Market Research Questions: Types and how to best use them

What is Market Research?

Market research is the process of collecting, analyzing and examining information about a market, related to a product or service that is offered by a certain brand.

Market research has evolved through the years, the internet has now replaced the conventional face-to-face interaction or personal interviews to gather first-hand information. They are primarily categorized into two types: Quantitative Market Research and Qualitative Market Research. Today, the best way to conduct market research is through surveys or questionnaires: ask the right market research questions!

Accurate information is the pillar of any successful business because it provides the perspective of new and existing customers and business competition. It helps business or organization owners to determine if the resources and financial investments that they are aligning with a new product or service will reap any profitability in future or not.

Fundamental Levels of Measurement in Market Research Questions

There are 4 basic fundamental measurement scales, nominal, ordinal, interval and ratio; that help arrange data collected in market research for statistical data analysis purposes. These are used to capture data in the form of surveys and questionnaires, where each being a multiple-choice question.  

Each scale is an incremental level of measurement, meaning, each scale fulfills the function of the previous scale and all survey question scales such as Likert, Semantic Differential, Dichotomous questions etc, are the derivation of this these 4 fundamental levels of variable measurement. Before we discuss all four levels of measurement scales in details, with examples, let’s have a quick brief look at what these scales represent.


  • Nominal Scale – 1st Level of Measurement


Nominal Scale, also called the categorical variable scale, is defined as a scale used for labeling variables into distinct classifications and doesn’t involve a quantitative value or order. The options are assigned a number that can be decided by the researcher but changing the order of the options doesn’t impact the scale as the variables are independent of the options. Nominal data can never be quantified but the data analysis can be conducted by asking an open-ended question and coding the subsequent responses or having pre-coded multiple choice questions. Examples of a nominal scale are gender, place of work or residence, preference of pizza toppings, etc.


  • Ordinal Scale – 2nd Level of Measurement


Ordinal Scale is the 2nd level of measurement that reports the ranking and ordering of the data without actually establishing the degree of variation between them. Examples of the ordinal scale satisfaction, happiness and grades. This makes the Likert Scale a perfect example of an ordinal scale as it provides options on the basis of lowest to highest but doesn’t provide quantifiable difference between two options. Ordinal scale data is generally represented in a tabular form to allow for easy further market research analysis.

Learn more: Nominal Scale vs Ordinal Scale


  • Interval Scale – 3rd Level of Measurement


The Interval Scale is defined as a numerical scale where the order of the variables is known as well as the interval between these variables. In other words, the variables are measured in actuals and not as a relative manner, where the presence of zero is arbitrary. For example, temperature, income, IQ etc. can be defined by the interval scale. Net Promoter Score, Semantic Differential Scale, Bipolar Matrix Table etc. are the most-used interval scale examples. The interval scale data can be added or subtracted but cannot be divided or multiplied.  Since interval data is a quantitative data type, multiple data analysis methods like SWOT analysis, TURF analysis, conjoint analysis and trend analysis can be conducted.


  • Ratio Scale – 4th Level of Measurement


The Ratio Scale is the penultimate measurement scale that has the features of all the above 3 scales along with the presence of an absolute zero. It is calculated by assuming that the variables have an option for zero, the difference between the two variables is the same and there is a specific order between the options. Some examples of ratio scale are weight, height, time etc. where there is no presence of a negative value. The ratio data scale values can be added, subtracted, divided and multiplied and a unique statistical analysis is possible for ratio data.

Learn more: Interval Scale vs Ratio Scale

Types of Market Research Questions: 10 Market Research Question Types with Examples

The fundamental of market research is asking the right questions to collect the right data, be it qualitative or quantitative data. Qualitative data can be collected by focus groups, interviews, longitudinal studies and more. Quantitative data can be collected through surveys, questionnaires and interviews. Some of the most widely used question types are:


Market Research Questions: Open-ended or Close-ended?

A good conversation involves asking the right questions to know more. Similarly, in market research, there is a lot of value in asking questions to get the most appropriate information.

So what are the types of question should one ask to get an apt response: open-ended questions or closed ended questions?

Both these market research question types have their fair share of advantage, but in this section, we shall focus more on open ended questions.  

Deploying a questionnaire or face to face interviews open ended questions generate better responses. This market research question type lets the respondent answer the question in depth and gives them the liberty to respond without inhibition, contrary to closed ended questions where the respondents to need to choose from the already existing answer options.

However, it is often seen that closed-ended and open-ended questions are used in conjunction. It’s easier to answer a Yes/No question, but if it is followed by an open ended question then you’ll  often get better participation from your respondents.

Closed-Ended vs Open- Ended Market Research Questions

Closed-Ended Questions Open-Ended Questions
Are you satisfied with our product?

  • Yes
  • No
How satisfied or dissatisfied are you with our product?
Is the product useful for you?

  • Yes
  • No
How useful do you think you think this product is? Kindly share your feedback.
Do you think you would use this product regularly?

  • Yes
  • No
  • Maybe
How might this product change the way you things on a daily basis?
Is this product easy to use?

  • Yes
  • No
What was the most confusing about the product?
Was the given information regarding the product sufficient?

  • Yes
  • No
Would you like to know more about the product?

How to best use the Market Research Questions?

It’s certainly not an easy task to know what your customers think. But you will be able to better connect with them through the right market research questions. To make sure you’re getting the most responses to your market research questions follow these tips.

1. Understand your target audience: You need you know why you are reaching out to your respondents. Knowing about their demographics will help you frame your market research questions better.

2. Don’t bug your respondents: Make sure you send survey or questionnaires to your respondents at intervals. Don’t  bug your respondents to a point where they stop responding to you.

3. It’s all about great timing: Make sure your surveys are sensibly timed and has appropriate questions, for example, it’s always good to send a feedback survey to a customer after he has made a purchase with you so that he/she is able to give a better feedback about their experience.

4. Make your respondents feel valuable: Let your respondents know, their responses to the market research questions are valuable and will be put to practice and that their suggestions will be implemented to improve the services or the product.