Marketing Research Glossary - I

Icion®: Decision Analyst's proprietary sampling software that automatically balances online samples by key demographic and geographic variables.

Icon: A picture or symbol that represents an object, task, command, or choice users can select with a mouse.

ID Number (Identification Number): A unique number assigned to each questionnaire or each respondent's data.

Idea-Centric Creativity: Creativity that is focused around the ability to generate large numbers of highly original ideas for new products and services. Learn More

Ideation: Ideation is the process of forming and relating ideas for the purpose of new product/service development. The most productive ideation sessions are in unstructured environments that encourage creative problem solving. The ideas generated in an ideation session form the basis for the concepts. Learn More

IHUT (In-Home Usage Test): A type of research where respondents are given a product to use in their homes as they normally would. Reactions to the product are collected in a follow-up survey. Also called Home Usage Test. Learn More

Imaginators®: Decision Analyst's online consumer creativity panel. It is comprised of everyday people who have been tested for high levels of idea-centric creativity. Each panelists rank in the top 4% of the general population in terms of idea-centric creative abilities. Learn More

Immigration: Permanent movement of people into one country from another country.

Inability Error: Some respondents are unable to accurately answer a particular question, and this is called the inability error. Respondents may not understand the question and/or the answer choices, or they might not possess the awareness or the knowledge to answer the question.

Inactive Panel Members: Panel members who have registered to join American Consumer Opinion® (Decision Analyst's worldwide online panel with over eight million active members) but who fail to confirm their intent to join that panel (i.e., fail to double opt-in). Respondents who do not double opt-in are excluded from all Decision Analyst online panels. Learn More

Incentive: Also called an Honorarium or Co-Op Payment. The money or prizes paid to respondents for participating in research studies or surveys.

Incidence: The proportion of people who use a particular product or service and thereby qualify to participate in the survey.

Income: A household's total income from all sources, including wage or salary income; self-employment income; interest, dividend, or net rental income; Social Security income; public assistance income; unemployment compensation; veterans' payment, pensions, alimony, etc.

Incomplete: An interview or survey that is not completed, even though the respondent is qualified to participate and is admitted into the survey.

Incompletion Rate: The percentage of qualified respondents that are accepted into a survey who fail to complete the survey, for whatever reason.

Independent Samples: These are mutually exclusive samples. That is, no one in the first sample is also in the second sample, and vice versa.

Independent Variable: The variable that is thought to cause or influence the dependent variable. The independent variable can be thought of as the causal variable, or the predictor variable.

Index: A list of keywords a user can view to find topics within a book, a website, or a help system.

Index or Index Number: A number in which 100 equals the average (or some other predetermined base) for a variable, and all other values of this variable are expressed dividing individual values by the average (or predetermined base) and multiplying by 100. Index numbers make it easy to compare different values.

Informed Consent: The principle that respondents should know in advance what to expect in a survey or research project and agree to participate based on that knowledge.

InfoScan: A scanner-based tracking service for consumer-packaged goods, primarily.

Ingredient Screening: A product testing technique that seeks to optimize a particular food or beverage formulation, in order to develop an understanding of the relative importance and role of the different ingredients in the formulation. Typically, a number of product formulations are created each with a high level and a low level (or absence) of a particular ingredient—with all other ingredients held constant. Each respondent usually rates three to five of these different products, depending upon the type of product. Learn More

In-House Recruiting: The recruiting of focus group participants by people who are physically located within the facility.

Initial Email: Once a probability sample is pulled and adjusted for estimated response rates, Decision Analyst sends an initial email to invite these online panelists to participate in the survey.

Initial Refusal: When a respondent refuses to participate in a survey at the interviewer's initial introductory statement in a telephone or personal interview attempt.

Innovation: Is the process of generating ideas and developing them into new (or improved) products, services, or business processes. Learn More

Innovision™: Decision Analysts proprietary process for discovering growth opportunities. The process includes an outward exploration of the marketplace, emerging trends, industry experts, and an inward exploration of ideation sessions among team members and clients, as well as data mining client databases. Learn More

Input-Output Analysis: A method used in economic modeling and in Economic Impact Analysis that measures how all of the major variables in an economic system interact and how changes in one sector of the economy can affect other sectors. One industry’s outputs are inputs to other industries and vice versa. Input-output analysis measures all of the linkages and flows within the matrix (the economy). Based on these linkages and flows, the cumulative effect of any given stimulus (or change) can be derived. Learn More

Insight: A term growing in popularity (or fashion) as a descriptor of useful conclusions derived from research. Term Insight tends to suggest or imply qualitative implications rather than quantitative, but the term is widely used to describe both qualitative and quantitative deductions.

Insights Association: A worldwide trade organization for firms actively involved with marketing and opinion research. Decision Analyst, as a member of the association (, must adhere to prescribed quality standards and CASRO’s Code of Ethics. The Insights Association, is the result of a merge between CASRO (Council of American Survey Research Organizations) and the MRA (Marketing Research Association).

Instant Analysis: Moderator debriefing, offering a forum for brainstorming by the moderator and client observers.

Instrument Variation: The word "instrument" is often used interchangeably with the word "questionnaire," and tends to have identical meaning. Instrument Variation refers to changes in survey results caused by a change in the questionnaire itself.

Intelligent Data Entry: A software system that checks the logic and limits of data as the data are entered.

Intender: A respondent who reports that he/she intends to purchase a product/service in the future, or intends to behave in a certain way in the future.

Intercept: A recruitment method in which interviewers attempt to "intercept" potential respondents in shopping malls, stores, or other public locations in order to administer a survey.

Integer Programming: A mathematical programming technique where some or all of the variables are restricted to be integers.

Internal Consistency/Reliability: Ability to produce statistically similar results using the same measurement instrument but using different samples during the same time period.

Internal Database: A database that stores a company's internal data such as sales revenue by customer, accounting data, or employee records.

Internal Validity: The extent to which a causal relationship between two variables (A and B) is established given that A precedes B in time, A is related to B, and there are no competing explanations for the relationship between A and B.

International Code of Marketing and Social Research Practice: The code of conduct of ESOMAR that sets out the rights and responsibilities of those involved in marketing and social research.

International Study: A study conducted across multiple countries, or a study conducted in a foreign country.

Internet Panel: A group of people who have agreed to be members of an online panel to participate in Internet surveys. Decision Analyst was one of the first marketing research companies worldwide to begin developing Internet panels in late 1995. Learn More

Internet Research: Surveys conducted over the Internet. Learn More

Interrupted Time-Series Design: Research in which the subjects are measured repeatedly, both before and after a treatment.

Intersection: The overlap between two or more groups of people or two or more sets of objects or things.

Interval Estimates: Inferences about the probability that a population value will fall within a certain range.

Interval Scales: Ordinal scales with equal intervals between points to show relative amounts; may include an arbitrary zero point.

Interval Selection: Construction of a random sample by taking a given number of units equally spaced in an arbitrary sequencing of the full population of study. The nth number interval is derived by dividing the total number of units by the sample number desired. Also known as Nth Selection.

Interview: The exchange of information between the interviewer and a respondent. The interviewer records the respondent's answers to a question or series of questions. The exchange can be in person, over the phone, or on a computer.

Interviewer: The person responsible for recruiting participants for a focus group or the person administering a questionnaire to respondents.

Interviewer Bias: A conscious or unconscious distortion of a respondent's answers to a survey, caused by the attitude or actions of the interviewer.

Interviewer Error: Mistakes made by the interviewer in asking or recording the answers to survey questions.

Interviewer's Instructions: Written directions to an interviewer that provide information about the correct way to conduct a survey. It is Decision Analyst's policy to include as many of the interviewer instructions as possible within the questionnaire itself.

In-The-Box Innovation: Innovation that directs (or focuses) the creativity process. The results produce ideas that are both creative and relevant to the task at hand. Learn More

Inventory Model: Used in Operations Research and Management Science, an inventory model is a mathematical system to monitor inventory levels and forecast inventory depletions so that stocks can be re-ordered at the correct time, in order to have a steady flow of products to customers while minimizing costs. Learn More

ISP (Internet Service Provider): A company such as AOL or MSN that offers Internet access and related services.

Itemized Rating Scales: Survey answer scales that provide word descriptions for each answer choice. Excellent, Good, Fair, and Poor is an example of an itemized rating scale.

IVR (Interactive Voice Response): A system that allows phone callers to provide answers to a programmed voice survey by using the phone keypad or simply saying the answer (voice recognition).

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