This article was written by our guest blogger Mark Dengler, President and Owner of Research & Marketing Strategies (RMS) and it will be featured in the upcoming edition of the RMS Newsletter.

This is an age where everyone wants instant results. Not only do we want it fast, but we want it cheap and accurate. Often with market research, this expectation is difficult to accommodate. The very nature of a research study is antithetical to the convenience concept. Most research involves thorough process design, extensive fieldwork and in-depth analysis.

There is a new modality that is gaining popularity among those looking for quick, inexpensive and targeted population segment results. Companies are embracing use of research panels. A research panel is a pre-qualified group of individuals who agree to participate in primary research studies, typically done through an online survey. Panels help businesses rapidly obtain accurate information on market segments of interest. This helps give them a competitive advantage.

Panel research helps companies target particular market segments and does so faster and at less cost than traditional research methods. Moreover, research panels are a way to help reach younger as well as niche markets. With the use of landlines continuing to diminish, this new research approach is key to reaching difficult population segments. With a research panel, you also are able to capture individuals who have already indicated a willingness to share their thoughts and opinions.

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Certainly, panel research also has its detriments. Most notable is concern regarding the integrity of the panel. With a self-selected “research ready” panel of participants, there is fear that these folks will behave (respond) differently than the typical individual because they know they are being studied (i.e. the Hawthorne effect). Therefore, there may be extensive bias in the responses. This is where effective panel management and targeted panel participant selection is critical.

It is very important that when using panel research, a company works with a research firm that is familiar with panel engagement and can verify that they can effectively design a study and utilize their panel to mitigate any bias issues. Use of a research panel to obtain quick, accurate results within a reasonable budget is only going to grow. This modality has proven itself to be an effective means for primary data collection. It is a modality whereby market researchers can meet the convenience and cost expectations of business customers.

Are you interested in discussing panel research with a market research firm in Syracuse, NY? Contact our Business Development Director Sandy Baker at or by calling 315-635-9802.