Are You Aware Of Biases In Your Market Research?

survey exampleDo It Yourself is a big topic with a number of small business owners I speak with. Many of these are doing a number of things on their own to save money as their business continues to survive during today’s economic conditions. Many of the things they have been doing on their own includes marketing, printing, and, especially, market research.

However, since business owners are likely not market researchers by trade, they may not be aware of biases they may have when they develop the surveys. Biases are reproducible inaccuracies that produce a consistently false pattern of differences between observed and true values.

Here is a list of the some of the more common biases so you can recognize them and avoid them in development of future research.

  • Survey Bias: Typically seen in quantitative studies. This is asking questions in a leading way to get a response that will get a leading result. One of the items that got me interested in this was a college class handout that showed survey bias. Although I no longer have the handout, there was one question that asked something like “Do you support the death penalty?” and another question was something like “Do you support capital punishment?” Although I don’t remember the exact results, the results were dramatically different.
  • Sampling Bias: When doing a survey, it needs to be a representative sample of the population. However, if the sample you have is not consistent with the population, there is the likelihood that the results will not get accurate results. You may be hearing a lot of this today with political polls. If there is a disproportionate amount of people who consider themselves one political party that are in the poll, the results may not be what would actually happen in the election held the same day.
  • Lack of Response Bias: Response biases are also present when respondents do not answer certain questions or refuse to participate in the survey. This occurs often with mail surveys and can produce results that don’t accurately reflect the total population’s sentiment. Again, this is tends to be true in surveys dealing with political candidates. Survey respondents who are asked questions about a candidate they don’t support may not answer, which could result in a survey with biased statistics.
  • Source Bias: Have you ever believed something just because of where your heard or read it from. If so, you have just experienced source bias. This also occurs when someone, or a group of people, favors the same source over and over again.

Let me know other biases you let do-it-yourselfers aware of. If you are a do-it-yourselfers, how do you think you avoid some of these?

–J. Nolfo helps companies understand their market and customers though a variety of market research strategies. He has over ten years of experience of market research for strategic planning purposes. He is the Director of Research at Rhino Market Research. He shares his thoughts about market research and business concepts with his blog “Pensare…Understanding Market Research in Business“. If you would like to discuss this blog or how J. can help you understand your market and customer needs, email him at

About J. Nolfo
Well...there is a lot to know. #Cx, #Analytics, #SM, Specialty #AgChem, #StL sports, & more. FT @BASFAgProducts. @Mizzou Alum. Supporter of the #Rhino. Tweets my own. #SMMW17 attendee....Dad...Hiker...Scouter...and so much more.

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