Survey Instrument

Starting in 2005/06, the survey document was an internet-based questionnaire which respondents received through internet invitations. (In 2004 and prior years, the survey document was a self-administered questionnaire which respondents received through the mail.) The questionnaires were developed utilizing NRC's experience in the design and implementation of hundreds of custom research studies. Questions were designed to meet the objectives determined from the combined input of marketing directors and strategic planners nationwide. The questions were presented in a clear and concise manner, in an easy-to-understand format, and the questionnaire was thoroughly pre-tested in an actual field situation to ensure respondents' question comprehension.

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Survey Timing

Beginning in May 2008, ongoing data collection was implemented for the survey. Internet survey invitations begin on the first of each month with returns completed by the 22nd.

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The Sample

The outgoing survey invitations consisted of households nationally representative of the 48 contiguous United States. The national balancing criteria included:

  • U.S. Census Regions
  • Age of Head of Household
  • Population Density

The survey data was electronically coded and tabulated by National Research Corporation according to an innovative and thorough tabulation specification plan.

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Weighting the Data

To ensure proper sample representation within each tabulated market area, the data was weighted according to a number of key demographic variables:

  • Age of Head of Household
  • Area Population
  • Household Income
  • Race
  • Presence of Children
  • Marital Status

Weighting ensures that the sample is representative. For example, if 20 percent of the households within your market area are headed by a family member 18 to 24 years of age, then within the sample 20 percent of the area heads of households are 18 to 24 years of age. This pattern is held consistent across all variables applied in the weighting procedures.

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