Standards & Principles for Online Research

Decision Analyst conducts its Internet research with the same high standards that it demands for other data collection methodologies: sophisticated probability sampling, precise project control, rigorous quality-control procedures, advanced questionnaire programming, and insightful analyses.
Decision Analyst’s Standards & Principles for Internet Research

We've developed precise procedures for conducting Internet research that adhere to strict scientific discipline, ethical principles, and quality standards, including:

  • Whitelisting. Our panels are whitelisted by all of the world’s major Internet service providers (ISPs). Plus, ISPs are monitored during surveys to make sure survey invitations are delivered.
  • Representative Panels. Panels are balanced to match the demographic profile of the U.S. or the relevant target market.
  • Sophisticated Sampling Systems. Samples are simultaneously balanced on multiple variables (geography, age, ethnicity, gender, etc.), with random selection in each cell using Icion?, our proprietary sampling system.
  • No “Volunteer” Samples. The risk of nonrepresentative samples is simply too great.
  • No Spamming. The risk of sabotage by angry respondents is a serious threat to the accuracy of any “spammed” survey.
  • Security. We capture the IP address from each respondent's computer to prevent multiple participants from a given household. Additionally, each study is password-protected, our web server is encrypted, and all data is pulled behind our firewall every few hours.
  • Privacy. Each of our panels has a home website for recruiting and information purposes. Included on each site is our explicit, detailed privacy policy, guaranteeing our panelists that we will not sell or advertise to them or share their email addresses with any other company.
  • Advanced Questionnaire Programming. Logician? is our proprietary programming system. It’s the most powerful and flexible system currently available. With Logician?, visual and audio stimuli can be easily incorporated into questionnaires.
  • Quality Control. We have developed a staff of Internet specialists and created quality-control systems to ensure consistently reliable data from Internet surveys.
  • Bandwidth. Because our web server is on the backbone of the Internet, we can accept thousands of simultaneous “hits” so that everyone has an equal chance of participating in a survey. When bandwidth is inadequate, a large share of respondents can be blocked by heavy traffic on the web server. This is a potential source of sampling error.
  • Time Zone Controls. Samples are carefully controlled by the different time zones across the U.S. so that samples are not inadvertently biased toward earlier (i.e., Eastern) responders.
  • Reminder Emails. These are sent to nonresponders, a process analogous to callback interviews in telephone surveys or postcard reminders for mail surveys.
  • Online Help Desk. As surveys are posted on the Internet, live, real-time support is provided via our online help desk to answer respondents’ questions and to solve any problems they might encounter in completing the survey.
  • Data Cleaning. Once an Internet survey is completed, the data file is cleaned to eliminate any duplicate questionnaires. Respondents are cross-checked against the original sample to make sure all participants are legitimate.
  • Real-Time Toplines. Survey results can be viewed online in realtime as respondents complete the questionnaires.
  • Analysis. Decision Analyst has the experience and insight to analyze the resultant data and to provide actionable marketing recommendations.

Standards & Principles for Online Research

If you would like more information on Online Marketing Research, please contact Jerry W. Thomas, President/CEO, by emailing him at, or by calling 1-800-ANALYSIS (262-5974) or 1-817-640-6166.