to take into account are the subsets of respondents that are required for analysis, e.g. comparing genders and age groups, etc. If you need to analyse findings by a specific subset that have completed your survey, you will need to make sure that the base for these respondents is high enough. Typically, opinion polls are carried out among 1,000 participants.

Bespoke Services
Face Facts enjoys working with clients as an extension of their team – focusing on combined goals and working hard to ensure they are happy.

We tailor our services to the needs of clients, always offering exceptional service and taking pride in what we do.

Quantitatively, whilst more often than not our experienced data team do the scripting, some clients don’t want full data tables and raw data output is all that is required. Some clients like to procure the panel sample whereas others want us to use our partners to blend and manage panels to meet their prescribed target.

Qualitatively, whilst we always recruit and pre-check, some clients also want us to book venues and handle incentives etc., whereas others cover these elements themselves.

Whatever your project requirements are you can be assured that Face Facts is a safe pair of hands – we understand client needs and do our best to make your life as easy as possible!

Bias is the enemy of research, but in certain circumstances, it’s unavoidable and therefore needs to be recognised rather than ignored.

Bias by general definition is: ‘the action of supporting or opposing a particular person or thing in an unfair way, by allowing personal opinions to influence your judgment’.

The key way bias affects research is in sampling. Who we speak to needs to represent ‘the customer’ and so researchers use terms like nationally representative, or ‘target market’ all of which are ways to define who we talk to ensuring the findings are not biased and represent ‘the market’ as a whole.

Quotas are applied to the proportion of people in certain groups that take part, to minimise the potential for a ‘biased’ sample. These along with relevant screening criteria are vital to ensure that results can be analysed with confidence.

If research has been carried out among a sample that is not representative of a clearly defined target audience, the results produced will be skewed. This means it is not possible to draw reliable conclusions based from the data.

The list could go on to feature…
Big Data
B2B Research
Brand Perceptions
Brand recognition


CAPI (Computer-Assisted Personal Interviewing)

A CAPI study involves interviewers accessing scripted surveys on an iPad to interview respondents.

The benefit of Face Facts scripting and hosting the survey is unlike many other suppliers our software works offline so it doesn’t matter if there is a Wi-Fi signal not, the data is always captured and can be uploaded later. Face Facts can also accommodate last-minute changes to the script and the interviewer only has to resync for the changes to be in place.

CLT’s (Central Location Tests/Hall Tests) 

A CLT is where research participants attend a central location to participate in a market research session – usually quantitative in nature. They are either recruited off the street (when looking to speak to a general population sample) or pre-recruited (when the people that need to be interviewed are more specific e.g. have to eat a particular product).

A CLT may be recommended when any of the following are required;

  • A controlled environment (research setting/method needs to be strictly controlled e.g. preparation of the product, respondents have to supervised in what they are testing, volume they are testing, ensuring palettes are cleansed between testing, etc).
  • Physical stimulus needs to be shown and controlled (concept packaging, leaflets, equipment, unpacking items, etc 
  • Testing of products needs to be controlled (food, products, equipment). 
  • Testing/viewing of prototype products is required – where limited products are available. 
  • Location specific research (e.g. opinions on regionally based respondents is required).

Venues are used for this methodology and a fieldwork team is present to recruit (where required) and interview the target audience. The benefits of CLT’s is that any product can be measured/assessed and controlled, so ‘identical’ comparisons can be made.  This is in complete contrast to another often used project testing approach which takes place in a natural environment – HUT (Home User Tests) – keep a look out for this featuring in our ‘H’ section. 

Read more in our CLT case study.

Customer Service

Face Facts support all aspects of market research fieldwork from concept to execution, always taking projects to the next level whilst delivering exceptional customer service. 

We pride ourselves on delivering insights seamlessly every time. We’re great at this, which is why our clients come back to us time and time again. Many things can go wrong in research, it’s about knowing how to deal with them and having the experience to ensure that every obstacle is overcome without impacting on deadlines and budgets. Face Facts is a solutions-based business.

Client Feedback

Face Facts loves getting research done but more importantly we want to make a positive difference to client’s projects. Adding value and experience along the full project journey with proactive client support is key. Click here to see some of the comments from our clients.


Data Collection Techniques

Depending on the specific project objectives – one or a number of different data collection methods could be used to gather the required insights. At a top-level qualitative methodologies give a broader depth of insight compared to quantitative studies which give the confidence in results often needed to make ‘costly’ business decisions.

Qualitative recruitment involves in-depth interviewing of relatively small numbers of respondents. These can take the form of groups, depths, triads, communities, accompanied shopping trips and can be conducted online or face-to-face. 

Quantitative interviewing involves talking to a larger base of respondents either face-to-face or online. Face-to-face approaches include: street interviewing, exit or entrance interviews, point of sale, end of aisle, central location, in-home product testing. Online quantitative studies can be conducted using specialist panels customer lists. 

Data Team

At Face Facts we have an experienced in-house data team. 

We script surveys and produce data outputs as our clients require, or sometimes just conduct the fieldwork and supply raw data outputs – we are flexible and can shape to fit your needs.

We have first-hand knowledge of how frustrating it is when you’re not able to speak directly to the person scripting the survey or producing your tables. Working with Face Facts you can expect friendly, proactive work delivered from a consistent scripting, design and analysis team.

Depth interviews (or in-depth interviews)

A depth interview is a one-to-one session where the moderator is using a pre-determined discussion guide to explore the respondents personal opinions on the topic. Responses are open-ended and give both moderator and respondent the flexibility for the discussion to flow as naturally as possible.

This approach is often used for niche audiences where it may be difficult to arrange a date and time that is suitable for a group discussion and also for sensitive topics. With sensitive topics, the moderator can explore the respondent’s point of view, feelings and experiences regarding the subject matter without the pressure of worrying about what other participants might think. These can be conducted face-to-face, online or telephone (tele-depth).

Check back soon for ‘E’…

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