What is a Time Use Survey? | Time Survey Company

Topics and objectives covered vary from survey-to-survey. It is very unlikely to see two surveys from two separate market research companies cover the exact same line of questions and wording.

In market research, there are thousands of different reasons to commission online surveys, phone surveys, and mail surveys. These can range from understanding the appeal of a new product, testing the pricing for a new service, better understanding demographics of a customer base, and many more.

time use survey

Time use surveys are becoming an increasingly popular method to better understand demographics and behaviors of a target audience for various reasons.


What is a time use survey?

A common topic for surveys is to better understand how much time consumers spend on a variety of activities or chores as part of their day-to-day routine. This is what the market research industry calls a time use survey.

By partnering with a time use survey company, your organization is able to assess exactly how much time a consumer spends interacting with different activities, media, and products.

A time use survey can prove invaluable to helping a brand measure where to place advertising dollars, better understand product usage to aid development, and help organizations understand shared traits and commonalities across a customer base.

How does a time use survey work? Let’s go into some additional detail.


How Does a Time Use Survey Work?

The process for a time use survey is fairly straightforward. The first decision your organization will want to make is choosing the right methodology. Think about your target audience and the best way to obtain a representative view of their behavior.

If your target audience is those aged 65 or older, is an online survey the best way to obtain feedback on their day-to-day routine?

If your target audience is high-level CEOs, will they have the time and/or notice an email invite to participate in a survey?

These are items you’ll need to consider and it is why working with a time use survey company can help you. The partner can help guide your brand to make the best decision to move forward with your effort.

Time use surveys are broken down into several key steps. They include:

  1. Kickoff. The goal is to discuss objectives. Ask yourself: At the end of the day, what does our team want to learn from the time use survey? How will our team be using the time use survey results? Answers to those key questions will help you set the table for a successful survey project.
  2. Workplan. This is an often forgotten and undervalued piece of survey project management. The workplan should lay out key dates and responsible parties. The document should be shared with the entire team. Once you assign owners to tasks and dates, it holds the team accountable to ensure positive progress. These dates should include when the survey draft should be completed, when the survey aims to launch, and when the report will be compiled.
  3. Survey. We always recommend starting with an outline for your time use survey. Outlines are much easier to switch around and interchange than a full survey draft. Once the outline is put together, your team can then begin putting together a full survey draft with the appropriate question language and categories. If you are completing this online or through phone, it will need to be programmed. If you are completing the survey through the mail, it will need to be formatted for printing.
  4. Fieldwork. Always start with a soft-launch to ensure everything is working correctly before jumping head first. As your survey fieldwork progresses, you’ll want to keep a close eye on the results to make sure your team is getting everything you need.
  5. Analysis and reporting. This is where the fun begins (or ends). After fieldwork is concluded and you have run your quality checks, the final step is to put together a report to summarize all of the key metrics for your time use survey. The report should address all of your key and secondary objectives. Go back to your kickoff meeting notes or proposal from your time use survey company to ensure everything is covered.

What are Some Example Questions in a Time Use Survey?

Time use surveys can cover a large range of topics. However, all questions center around how much time is spent on a specific activity.

Here are some common examples of time use survey questions from our time use survey company.

  • In a typical day, how much time do you spend watching TV?
  • In a typical day, how much time do you spend driving in a vehicle?
  • In a typical day, how much time do you spend on social media?
  • In a typical day, how much time do you spend on the ESPN app?
  • In a typical day, how much time do you spend preparing breakfast?
  • In a typical day, how much time do you spend reading a newspaper?
  • In a typical day, how much time do you spend on email?
  • In a typical week, how much time do you spend vacuuming?
  • In a typical week, how much time do you spend sleeping?
  • In a typical week, how much time do you spend at a gym or fitness club?
  • In a typical month, how much time do you spend caring for children?
  • In a typical month, how much time do you spend working?

Contact Our Time Use Survey Company

Drive Research is a market research company specializing in time use surveys. Our team has the knowledge and tools to design a robust market research study, should it be the right fit for your business.

Interested in learning more about time use surveys or any of our other market research services? Reach out through any of the four ways below.

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

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