Internet Evolves Into Ultimate Corporate Survey Research Vehicle

James T. Berger headshot

James T. Berger
Senior Marketing Writer

Published May 24, 2019

Making use of the Internet for judgment sampling has become so popular that it is making just about every other methodology obsolete.

The judgement sampling is the most effective and efficient way to obtain selective information. It is is a non-probability survey designed by an expert to obtain information from a specific, selected target market.  Its results can be projected on that specific market.  The probability survey, which is most costly,  generally aims for a cross section of the entire population.  For that reason, the probability sample is most often used in political polling.

A few years ago, Internet surveys in general judgement research were not taken seriously, but not anymore. In fact, the Internet survey is more than come of age, it has become the preferred methodology for many types of corporate and legal research .

The biggest reason for the rise of the Internet survey is the demise of the other more established conventional methodologies. At the same time, the Internet continues to add new technological features that enhance its ability to reach populations and probe relevant target markets.

Older methodologies obsolete

While technology has made the Internet survey what it is, that same technology is what has deteriorated older methods such as telephone surveys and mall intercept surveys.

Not terribly long ago, telephone surveys were considered “coin of the realm,” the ultimate way to gather data. Telephone surveys are still used by the political pollsters. In the heyday of telephone surveys, call centers would work day and night telephoning people at work and at home. But technology and invention have just about killed the telephone survey for intellectual property litigation.

The biggest culprit is “caller ID.” This message on the small screen of the telephone tells where the call comes from either or both by area code and city. Since most surveys emanate from 800-number call centers, they are easy to spot

The second technological culprit that damages telephone research is the cell phone. Virtually everybody owns one, and cell phone telephone numbers are not listed in directories. In fact, many thousands of telephone customers have given up their landline phones in favor of having a cell phone.

Mall Intercept on the Decline

Another very popular survey methodology used to be the mall intercept survey. Research companies would maintain research centers within large shopping malls. Employees of the research centers would patrol the malls to recruit survey participants usually based on some initial screening criteria.

The reasons for the demise of the mall intercept methodology are that many shoppers avoid malls today and prefer to shop online using their computers.  Also people who frequent the malls are not necessarily a cross-section of the population.

Unfortunately, taste and scent are not available on-line so the shopping mall still can be used for some forms of product research.

Enter the Internet

While technology has crippled the older methodologies, it has strengthened the use of the Internet in survey research.  Virtually, everybody uses a computer and accesses the Internet. Most people go online every day, while others people are on the Internet all the time. People are comfortable with the point-and-click methods of screening and inputting data.  Moreover, the smart phone is an ideal receptor of surveys.

There is a myriad of ways surveys can be presented on the Internet. Templates abound. Questionnaires can easily be plugged into those templates like “Survey Monkey,” “Zoomerang,” and “Qualcomm.”  These templates continue to improve and are extremely user-friendly.

But the rise of the Internet panels has really revolutionized survey research over the Internet. There are panels abound–some with millions of people who volunteer to take surveys for some form of modest compensation.

Quantitatively, the Internet surveys allows both closed-end and open-end answers.  Qualitatively, the Internet allows you to produce sounds as well as visual images.  You can show a commercial or other video via the Internet.  Panels are capable of producing surveys of people with highly specific backgrounds, needs and buyer behavior characteristics.

Because of the intense care the Internet survey panel company takes in policing their panels through its own ongoing validation process, there is no longer the need to validate a survey.

The survey expert Hal Poret, who specializes in both legal and corporate research, says, “The Internet is now the single most common means of collecting consumer opinion and behavior data in the market research industry….”

About The Author

James T. Berger headshot
James T. Berger, Senior Marketing Writer of The Wiglaf Journal, through his Northbrook-based firm, James T. Berger/Market Strategies, offers a broad range of marketing communications, research and strategic planning consulting services. In addition, he provides expert services to intellectual property attorneys in the area of trademark infringement litigation. An adjunct professor of marketing at Roosevelt University, he previously has taught at Northwestern University, DePaul University, University of Illinois at Chicago and The Lake Forest Graduate School of Management. He holds degrees from the University of Michigan (BA), Northwestern University (MS) and the University of Chicago (MBA). Berger is an often-published free lance business writer who has developed more than 100 published articles in the last eight years. For more information, visit or telephone him at (847) 328-9633.