ESOMAR 28 Questions for Buyers of Online Sample.

ESOMAR is the global organisation that strives to enable better quality research of markets, consumers and societies. As part of their guidelines for conducting online research on the Internet, ESOMAR has a series of questions designed to help market researchers when purchasing and conducting online research.
The primary aim of these 28 Questions is to increase transparency and raise awareness of the key issues for researchers to consider when deciding whether an online sampling approach is fit for their purpose. Put another way, the aim is to help researchers to ensure that what they receive meets their
expectations. The questions are also designed to introduce consistent terminology for providers to state how they maintain quality, to enable buyers to compare the services of different sample suppliers. Notes on the context of the questions explain why the questions should be asked and which issues researchers should expect to be covered in the answer.
1. What experience does your company have in providing online samples for market research?
Opinion Space was launched in 2014 to act as a specialised ed African Opinion Space Answers;
2. Please describe and explain the type(s) of online sample sources from which you get respondents. Are these databases? Actively managed research panels? Direct marketing lists? Social networks? Web intercept (also known as river) samples?
Ours are actively managed membership research panels. We employ the following approaches to recruitment: Active recruitment through telephone Active recruitment through face to face (F2F) interactions Online recruitment using banners on different portals and websites Online recruitment through the signup portal using editorial space (media and publisher sources) Email recruitment through the own newsletters Specific invitations sent to the panel CATI & CAPI database. Email recruitment by sending invitations to a permission based database Social Networks Affiliate traffic.
3. If you provide samples from more than one source: How are the different sample sources blended together to ensure validity? How can this be replicated over time to provide reliability? How do you deal with the possibility of duplication of respondents across sources?
Own single source.
4. Are your sample source(s) used solely for market research? If not, what other purposes are they used for?
Solely for market research. Occasionally, as part of value for our community members, we invite them to network with like-minded or special interest groups if it’s to their benefits. For example, we may expose our student-members to Free learning or internship opportunities, we sometimes introduce SME owners on our panel to networking and training opportunities organised by NGOs, Bankers or Government’s empowerment programs provided they consent to such activities.
5. How do you source groups that may be hard to reach on the internet?
We employ river sampling through our network of affiliate promoters. Thus through web-intercepts situated on hundreds of partner sites we are able to reach beyond our registered panelists.
6. If, on a particular project, you need to supplement your sample(s) with sample(s) from other providers, how do you select those partners? Is it your policy to notify a client in advance when using a third party provider?
Yes. We try to deliver client requests but where we can’t, we use integrated panels with our clients’ consent.
7. What steps do you take to achieve a representative sample of the target population?
Our survey system supports quota control. Thus right from the very beginning before launch, we are able to set all regional, gender and income quotas for example such that these will be used in our internal first screener of sorts to the end that only open quotas are invited and allowed through to the client’s survey.
8. Do you employ a survey router?
No. All survey invitations are manually sent to participants by a skilled project manager. The aim is to ensure people are only invited to surveys that they are most-qualified for so as to enhance their experience on the community.
9. If you use a router: Please describe the allocation process within your router. How do you decide which surveys might be considered for a respondent? On what priority basis are respondents allocated to surveys?
We do not use a router.
10. If you use a router: What measures do you take to guard against, or mitigate, any bias arising from employing a router? How do you measure and report any bias?
We do not use a router.
11. If you use a router: Who in your company sets the parameters of the router? Is it a dedicated team or individual project managers?
We do not use a router.
12. What profiling data is held on respondents? How is it done? How does this differ across sample sources? How is it kept up-to-date? If no relevant profiling data is held, how are low incidence projects dealt with?
Standard profile data stored includes: email address, name, address, phone numbers, gender, postal code, year of birth, education level, occupation and all panel specific profiling. We also have a number of standard questions (8 category questions with 5+ sub questions) which are used across all countries to obtain detailed standardised data on panelists. These questions include questions pertaining to: automotive preferences, healthcare, employment, travel, etc. This data is updated every time panelists make changes to the profile information in their account, either proactively or through panel communications (profile survey s, newsletters, etc).
13. Please describe your survey invitation process. What is the proposition that people are offered to take part in individual surveys? What information about the project itself is given in the process? Apart from direct invitations to specific surveys (or to a router), what other means of invitation to surveys are respondents exposed to?
You should note that not all invitations to participate take the form of emails. The description of the process is best described in bulletins below. • a general description of the purpose of the project • the estimated length of interview • a statement of the confidentiality and anonymity of each respondent’s responses • the closing date for completed responses (if applicable) • access to full disclosure of incentive terms and conditions applying to the project • an explanation if the invitation is sent out on behalf of another research service provider (if applicable) • for panel members, the opportunity to unsubscribe or opt out of future research • an appropriate privacy policy or statement. There are also clear instructions within the invite if the respondent is required to undertake a particular task, or is required to have a specific software or capability on their PC, laptop, mobile or other device For those who do not wish to take part in the survey, there is a ‘ option that is embedded in the email The invite also includes a support email address for any queries relating to the survey. Alternatively, we also send push notifications to those with android devices to the same effect.
14. Please describe the incentives that respondents are offered for taking part in your surveys. How does this differ by sample source, by interview length, by respondent characteristics?
Opinion Space utilises a reward system based on points. The number of points awarded is driven by the length of interview (LOI). We have different value types of vouchers including airtime, cash, online shopping gift vouchers, checks or even mobile money. On reaching a points currency that can cover any of the gift options, panelists can redeem their rewards by purchasing any such vouchers with their points and have the item sent to them for utility. The size of the vouchers available is based on the number of points earned. Panelists can receive their rewards in cash sent to their mobile wallets (e.g. via MPesa/Airtel Money /MTN Mobile Money/ Ecocash Ewallet or Paypal as applicable). Incentive levels have been set to encourage long term participation and to discourage professional respondents who seek to take surveys only to obtain payment. A key feature that drives long term participation is that we choose a flexible incentive model that works best for our members across the continent.
15. What information about a project do you need in order to give an accurate estimate of feasibility using your own resources?
We would need: • The demographics being sought (age, gender, regions, etc.) • Any non- demographic targeting or behavioral criteria necessary to qualify • Any quotas or sub quotas which need to be achieved • Additional sampling (deployment) criteria if applicable (i.e. census representative deployment or balanced send outs to initiate e the survey) • Estimated Length of the survey. • The estimated Incidence ratio within the general or specific target group.
16. Do you measure respondent satisfaction? Is this information made available to clients?
Opinion Space has a panelist/respondent satisfaction program. Every respondent that completes a questionnaire has the option to voice their opinion. They are asked set questions on survey length, logic, language and are also able to give feedback in an open text box. This information is available to clients upon request. We also analyse this information on an ongoing basis to identify any room for improvement on our part.
17. What information do you provide to debrief your client after the project has finished?
For each project, we provide standard information on number of responses, status of responses (i.e. completes, screen outs, quota full and drop outs) as well as average length of interview and infield incidence rate. We also offer on request other statistics to the depth of dropouts, screen outs, quality terminates and any hits of bad geo IP.
18. Who is responsible for data quality checks? If it is you, do you have in place procedures to reduce or eliminate undesired within survey behaviour, such as (a) random responding, (b) Illogical or inconsistent responding, (c) overuse of item non-response (e.g. “Don’t Know”) or (d) speeding (too rapid survey completion)? Please describe these procedures.
In general, Opinion Space does not host the questionnaires for data collection. Accordingly, Opinion Space, mostly works with clients to have them deploy appropriate validation checks, including but not limited to: analysis of questionnaire completion time, data outliers, unanswered questions and patterned responses. We further encourage our clients to add straight lining, red herring questions and other data quality checks to their surveys. Respondents who do not pass these checks do not qualify as completes and do not qualify for an incentive. If a client reports cheaters in a survey, Opinion Space project managers remove these from the survey through Our panel system and alert the Panel management department with the list of (impacted panelist IDs). Opinion Space’s panel system also maintains a record of these IDs internally. After a panelist receives “three strikes,” they are taken out of the panel permanently and denied any future access.
19. How often can the same individual be contacted to take part in a survey within a specified period whether they respond to the contact or not? How does this vary across your sample sources?
We monitor the frequency of participation of all panel members on Opinion Space. Every panelist is also given a score based on their responsiveness. We hold detailed data for each panelist on which survey they have taken part in; therefore, a panelist can easily be included or excluded in another survey. We also set a minimum quarantine period (i.e. the time between survey invitation mailings) to ensure panelists do not receive too many invitations. Regardless of sample source, the policy allows for one invite and one reminder to a single survey opportunity. Typical lock out periods for inviting to a new survey opportunity is seven days, but this can be vary depending on the country and panel.
20. How often can the same individual take part in a survey within a specified period? How does this vary across your sample sources? How do you manage this within categories and/or time periods?
Panelist may only complete the same survey once. Deduplication, re use and the lock out period for quota fulls or terminates is set on a per project basis based on client preference. The default allows no re-entry once an official status (complete, terminate, etc.) is achieved. For tracking surveys, de- duplication, re-use or lock out period for subsequent waves is applied according to client preference.
21. Do you maintain individual-level data such as recent participation history, date of entry, source, etc., on your survey respondents? Are you able to supply your client with a project analysis of such individual-level data?
Opinion Space saves detailed panelist participation data which includes: panelist join date, last participation date, transaction history on all surveys, redemptions, reward points transactions, etc. As Opinion Space strictly adheres to all applicable privacy law and regulation, personally identifiable information is never made available. Opinion Space includes an automated system that ensures all panelists are ‘quarantined’ after participating in a survey, meaning they cannot be sent another survey for a certain amount of time. The standard quarantine period on Opinion Space is seven days; however, this can vary by panelist. Opinion Space utilise an indexing system which gives each panelist a score depending on how active they are with respect to survey participation. A participation history is recorded and additional exclusion can be applied on a subject category. Opinion Space uses an advanced subject category quarantine capability which is available to those clients who need it. Respondents can also be excluded from future surveys by excluding previous projects when we are selecting sample. Upon request Opinion Space can provide participation history reports to clients on request.
22. Do you have a confirmation of respondent identity procedure? Do you have procedures to detect fraudulent respondents? Please describe these procedures as they are implemented at sample source registration and/or at the point of entry to a survey or router. If you offer B2B samples what are the procedures there, if any?
Opinion Space ’s has a range of features to deal with professional/ duplicate respondents. The system includes stratified sampling to get various types of respondents, including active and less active panelists. The length of the survey is evaluated and compared against individual answers. Opinion Space identifies and excludes multiple panel respondents both through email address , mobile number and by name. Opinion Space has a panel quality team that continuously analyses panel data to identify ‘fraudulent’ or ‘inattentive’ panelists. Panelist status is updated periodically. All panelists who remain entirely inactive for over a year are automatically quarantined until they re activate their account by logging in once more. As all research stakeholders would agree, quality of response is also affected by the quality of the questionnaire. Opinion Space project managers provide feedback to clients of all potential issues which could affect fieldwork, both before project launch as well as on project completion
23. Please describe the ‘opt-in for market research’ processes for all your online sample sources.
At the time of panel recruitment, panelists are made aware of the purpose of the panel (i.e. to take part in market research). Each panelist is double opted in. When invites are sent out to panelists, they are notified of the confidential nature of their responses and given the opportunity to ‘opt out’ of the panel. As part of the registration process, panelists are asked to fill out several key profiling questions, including a confirmation of their consent to join the market research panel. Upon confirmation, the panelist will receive an automatic email sent directly to the email address they provided in the registration process, allowing them to double opt in to the panel. The email contains a link within it, as well as a user name and password. The link will direct them back to the panelist site, hosted on our secured servers where the panelist signs in with their username and password.
24. Please provide a link to your Privacy Policy. How is your Privacy Policy provided to your respondents?
Opinion Space’s Privacy Policy privacy policy is included on panelist invites, on the website and the mobile application interface. Opinion Space Panelist Privacy Policy:
25. Please describe the measures you take to ensure data protection and data security.
Opinion Space and its clients are all required to adhere to local data protection laws and legislation. All panelist information is treated in the strictest of confidence and follows all applicable national or international law and regulations. If any research results or confidential information is provided by a client, it is not used in any other research project unless the client authorises it. Other security measures in place include SAMPLING SECURITY: Access to project information is only granted to the project manager who runs each project. Users are automatically logged off after a given period of non-activity. Users must sign in using a username and password Respondents reach their surveys by GUIDS (globally unique identifiers) PANEL MANAGEMENT SECURITY: Access panel and panelist information is not granted to anyone outside the company and even within such permission is only granted partially to support staff & the developer who maintains the system. This does not include any personally identifiable data. Users are automatically logged off after a given period of non-activity. Security Assessments, the SaaS Environment: The SaaS environment has been designed with security, high availability and performance in mind All servers, services and networks are monitored 24 7 by both Our software teams and our hosting partner with operation teams on continuous availability. The system uses Secure Sockets Layers (SSL) for all sampling, panel management and critical panelist information.
26. What practices do you follow to decide whether online research should be used to present commercially sensitive client data or materials to survey respondents?
Opinion Space performs a quality check on every survey before it is made available to panelists. Project managers thoroughly test survey links for: Correct implementation of re directs Appropriate survey logic Appropriate language Accurate quota set up Appropriate interview length Whether or not there is any personal, sensitive or prohibited questions being asked Whether or not panelists can choose a ‘prefer not to answer’ option with any income or ethnicity questions Overall quality and flow. If the survey contains any sensitive material or content, then that is clearly cited in the survey invite and, where appropriate within the survey, giving panelists the opportunity to opt out. As required, Opinion Space Exercises Nondisclosure Agreements (NDAs) with clients and panelists, highlighting the sensitivity of the material. These NDAs mandate that all information within the survey must be kept confidential and any breach of proprietary information may be cause for legal action. Opinion Space maintains a detailed inventory of all relevant national privacy law and regulations to ensure Up-to-date compliance. If any item in the questionnaire or its fielding are not to compliance with Opinion Space quality standards, the project manager will promptly communicate with the client making recommendations for any necessary changes. All such interactions are logged.
27. Are you certified to any specific quality system? If so, which one(s)?
Yes. Our system is certified to ISO 20252 and complies with ISO 26362 where possible. Accordingly, we can ensure that all controls and procedures for project execution meet the requirements of ISO 20252 and where possible, ISO 26326. This includes: Organizational structure and responsibilities, Confidentiality of research, Research documents and records management, Outsourcing of services, Project management, Recruitment measures, Panel structure and size, panel management, panel usage, Client reporting Data collection, validation, management and processing. Professional rules of conduct MRS/ESOMAR While there exists no uniform privacy regulations in Africa, Opinion Space has considered and adopted EUGDPR as a standard to align with equivalent local regulations and guidelines that are either already active or brewing in Parliaments and African Law Makers. Such local regulation includes NITDA Guidelines Nigeria, and the 2013 POPIA Act S. Africa. Opinion Space also recognises and adheres to MSRA, NIMRA, SAMRA, MRS and ESOMAR association guidelines and professional standards. Further, Opinion Space has put in place procedures to ensure high quality services from our project managers or subcontractors.
28. Do you conduct online surveys with children and young people? If so, do you adhere to the standards that ESOMAR provides? What other rules or standards, for example, COPPA in the United States, do you comply with?
No. We do not allow the registration of persons under the age of 14 (oldest definition of a minor in all our coverage markets) to register on our community. However, we allow targeting parents based on their profile information and asking if they wish to pass the survey to their children thus establishing parental consent.