What is Paradata in Market Research?

In a market research survey, not all data is derived from the respondent. Several other data points can prove extremely useful and valuable come analysis time beyond the primary feedback received directly from survey respondents. This additional data can be reviewed and analyzed much like customer feedback. When combined with customer feedback it adds significant value to your market research analysis and reporting.

What is Paradata in Market Research?

What is paradata in market research?


What is Paradata?

Paradata is data collected in the market research process about the process and methodology itself, not the customer or non-customer answers to questions. Paradata is known data points so it saves time from having to ask the respondent.

The best way to explain what paradata is and how it works is through some examples.

What are Some Examples of Paradata?

Paradata can be automatically collected through a survey software or logged by the interviewer administering the survey. Here are 5 examples of paradata from a variety of survey methodologies.

Length of Interview (LOI)

This may be the most common paradata variable. This is logged by the survey software by times of access from the online survey takers. It is also logged in the CATI system during telephone interviews. This represents the length of time the interview took to complete from start-to-finish.

There is a caution here when reviewing this LOI in online surveys because an analyst can never be sure the respondent completed the survey in one sitting. How distracted are you when on the web? Do you jump from tab-to-tab online? Survey takers may do the same extending the average LOI longer than it really is.

Date and Time of Interview

Very simple paradata but this logs things like the day of week, date of the interview, time the interview started, and time the interview ended.

Location of Interview

This is important in both online surveys and intercept surveys. If you are responding to an online survey for a grocery store, wouldn't the grocery store want to know which location the respondent is rating. Seeded paradata ensures the client the data can be separated without having to ask the respondent which store he or she visited. This is also true with intercept surveys where the interviewer may want to log the nearest exit or building they completed the survey in.

Characters in an Open-Ended Response

The number of characters used in an open-end can also be considered paradata. This allows length of response to be another variable to analyze in the open-ended comments and sentiment.

Interviewer Initials

A very simple form of paradata, but the interviewer conducting the interview can log his or her initials to tie to the survey. From a management perspective, this paradata allows the call center manager to breakdown cases by caller for training and evaluation purposes.


Drive Research is a market research company in Utica, NY. We specialize in a variety of market research services including Voice of Customer (VoC), Customer Experience (CX), online surveys and phone interviews.

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