Article by Patrick Fiorenza, RMS Director of Research Analytics –

Mixed-mode research uses various data collection strategies within a single survey. This can include CATI (computer-assisted telephone interviewing), mail, text, mobile, or web survey administration. There are different ways a mixed-mode study can be designed. For example, individuals may receive an email soliciting electronic participation and a postcard with a QR Code. Later, during fieldwork, they might receive a phone call asking for their verbal input. Sequencing the fieldwork in this manner leads to many efficiencies and benefits, helping to collect valid and reliable data and leading to stronger insights and recommendations for a market research project. There are numerous benefits to conducting a mixed-mode survey, some of which we discuss below.

  1. Increased Response Rates: One of the most obvious benefits is that, through multiple data collection modes, more people have access and opportunity to participate in the survey.
  2. Increased Reach: The different modes will likely cater to different audiences. By giving various options, you can ensure you are not excluding one demographic while catering to another.
  3. Faster Fieldwork: Offering different options to participate, and having various reminders built in, can help move fieldwork along faster.
  4. Increased Efficiencies: With a mixed-mode project, you can better manage costs by leveraging lower-cost strategies first, followed by higher-cost activities, if necessary.

There is no hard or fast rule about which sequence to use in conducting fieldwork. However, a good rule of thumb is to fully leverage the lower-cost options first, then move to higher-cost strategies, as noted above. The order and sequence may change when the study is soliciting participation from hard-to-reach populations.

Here is an example of how a mixed-mode study could look:

Great Lakes Medical (a fictitious company in this example) was looking to understand its brand perception in its Primary Market Area (PMA). RMS and Great Lakes Medical collaborated to design a 10-minute mixed-mode survey. RMS recommended that Great Lakes leverage the RMS ViewPoint Panel for online survey administration. To make sure the sample was representative, RMS and Great Lakes Medical also decided to have a phone component, in which RMS QualiSight staff called individuals asking for their participation and conducted reminder calls for the online survey. Finally, to ensure full representation from the community, Great Lakes Medical mailed a postcard with a QR Code to specific ZIP Codes.

As you can tell from this example, Great Lakes and RMS designed a robust survey and created a comprehensive mixed-mode fieldwork strategy to help Great Lakes fully understand their brand and image perception in their community. Of course, the Great Lakes Medical example is not the only way to manage fieldwork in a mixed-mode study. The skilled survey and research team at RMS can help guide you through the right sequence and modes of research for your specific needs. This will save you time and money while leading to stronger insights from your data that can be trusted to enhance your organization’s future.

About the Author – Patrick Fiorenza

Patrick brings years of market research experience to the RMS Research Analytics team. His preliminary focus encompasses designing, implementing, gathering, and analyzing results from proven research methods created to obtain credible data to help guide decision-making across a variety of industries.

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About RMS

Research & Marketing Strategies, Inc. (RMS) is a full-service market research firm in Central New York. Formed in 2002, RMS helps organizations that are looking to know more about their customers and/or potential customers. They conduct surveys, focus groups, mystery shopping, studies and analysis. Each project is customized and gets personal attention by the best in the business. RMS has a reputation for getting results and offers an independent means to conduct telephone, on-line and mail surveying, In-depth interviews, intercept interviews, and participant recruitment as well as focus group hosting through QualiSight, its onsite call center and focus group facility. Taking advantage of the region’s reputation for being a great market study barometer, RMS recruits and moderates for focus groups, community forums and town meetings.