How to Test the Credibility of Market Research Data

What value does market research bring to an organization if the data collected is not credible? Market research is conducted to provide valuable and action driven insights to move business and marketing strategies forward.

How can you test the credibility of market research data? Here are a few tips to start:

  • Tip #1: Identity the sponsor of the study
  • Tip #2: Learn the background and methodology of the study
  • Tip #3: Assess the questions asked in the study
  • Tip #4: Ask questions about the data

In this blog post, we'll discuss these four tips in greater detail to bring you one step closer to finding truthful, powerful market research data.

How to Test the Credibility of Market Research Data

Not all market research data is created equal. Learn how to recognize potential red flags and determine the credibility of research reports.


Tip #1: Assess the credibility of the market research company

First, and likely one of the more obvious, is to find out what company conducted the market research study as well as who sponsored it. That's right, the company who conducted the market research study is not always the sponsor of the advertised data.

The company that conducted the market research study refers to the company that actually completed the market research. Moreover, this refers to the company that designed the research, recruited participants, conducted the analysis, and completed the report. In some cases, there may be more than one company that works together to conduct a market research project.

The company that sponsored the market research study refers to the company that paid for it to be completed. Moreover, this refers to the company who funded the project. In some cases, there may be more than one sponsor to a market research project.

This isn't to say a market research project can't also be sponsored and conducted by the same market research company. It's all in the details.

Wondering why?

There is a risk of bias in market research. Some companies understand how to overcome bias and others use it to their advantage. Again, the key is to understand what company conducted the study, what company sponsored the study, and why. A quick review of their website(s), should give you enough information to understand if they are a trusted market research company.

Learn more about market research bias and how to avoid it at all costs!


Tip #2: Research the study's background and methodology

The background and methodology of the research study is the next piece to review. This information is accessible in one of two ways. It may be available to all readers, or readers may need to request it from the market research company who conducted the study.

The details about the background and methodology of the study are usually first in a market research report. This is because it establishes credibility among any industry.

These details of a market research report include:

  • Project goals
  • Project objective
  • Research approach
  • Market research methods used
  • Number of participants
  • Margin of error

For example, suppose a market research report included a statistic that read, "100% of Drive Research employees love coffee." However, through reading the background and methodology of the study we learn only one employee answered this question, so the sample size is too small to be credible. Also, we learn the reason for sharing this stat is to try to get free coffee. This statistic seems fishy now, right?


Tip #3: Evaluate the questions asked

A great tip for assessing the credibility of market research data is evaluating the type of questions asked during the research, such as how they are phrased. More specifically, be on the look out for bias in how the question is asked and how response options are shown.

Review this example of question phrasing bias:

Q: What is the first thing you drink in the morning, knowing coffee is the greatest beverage on the planet?

Clearly, this question is leading.

An example of response option bias is:

Q: What is your favorite beverage?

a. Coffee

b. Latte

c. Cold brew coffee

These response options force respondents to choose a coffee related beverage in fear they are choosing the wrong answer, even though this is an opinionated question. To avoid bias and errors it is best the response options be mutually exclusive and collectively exhaustive.


Tip #4: Question the market research data

The last tip is pretty simple. Ask questions if data seems fishy or there is a lack of detail about how data was gathered.

Ask about the sponsor of the study, who conducted the study, background and methodology of the study, a copy of the research tool/script used, and other details that could lead to bias in results.

The goal is to identify bias before conducting market research or using the results.


Contact Drive Research, Leading Market Research Company

Drive Research is a leading market research company located in Syracuse, NY. Our team specializes in custom market research studies such as online surveys, focus groups, Voice of Customer (VoC) research, and more.

Want to learn more about our market research services?

Here are four ways to reach us:

Message us on our website
Email us at info@driveresearch.com
Call us at 888-725-DATA
Text us at 315-303-2040