SSI: Matrixes Make Us Cry, Too.

“We know respondents don’t like grids,” Jackie Lorch, SSI VP, Global Knowledge Management, points out. “They’ve been telling us that for years in focus groups and feedback, but we’ve always thought of grids as a necessary evil in questionnaire design. Now, we’re beginning to learn that not only are grids frustrating for respondents – they actually produce inferior data.”


Here’s a link to the full report.

L0t there to digest. What do you all think?



Filed under answer choices, Market Research, matrixes make me cry, The cancer that is killing market research, web research

4 responses to “SSI: Matrixes Make Us Cry, Too.

  1. lightboxer

    I know I’ve always hated grids…interesting piece of research – thanks.

  2. Bobo

    So SSI hate grids. Good. But if you look at their reasons, they seem to be suggesting that, because grids cause people to give ill-considered answers, we need a format which is *even more* boring and laborious, in order to weed out the lazy respondents and keep the good ones. Is that really the brave future of online research?

  3. First, I disagree with the premise that the respondents who are willing to answer question after question after question, whether in grid format or otherwise, are the “good ones,” and that the others are “lazy.” I would suggest that those who would be willing to answer that many questions, regardless of their format, are actually the most problematic respondents, and are not very representative of most larger universes.

    The real solution, as usual, is to stop abusing respondents by assuming it’s OK to ask that many questions, regardless of format. It’s just not. SSI’s research showing you CAN do so doesn’t to me suggest you SHOULD.

    That being said, my personal experience in telephone-based research is that if you have ten things for respondents to react to — brands, politicians, whatever — it’s actually faster and easier to ask a series of ten nearly identical questions than it is to ask a single question where respondents have to pick one of the ten. That of course assumes the questions are short, to the point, use the same scale, and can be interrupted as soon as the respondent is ready. I think the web equivalent exists, though I’ve seen it pretty infrequently; it requires careful layout of the question elements and it requires the system to accept a response just as soon as it’s entered — no forcing the respondent to click “yes” in one place and then move the mouse to click a submit button; just take the “yes” when it’s clicked. Similarly, sliders are better than radio buttons when you’re doing a scale, etc.

  4. vvvladut

    I hate sliders. Why are sliders better? They require more clicks than a radio button scale, if I’m not mistaking.

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