Conducting Surveys and Interviews: Explanation & Purpose

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  • 0:01 Primary Research
  • 0:44 Survey Research
  • 2:43 Interviews
  • 4:43 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Jennifer Lombardo
Conducting surveys and interviews can help many companies solve business problems by the creation of helpful primary data. Qualitative data is meaningful as it allows more detailed opinions, observations and information that allow better insight into making the best decisions.

Primary Research

Conducting surveys and interviews can aid many business decisions through the creation of primary data research. Primary data research is data that is observed or collected for the first time. Fancy Yogurt is trying to develop a brand new product for their retail stores. Sheila, a company food designer, has a fantastic idea about using a brand new sweetener with fat-free ingredients to create a decadent new chocolate yogurt. The biggest issue with primary data is that it is very expensive because the researcher is conducting his/her own research from scratch. Two forms of primary research are surveys and interviews. They are both very helpful for the purpose of gathering information.


Sheila is working with the marketing research department to come up with the best choices to conduct her research. One of her choices is survey research. This type of primary research is obtained by an individual who asks questions to acquire a collection of specific facts, opinions and attitudes. The types of surveys include in-home, personal, store intercept, telephone, mail and executive.

Sheila does not have the time to visit consumers at their home, so she has eliminated that type of survey. Sheila also does not care for using a mail survey because she feels that most consumers throw away mail surveys, plus the time it would take to get a response would be too long. A store intercept survey is a good start for Sheila as she could gather a large response very quickly from intercepting people shopping at the supermarket and asking their opinions about the new yogurt idea. Sheila thinks she would find it very useful if she could stop consumers in the dairy aisle to ask their opinion.

The executive survey would be more fitting if this were about asking professionals about a specific problem. For instance, one executive survey example would be to survey bank owners as to why small-town businesses are dying.

Sheila has spent time on designing a survey for her supermarket intercept. She has decided to use open-ended questions for the survey, which means that the interview question encourages an answer phrased in the respondent's own words. Sheila wanted to know if consumers would buy her fat-free chocolate yogurt with sweetener made from molasses.

She rejected the use of closed-ended survey questions because then the respondents would have to choose from a limited list of responses, such as yes or no. She did add one scaled-response question at the end of the survey. It is a closed-ended question designed to measure the intensity of a respondent's answer. She asked, 'Do you think fat-free yogurts are good for your health?' The answer selections would consist of strongly agree, agree, neutral, disagree or strongly disagree.


Another form of primary research is interviews, which are where an interviewer tries to elicit helpful personal information through conversation, probing and follow-up questions. Unstructured and structured are the two types of interviews.

Unstructured interviews are conversations with subjects that are conducted with no set questions and are very informal. Unstructured interviews do provide an enormous amount of qualitative data, which is observed but not measured, such as opinions. For example, Sheila has pages and pages of responses about whether fat-free food is good, if chocolate yogurt is a popular flavor and if the new sweetener would appeal to the consumer.

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