panel survey

Panel Survey: Definition

Panel survey as a market research method is a type of longitudinal survey. It can be a qualitative or quantitative survey used to measure people’s behavior. Using panel survey, data can be collected in various ways, starting from conducting interview to using online surveys or even scanning barcodes.

User-centered design (UCD) aims at increasing usability of a product or service. It involves the users to design a process of have iterations of design solutions. In such cases where UCD is applied, qualitative data is most valuable and this data can be collected using panel survey.

History of Panel Survey

Panel survey helps in collecting the same data, for a longer period of time, from a group of people, target audience. The commercial use of panel survey started as early as 1948. However, during that time panel surveys were mostly restricted to paper and pencil.

Since then, panel survey has come a long way. Electrical instruments have been used since long to collect data using panel survey. The Internet has made the revolution in the way data is collected in the last decade or so.

The validity of the survey is ensured by a large sample size. From a market research point of view where the maximum focus is to have valid and extensive data, this data is quantitative and can be measured using statistical methods. Panel surveys are quite handy in collecting such data. Data collected through panel enable the possibility of combining accurate measurement of parameters and individual behavior.

Learn More: Build a strong panel with QuestionPro Audience

Panel Survey Examples

As mentioned above, panel surveys are used to measure accurately certain parameters and human behaviors. For example, this type of survey is used to collect and analyze data regarding pricing of a product, effectiveness of an advertisement or to project sales numbers.

Panel survey is used for panel research to track continuous consumer purchasing habit, like purchasing groceries, food and drinks, electronic gadgets, clothing items, toiletries etc.  

User-centered design for panel surveys makes use of focus groups. In this, a moderator is assigned to a small group of people usually 6-10. The moderator facilitates discussions amongst the people in the group. Focus groups consist of participants who have fair knowledge of the subject matter being discussed for the purpose of data collection.

Learn More: Qualified Survey Respondents and Survey Research Panel

Panel Survey Design

It is important that a survey is designed carefully and with a goal in mind. A reliable and meaningful data can be collected when there is a maximum response to a survey. When you design and deploy panel survey, the same principles are applicable. Let us now understand the key attributes while designing a panel survey:

  1. First, set your goals: One of the most important attributes to designing a panel survey is defining a purpose of the survey. If at any point in time, the goal of survey is unclear it is recommended to reinstate the purpose of survey and then start with defining other attributes. Asking “why” is the first vital step. For example, the goal of a survey could be to analyze the impact of the royal wedding on the micro-economy of the country.
  1. Know your target audience: Once “why” is answered, to be able to collect data relevant to study purpose, it is important to reach out to the right set of people. Identifying the right panel to deploy survey is a critical aspect and is heavily dependent on structure and mode of survey. For example, if a researcher needs to understand the microeconomy of a country target audience for this particular survey would be respondents between the age group of 25-60, who would have fair understanding about the subject matter.
  1. Ask the right questions: As mentioned earlier, panel survey can be deployed to collect both qualitative and quantitative data. Researcher needs to be careful which type of survey questions they need to ask, whether quantitative or qualitative questions to be able to gather correct data that can be used to make informed decisions by businesses and organizations. A good mix of open-ended questions and close ended questions can help respondents answer survey with maximum efficiency.
  1. Structure the survey: Once the type of questions are decided, it is equally important to structure the panel survey so that the questions are not randomly placed and confuse respondents. If respondents get confused while answering survey they might end up leaving it half filled or possibilities are they might not fill it at all. A well-structured survey will help respondents understand and respond well to the survey.
  1. Take your survey for a spin: Once all the above attributes are covered, it is advisable to deploy the survey first to a test group and take feedback on the length of survey, types of questions asked, structure of survey, if they had any other issues while filling it out. Work on changes if necessary and finally deploy survey to the target audience.

Learn more: Best range of survey design