• What types of surveys do you have experience with?
• How long does it take to run a survey and get results?
• Do you proof a questionnaire before turning it into an online survey?
• Can the survey be previewed before it goes live?
• Can you conduct surveys in languages other than English?
• Will the survey work on smartphones?
• How many respondents do you recommend interviewing?
• Can you screen out people who don’t fit the desired target?
• What quota management options do you offer?
• Can you conduct surveys with A/B/X branching?
• Who are your respondents?
• What about using a specific or preferred panel supplier?
• Can you send survey invitations to a known group?
• Can a link to the survey be embedded on Facebook, in a Tweet, website or blog, or shared in other ways online?
• How about incentives for respondents to take the survey?
• How long can the questionnaire be?
• What types of questions can you include in your surveys?
• Can you rotate or randomize questions? And responses to questions?
• Can respondents see different questions and answers depending on their replies to previous questions?
• What does your standard survey design look like?
• What controls can you put on a respondent taking the survey?
• Can a respondent resume and finish the survey after taking a break or losing their Internet connection?
• Do you guard against repeat participation in the survey?
• Can you re-invite a respondent to take a follow-up survey, or allow multiple completions of a survey by the same person?
• Are survey responses kept secure and anonymous?
• Are email addresses provided for contacts secure?
• Are test stimuli secured?
• Can you provide regular updates about how the survey is progressing?
• Are topline summaries available during data collection?
• What happens after the survey is closed?
• In what format do you send the raw data?
• What happens to the typed-in replies to open-ended questions?
• Can you tabulate the survey data?
• Can you add significance testing to the tabulations?
• Can you prepare a PowerPoint presentation which summarizes the results?
• Can you write the commentary too?
• What file type and format do the text responses need to be in?
• What other information or materials do you require in order to perform the work?
• Are the text replies and other materials I send treated with confidentiality?
• Can you prepare a classification framework (codebook) to use based on the raw text?
• What if the point or idea in a raw reply does not match any of the codes in the classification framework (codebook) I provide?
• How are the data delivered after coding is complete?
• What does it cost?
• How do you judge the difficulty of the coding work to arrive at an appropriate price?
• Who performs the work of coding and how?
• How quickly will I receive the file with coding completed?
• Do you work in any language other than English?
• What software does PNS use to design and deploy surveys?
• What software does PNS use to classify responses to open-ended questions?
• What software does PNS use to perform statistical analyses?
• Is any of the special software that PNS uses available for licensing?
What types of surveys do you have experience with?
We have 40 years of experience conducting a wide variety of marketing research projects for clients of all sizes and industries. Our work portfolio ranges from simple “nose counting” to complex longitudinal studies to in-depth investigation of deep underlying beliefs and values. We have successfully interviewed all types of people, including general consumers, low incidence target groups, business professionals, C-Suite executives, physicians and healthcare officials, engineers, diverse ethnic groups, opinion leaders and more, both domestically and internationally.
How long does it take to run a survey and get results?
Our programming process and techniques allow for quick fielding and turnaround. Set-up and data collection is typically completed in less than a week; coding, tabulation and reporting, within five business days after the survey is closed. All studies can be accelerated for an upcharge.
Do you proof a questionnaire before turning it into an online survey?
Yes. All questionnaires are reviewed for flow and internal consistency, as well as the usual suspects (spelling, grammar and punctuation).
Can the survey be previewed before it goes live?
Yes. Once it’s programmed, you’ll be able to test out the survey online before launch. Surveys are subject to rigorous internal and pilot testing to make sure everything is working as intended before going “live” in field.
Can you conduct surveys in languages other than English?
Yes. We do our business in English, but we can accommodate any modern language in a survey.
Will the survey work on smartphones?
Any survey can be optimized for smartphone users; however, because of the smaller screen size and usage conventions, there are some constraints that affect the design.
Quotas and Screening
How many respondents do you recommend interviewing?
It depends on the type of study you are doing. Some studies can be done successfully with 100 people. Others require 1000 or more. The larger your sample, the more it costs but the more stable your data will be. We are glad to help you balance cost and reliability issues to assess what sample size is best for your project.
Can you screen out people who don’t fit the desired target?
Yes, we can implement sophisticated screeners and quota management controls to ensure that only respondents who meet all qualifications are allowed to participate in the survey.
What quota management options do you offer?
Either a single overall quota or multiple quotas for different target samples can be designated. Quotas can be strict (a specific number of respondents) or soft (within a percentage range), and can be based on a combination of qualifying questions.
Can you conduct surveys with A/B/X branching?
Yes, if you’d like to split up your respondents into groups to receive differing versions of the survey or different test stimuli, we can easily accommodate that.
Who are your respondents?
Sampling is a very important determinant of survey quality. We source the sample based on your needs. We are able to use names and contacts that you provide, anonymous members of online panels managed by third-party suppliers we have partnered with for many years, or anything else.
What about using a specific or preferred panel supplier?
If you have a panel supplier that you’re comfortable with, we are happy to partner with them.
Can you send survey invitations to a known group?
Yes. If you have a list of email addresses you’d like your survey sent to, simply provide it to us and we’ll take care of the rest.
Can a link to the survey be embedded on Facebook, in a Tweet, website or blog, or shared in other ways online?
Yes. You can invite participation in the survey through your own web presence and domains, either by embedding of links or by use of pop-up invitations.
How about incentives for respondents to take the survey?
Our panel suppliers manage incentives when their respondents are invited to take the survey. If respondents originate with you, we can either send those who complete the survey back to you to reward on your own, or distribute the rewards for you.
How long can the questionnaire be?
We recommend that online surveys take no longer than 15-20 minutes to complete by an average respondent. This ensures that the best attention of a respondent is maintained throughout the survey. Typical mobile surveys should be shorter.
What types of questions can you include in your surveys?
We are only limited by our imagination. Examples of standardly available question types include single response, multiple response, literal (open-ended), quantity, date, time, grid, semantic differential, ranking and image choice. Our customization options enable us to accommodate many additional requests.
Can you rotate or randomize questions? And responses to questions?
Yes to all.
Can respondents see different questions and answers depending on their replies to previous questions?
Yes. With skip logic, we can route respondents to different parts of the survey, or show and hide certain questions based on their responses. With answer piping, we can take responses from one question and make them appear in the text of subsequent questions or responses. And with masking, we can show or hide responses to later questions based on responses to previous questions.
What does your standard survey design look like?
Our preferred design is clean and simple. In addition to a standard design, we have 3 alternate templates that you can choose from if you prefer. Each has been constructed to keep respondents focused on their task. If you would like to customize the appearance of the survey, we have many options at our disposal to change the look and feel, including fonts, colors, buttons, button placement, the logo/header, backgrounds, question styles and more.
What controls can you put on a respondent taking the survey?
We can require respondents to answer questions and view test stimuli, block them from entering illogical responses to quantity and ranking questions, restrict them from moving backwards through the survey, detect any attempt to re-take the survey, and more. We also standardly include tools the enable us to assess the integrity of the respondent’s responses.
Can a respondent resume and finish the survey after taking a break or losing their Internet connection?
Yes. The only exception is if a survey requires a respondent to view test stimuli. We do not recommend permitting respondents to pick up and resume a survey after being exposed to test stimuli.
Can you show stimulus?
Yes. One of the strengths of our capabilities is the proprietary software we have developed that controls and enhances the experience of showing stimulus. The different browsers, displays and service providers that are available to respondents when participating in a study make this an important element of online survey execution. Whether the stimuli are concepts, print ads, video commercials, POS displays, packaging, text, products or icons, we are able to ensure that each respondent sees what you want, when you want, how you want.
Can stimuli be shown in “Context”?
Yes. Context is an important consideration to stimulus presentation. The context in which the material is seen can influence people’s reaction to it. We are able present stimulus in most contexts to simulate many online and offline advertising and promotion environments, including editorial, programming, websites, mobile, out-of-home, point-of-purchase, and trade shows. Our software includes sophisticated routing algorithms to control the order in which it appears.
What format should the test materials be?
Image files should be JPEG (.jpg) at no lower than 150 dpi resolution. Video files should be MPEG-4 (.mp4) using the H.264 compression standard. Audio files should be MP3 format. Rich media files should be Flash (.swf) format. With some limitations, we can convert your files to the proper format upon request.
How are test stimuli presented to the respondent?
Images are typically presented against a neutral background, while videos are presented as insets within a simulated TV screen or website. Similarly, respondents will see a simulated radio (or portable audio player) for context while an audio file is played. Online ads, such as banner displays and rich media on websites, are inserted into mock-ups of actual portals (with extraneous links disabled). We can build more elaborate backgrounds based on your needs.
Do you guard against repeat participation in the survey?
Yes. Every person invited to take one of our surveys is issued a unique ID that can only be used once. Additional fingerprinting methods are utilized to protect against multiple entries.
Can you re-invite a respondent to take a follow-up survey? Or allow multiple completions of a survey by the same person?
Yes. For a pre-post, validation, or tracking study our standard repeat-respondent checks can be modified to allow the same ID to complete a survey more than once.
Are survey responses kept secure and anonymous?
Yes. The security and privacy of our respondents and clients is treated with the utmost concern. We collect only as much personal information as is necessary for qualification in a study and for aggregated analysis, and protect this information from access by unauthorized entities. We use secure servers that are kept up-to-date and protected by the latest software. Any survey responses received through a panel supplier are anonymous by design. Email lists provided by our clients are treated as confidential.
Are email addresses provided for contacts secure?
Yes. We will never sell or otherwise distribute email addresses you provide, nor will we contact the owners of those addresses for any reason unless it is at your behest.
Are test stimuli secured?
Yes. A respondent cannot save an image file embedded in the survey, nor can they use browser add-ons to intercept a streaming video/audio file.
Can you provide regular updates about how the survey is progressing?
Yes. We can arrange to send a count of completed surveys and even enable you to monitor completions live in the field.
Are topline summaries available during data collection?
Toplines are typically not needed with today’s faster Internet surveys and given the speed of the deliverables we offer. However, they are available as an option if requested.
What happens after the survey is closed?
When the target number of completed surveys has been reached (and all sub-quotas have been filled), the survey is closed and access to it is blocked. We conduct a final quality review and validation to make sure that respondents are who they purport to be and that the pattern of the responses is consistent with our quality standards, including answer consistency, attention, and duration.
In what format do you send the raw data?
We standardly deliver respondent-level data as a comma-delimited text file, or in Excel, SPSS or Triple-S format. Additional formats are available upon request.
What happens to the typed-in replies to open-ended questions?
Respondents’ original answers to open-ends are included in the raw data. Depending on your needs, we are able to edit the responses for spelling and grammar, translate them into English, if needed, code the replies to short-form open-ended questions (e.g., what brands of coffee can you name?) for tabulation; and/or profile long-form questions asking for interpretive/descriptive input from the respondent for tabulation.
Can you tabulate the survey data?
Yes. We offer various levels of tabulation, from simple “number and percent” to detailed cross-tabs with multiple banners and recoding, to visual displays based on advanced statistics. For any level, every closed-ended and quantity question in the survey will be tabulated. If you request coding for any open-ended questions, these will be tabulated as well. The entire set of tables will be assembled into an easy-to-navigate PDF document.
Can you add significance testing to the tabulations?
Yes. We are able to provide all forms of statistical testing and indicate the results in easy to follow formats.
Can you prepare a PowerPoint presentation which summarizes the results?
Yes, attractive bar graphs, pie charts, tables, etc. can be designed to best synthesize the knowledge gained from the survey. If you already have a template, that’s great; if not, we will suggest our own style based on the latest version of PowerPoint. Included will be introductory slides providing an overview of the study and what was tested.
Can you write the commentary, too?
Yes, we are glad to provide as much or as little interpretation as you wish.
Coding of Open-Ended Responses
What file type and format do the text responses need to be in?
Text to be coded should be sent in Excel or .CSV format; however, we also work with word processing files as long as the unique cases are clearly delineated. Individual images of handwritten comments can be handled as well (for an extra charge) in .GIF, .PNG or .JPG format.
What other information or materials do you require in order to perform the work?
To best understand where a respondent, reviewer or contributor is “coming from” we like to know the context in which they were asked to provide feedback. This includes any stimulus viewed prior to their answer (advertisement, concept, etc.); the question posed; the product, service, spokesperson or candidate for office (etc.) referred to in the stimulus or question; and, relevant background of the respondent, if possibly important (e.g., profession or field of business).
Are the text replies and other materials I send treated with confidentiality?
We respect materials you send us as confidential and take measures to ensure that individual responses and aggregated data are safeguarded like our own. Should your project require it, our coders may be asked to agree to a non-disclosure agreement before they commence work on your responses. Options for greater security are available for an upcharge.
Can you prepare a classification framework (codebook) to use based on the raw text?
Yes, if you do not wish to provide your own, for an additional price we will preview the verbatim responses and design a framework which you can approve before the work of coding starts.
What if the point or idea in a raw reply does not match any of the codes in the classification framework (codebook) I provide?
Any such comments are collected in a catch-all “Other” category for subsequent review. We may recommend adding new codes to the framework, depending on how many times the same point or idea is repeated.
How are the data delivered after coding is complete?
We send you the coded responses in Excel in one of two ways, whichever you prefer: columns of 1s & 0s, or columns of Codelabels & 0s. A codebook is included as well. The order of the codes will be arranged in decreasing frequency (high to low). SPSS and Triple-S formats can also be prepared.
What does it cost?
Pricing for our open-ended coding service is variable based on the scope of work. In addition to the number and average length of text entries to code, one of the variables affecting cost is a qualitative judgement about how difficult the work will be. Because of this, the price is subject to confirmation. Processing handwritten comments from scanned images carries a premium above the regular price.
How do you judge the difficulty of the coding work to arrive at an appropriate price?
There are three main variables to consider: 1) the context or experience referred to by the comments; 2) the generality vs. specificity of a question eliciting replies; 3) the basic vs. advanced knowledge required to interpret the meaning of comments.
- The context or experience affects how wide a range of possible ideas may be mentioned. For example, respondents asked to provide feedback about a logo design will have much less to talk about than respondents asked to describe their feelings about a two-hour theater production.
- How narrowly-focused or broad-ranging a question is, of course, will impact the difficulty of coding. Asking “What was the name of the brand of cereal in the commercial you just watched?” will be easier to process than, say, “Please tell us all the thoughts and feelings that come to mind about the commercial you just watched.”
- Responses and comments from the general public will be less difficult to code than from professionals in a field requiring advanced degrees, reacting to something specific to their field.
Who performs the work of coding and how?
We manage a corps of trained, vetted and hard-working coders who extract and categorize the meaningful essence of your raw text with sensitivity, thoroughness and accuracy. Their native language is English and they are well-acquainted with our socio-cultural trends. Coding is performed on a streamlined platform which permits flexibility and access to ’round-the-clock work online, but without significant set-up and usage fees that we would incur on a heavily built-out suite for text analytics.
How quickly will I receive the file with coding completed?
As with the price, the time it takes us to deliver completed results can vary depending on several variables (see above), and whether or not you provide a coding framework. Some additional time is required to develop the coding strategy for you, or to prepare coding from scanned images of handwritten text. For basic coding, turnaround time for the first 1000 (or fewer) text answers is 3 business days; add one more business day for 1001-2000, a fourth business day for 2001-3000, and so on.
Do you work in any language other than English?
Not at this time. Text to be coded, the codebooks and the deliverables are English language only.
What software does PNS use to design and deploy surveys?
PNS uses WebScape, a proprietary platform to improve the quality of online survey deployment. It has two main modules that go beyond typical DIY survey packages: stimulus presentation and quota control. WebScape is integrated with Snap Survey questionnaire design software. For more information about the features of WebScape, please click here.
What software does PNS use to classify responses to open-ended questions?
We use our TOES to categorize and count the impressions and ideas volunteered by survey participants. (“TOES” stands for The Open-Ends System.) For more information about the features of TOES, please click here.
What software does PNS use to perform statistical analyses?
PNS uses a combination of SPSS and a customized Excel macro that allows our analysts to quickly and efficiently run statistical tests on summary data from surveys, with the resulting output optimized for PowerPoint charts and tables. For more information about the features of STEM (Significance Testing Excel Macro), please click here.
Is any of the special software that PNS uses available for licensing?
Yes. WebScape, TOES, and STEM are all available for licensing. For more information about licensing, please contact us.
Costs and Payment
What does it cost?
The price of our survey support service starts at $2000. It can range up to $20,000, or more, when advanced analytics are requested. The costs of the sample are additional and billed at cost plus a 10-15% handling fee, depending on complexity. More detail on our pricing and our survey support tiers can be found here. We also offer a traditional full-service model for studies where you feel that is preferred.
Do you offer discounts for educational and non-profit organizations?
Yes. Please let us know your situation when you contact us.
Do you offer volume discounts?
Yes. Please let us know your situation when you contact us.
What are your payment terms?
We work on both a project basis and an hourly basis. For projects, we like to be paid half in advance and half upon completion. For hourly work, we use a retainer system. Each project receives a written scope of work and bid.