Quantitative Market Research In China

Quantitative Research in China

Overview of Quantitative Research in China

Pre-recruit Face-To-Face Interview

This method entails personal interviews with a specific pre-screened target population. It provides a good environment for data collection and promotes privacy to respondents in answering sensitive questions.

Applicable method recommendations include:
  • Respondents are carefully selected in order to meet eligibility requirements.
  • Interviews are conducted in long but acceptable duration.
  • The use open-ended questions help respondents to open and share their own opinions and perceptions about a certain product or service.
  • Conduct of face to face interview is done one respondent at a time.
  • Suitable for busy and hard to reach type of respondents.
  • Face to face interview can be conducted to anywhere for as long as both the researcher and the respondent feels comfortable with the place.
  • Suitable for sensitive research topics.
  • Proper documentation of the attitude and behavior of respondents Issues faced with method

Issues faced under this method in China covers difficulty among researchers in arranging interviews with respondents. Scheduling the interview is difficult because of conflict with personal schedules. Most Chinese people tend to refuse when interview will take longer duration, especially if the conduct of interview exceeds one hour. Apart from this concern, researchers need to travel to the interview location as this may prove costly and time consuming. Other than that, skilled translators are required to ensure that questions are clearly understood so that answers will not distort the outcome of the research.

Pre-recruit Telephone Interview

Another approach to an interview is Pre-recruit Telephone Interview. It involves conducting interviews with pre-screened and selected respondents. It costs less than personal or face-to-face interviews and saves time by avoiding long periods of travel. Pre-recruit Telephone interview is suitable in arranging interviews with hard-to-reach respondents. The interviewer should be spontaneous and creative if interviews need to exceed 10 minutes. Through this way, interviewers are able to control the respondents from further losing interest to the conduct of the survey which to avoid distortion of data. To be able to control the length of interview time, questions should be well structured and significantly linked to personal experiences and opinions in given locations for fast and easy understanding. This type of method is ideal for customer satisfaction surveys and respondent screening.

Concern over the difficulty in calling uninformed prospects is raised as Chinese locals sometimes tend to refuse answering calls from unfamiliar numbers. Chinese respondents tend to refuse speaking with strangers openly. Similarly, respondents may feel not obliged in continuing through with the interview process  if they feel that the interview is taking too much of their time. This results to difficulty on the part of the interviewer to maintain the eagerness of the respondents and the quality information gathered.

Online Interview

Online interview is a type of research method that uses a web based platform as the venue for conducting interviews. It can be in a form of messaging, email, or video chat interview facilitated either through a group or one-on-one interview approach. Online interview differs from online focus group in the sense that the former directs to person to person exchanges while the latter is done through group interaction. Conduct of online interviews are facilitated in the form of sending individual solicitation, invitation through mailing list, personal research web site, or discussion group. Sometimes, the interviewer will send the respondent a single question in the chat box and the respondent will answer the same way how it was sent. The cycle will continue until the final question is reached. Video chat interview can be used if the interviewee wants to have a verbal conversation with the interviewer. It can last between 20-60 minutes for a single respondent. For this approach, an average of 30 respondents can be interviewed in one day. With the convenience of this method, the interviewer has less time travelling and can save on other costs associated with the conduct of research. Use of this research methodology provides the benefit of being able to access distant areas in China and even all over the world because of use of technology and modern day innovation. For data collection to be more effective, questions must be easily understood and interviewers should allow ample time for the respondents to fully answer the questions.

The use of online surveys is the preferred type of quantitative research in China requiring online medium. It is the interviewer who facilitates and monitors how respondents answer the survey questions. This is to ensure that the respondents are able to understand and that they fully fill in the questions given to them. It is beneficial to conduct online surveys in centralized locations particularly with personalized research websites and discussion group approaches to be able to easily facilitate the conduct of research. Data collected are then automatically stored making the data assimilation fast and convenient.

There are also issues faced under this method as used in China. One issue is the accuracy of the collection of data since interviewers are not present to check the identity of the respondents. On the other hand, the costs of setting up an online hosting web site for use in the conduct of interviews are high, placing burden on the side of the Market Research firm in China.

In-store Interview

In understanding what influences consumers in purchasing products, In-store Interview is the commonly used methodology. It involves asking questions at the point of consumer’s actual purchase.

Applicable method recommendations
  • Suitable for determining consumer’s feedback regarding a new product and for developing existing products.
  • Questions must be easy to understand and answer.
  • Interviewer should ask the right questions to the appropriate persons.
  • Approaching consumers politely should be considered.
  • Interviews should be quick.
  • Show cards may be utilized.
  • May use open-ended questions.
  • Respondents should be carefully identified and selected.
Issues faced with method
  • China’s population is geographically dispersed which can contribute to increased expenses.
  • Identifying who should be interviewed: the one who purchased a product or the one who consumed the product.
  • Chinese consumers are less interested in participating in-store interviews.


CATI, or Computer-Assisted Telephone Interviewing, is another type of quantitative methodology in which the interviewer uses computer software when doing the interview process. The interviewer asks questions through the telephone following a customized set of questionnaire or scripts provided by the software and document answers directly into the software at real time. CATI software has a built-in automated system that ensures data accuracy by skipping non applicable survey questions and provides details, based on answers provided, that could help in exploring more ideas when needed. As information is being collated, reports can also be prepared simultaneously. Productivity is therefore improved leading to a significant decrease in research costs. CATI is commonly used with business-to-business studies and corporate sales. In conducting the interview, researchers should avoid pausing when asking questions to ensure the continuous flow of ideas. It is important that the interviewer should be able to translate well the questions for easy understanding by the respondents. Considering that the interview process makes use of CATI software, interviewers should be well trained on its functionalities. Use of the CATI method has also encountered issues in its implementation. When respondents delay in answering calls, unnecessary costs are incurred. On the part of assessing respondents, researchers will only rely on verbal expressions or answers considering the fact that this method entails only long distance communication and not face to face communication. Moreover, the interviewer cannot guarantee if the legitimate respondent is the one answering the other end of the telephone line.

Evolvement and Development of Quantitative Research in China

Chinese scholars first drew interest with quantitative research method as applied in media studies following Western techniques in social studies. Case studies, experiments, social surveys, and content analysis during this time were presented under quantitative research method. In the 1980s, there were still no formal trainings of scholars about how quantitative and qualitative methodologies are to be differentiated. This condition gave rise for categorizing thoughts, individual impressions, positions, and scattered reflections to be all part of quantitative method.

In conducting Market Research in China, quantitative research method is data specific approach to the measurement of the views of the people and their opinions. Compiling answers from the respondents, researchers make use of numerical techniques to establish behavior and relationships from a range of data. Transforming large amount of quantifiable data proves easy to be organized and grouped for analysis with the use of statistical tools for research.

Next: Issues with Market Research in China