What is Validation in Market Research? | Voice of Customer (VoC) Rochester

As the days of one-way passive market research communication through online surveys and mobile surveys have become the norm, data quality has come under the microscope. Since Voice of Customer (VoC) firms in Rochester like Drive Research are at the mercy of what is typed by a respondent, additional time must be taken to ensure data quality on the back-end. This one-way communication where a respondent fills out an online survey without any human-to-human interaction leaves the window open for speeders, reward seekers, and ballot box stuffing. None of these are pluses for market research data quality.

Going back 10 or 15 years in the market research industry, data quality was less of an issue or at least a different kind of issue. Since the majority of surveys were completed via telephone, two-way communication was the standard where a telephone interviewer spoke directly with a respondent. Phone interviewers could follow-up with respondents for clarity and data quality remained strong. Phone interviewers were the live quality auditors as the survey data was being collected.

What is Validation in Market Research? | Voice of Customer (VoC) Rochester

Validation is often required in market research.


What is Validation in Market Research?

Validation in market research is a built-in quality control measure and safeguard created for online and mobile surveys. Validation is when a follow-up wave of research is conducted to ensure answers from Wave 1 match those of Wave 2.

A simple example of this is focus group confirmation calls. If you used a pre-screener online survey or email survey to qualify participants for a focus group, the last thing you want is for the participants to show up in person and realize their answers do not match their email survey responses from a few weeks ago. Validation calls can be placed to the respondent to check if the responses from the phone re-screener match the original online survey responses. If they do not, the respondent can be terminated from the market research study.

Validation doesn't always have to be by phone. The validation can be through any other form of methodology. The key is that the validation needs to be a separate wave of market research. The safeguard re-asks the same questions through any of the following modes: mail survey, a second online survey or email survey, or telephone survey.

In focus groups, the validation can occur as participants sign-in and are waiting to enter the focus group however this is often too late to take action.

Once you find out the participant has changed their answers or they do not match the original screening criteria, it is too late to find a replacement. Whereas if the validation call or email was placed weeks ahead of time, it would allow ample time for the market research firm to find a suitable replacement.

With the number of online and email surveys flying around, respondents have become extra "click happy". This is even true on mobile devices where it can be difficult to select the correct radio button on a multiple response question ("the fat finger scenario"). Validation helps ensure respondents have reported truthful data and that the market research data is accurately reflective of the feelings and behaviors of respondents.


Drive Research is a Voice of Customer (VoC) firm in Rochester, NY. Our VoC services include online surveys, email surveys, phone interviews, and user experience (UX).

Interested in learning more about our VoC services? Contact us at info@driveresearch.com or call us at 315-303-2040.

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