Face-to-face data collection is often abbreviated to F2F. The interviewing methodology by which interviewers interview respondents, or sometime recruit participants, in-person, with a computer (CAPI). Occasionally this is done on Paper but not recommended, we should always be using CAPI. In some countries, internet penetration may still be too low and not representative enough to conduct research online, so F2F interviewing is really the only practical option. This research methodology requiring direct, in-person contact, is still viable and preferred in many situations, regardless of online capabilities.
There are numerous different ways to conduct Face to Face (F2F) Interviewing. Globally our highest volume is conducting In-home interviews, followed by Mall Intercepts, CLT interviews, In street/on transport/in store/exit/at event interviews, B2B, or Pre-recruited interviews (one-on-ones or for Group discussions). After the respondent has been recruited, the interview may be conducted by an interviewer, be self-administered, or a mix of both, depending on study requirements. It is customary to do in-person research when requirements include:
- Respondent exposure to a concept, commercial, product or prototype
- Respondent need to taste, touch, see, smell or feel something in-person in a controlled environment
- Respondent placement with a product that may be difficult/expensive to mail
- Respondent interviewing in specific stores, restaurants, events or other locations
- A target population that is difficult to reach through other research methods
- An interview is longer than recommended for online and/or requires interviewer interaction
- A higher level of interaction/involvement is required for follow-up cooperation
In-home (sometimes known as door-to-door (DTD)) is where the interviewer is knocking on doors to find respondents. The CAPI software is iField.
- Rapport is more easily established. Respondents are more relaxed and less pressed for time. The interview can be longer
- Product placements are made easier
- Exposure of visual e.g. props, ads, hand cards, concepts, and photographs
- Self-administered techniques can be utilized
- Interviewing areas can be selected to maximize the potential for target groups/low incidence studies
- This approach allows easy access to these hard to reach groups
- DTD interviewing is more prevalent in less developed markets, and is not possible in every market and/or every socioeconomic level due to safety concerns
- DTD in some countries may also include "tea party" interviewing in which respondents are recruited to a group interview in a private home, and/or snowball recruiting in which respondents refer their friends/acquaintances
There are different sampling methodologies in terms of how houses are selected:
- Quota – interviewers have specific quotas to achieve, either in parallel or interlocked (the former being the recommendation), e.g. age, gender, product usage – location options
- Sampling points defined (also known as starting points) – the interviewer has to go to the specific place specified. Projects on iField have the GPS co-ordinates of the starting point input for the project so that we can check the went to the correct location
- Random walk is where the interviewer, on reaching the starting point, has to follow a set route e.g. turning left at every intersection and missing 2 houses when a successful recruitment made
- Freefind where the interviewer chooses where to find the respondents
- Random Probability (also known as pre-selected addresses) where the respondent has a random chance of being interviewed (sometimes anyone in the household qualifies, other times a randomly selected person is chosen by the software). The interviewer either has:
- Specific addresses to call at and record outcomes on an ECS (electronic contact sheet) and call back a minimum number of times at different times of say and different days of the week before a final outcome is allowed
- On the fly – following prescribed random walk rules certain households are selected and a minimum of number of call-backs undertaken as above also using an ECS
CLT, or Central Location Testing, is the respondent will come to a centrally located facility to participate in the research. Respondents may be intercepted in the mall for immediate participation in a study, or they may be pre-recruited via intercept or phone for later participation (if the interview is long, requires preparation, or is for group scheduling). The CAPI software is iField or online Dimensions.
Mall Intercept/Pre-recruit (One-on-One or Groups):
- Permanent location and full-time staff—all the properties of a fixed, established format (organized training, monitoring and adherence to high standards)
- Client visits and monitoring are more easily accommodated
- Can expose concepts, commercials, products and prototypes
- Can conduct taste test with the availability of test kitchens, dieticians, access to equipment, etc.
- National geographically dispersed sample representation or Client designated markets based on brand share, media campaigns, distribution, competitive changes etc.
- Interview rapport with respondent is more easily established due to eye-to-eye contact
- May be interviewer administered or self-administered
Use of Mall Intercept Recruiting:
- Ability to sightscreen for specific quota groups by sex, age, ethnic background etc.
- Ability to select malls with high incomes, specific ethnic backgrounds etc.
Use of Pre-Recruiting:
- Ability to use field service database to find hard to reach quota groups
- Ability to use client list around the central location facility
- Ability to use Random Digit Dial sample or Listed Targeted sample list within a 5-10 mile radius of the central location facility
In store/Exit is another subset of the F2F methodology, used to target respondents at stores, restaurants, events, etc. Interviews may include observations and exit interviews.
- Ability to interview respondents within the environment of the surroundings. This gives opportunity to interview respondents on customer service, advertising awareness, shelf awareness, likes/dislikes of an item recently purchased and consumed etc.
- Interviewer observation and recording of behaviours may be part of the interview
- Eye tracking devices can also be utilized in this methodology which will produce heat maps as the deliverable
Ipsos Point Of View
Ipsos Global F2F POV
In 2017 we undertook 10 million F2F interviews globally. Of our 89 countries we have 69 live on iField which is Ipsos' integrated field management, scripting, CAPI app and QC system. Each country has its own iField portal in their own language. All other countries in the world can use iField as well by being managed on our global WW portal.
This is ideal for running multi-country projects for the following reasons:
- One master script
- The same business process being followed everywhere
- Integrated QC done the same way everywhere
- Total visibility of progress, quotas, QC
- Coming soon automated export for DP from each country portal
- In development automated deployment of the master script to country portals
Ipsos NA POV
Our Face-to-Face Interviewing in North America is managed by an internal Ipsos team that works closely with our Ipsos outsource partners. These partners are field vendors that have facilities with a large geographic spread throughout the United States and Canada and have been vetted and adhere to Ipsos standards. The vendor selection process includes completion of facility and site demographic information, facility photographs, references from previous clients, and visits/audits by the F2F management team. We track vendor and individual facility performance over time to ensure timeliness, proactive communication, adherence to specified procedures, and data quality. We undertook 50,000 interviews in 2017.
On a study by study basis, field is provided with detailed specific instructions, and the Ipsos F2F PM conducts a briefing with vendor corporate and site level participation. Interviewers complete practice interviews to ensure familiarization with the survey, complete technology checks, and ensure that we receive signed documentation that all facility checks and interviewer training has been completed. Our F2F PMs are engaged with field vendors daily during field to ensure timely production and quality data collection. A third-party phone validation house verifies respondent participation and adherence to project protocols through customized validation interviews, administered mid-way through field and at field completion. Length of interview, open-end responses, and data checks are analysed for anomalies. Every study is followed by a site level vendor assessment.
Ultimately, our preferred vendors work with us in an ongoing partnership, including quarterly meetings with vendor management to optimize process improvement and refine best practices. We have long-term relationships of 4 to 20 years with our preferred vendors, and maintain a vendor database to ensure we are using only the best vendor facilities available.
Our Face-to-Face capabilities include, but are not limited to, the following interviewing methodologies:
- One-on-One or Group Pre-recruit to a central location
- Mall Intercept
- On-Site/Event Interviews