Information Supported Methods to Make Market Analysis Surveys Extra Inclusive for Contributors



Key Perception:  There are tangible, data-supported methods to make the survey expertise extra inclusive for individuals with out compromising the representativeness of the pattern.

Making the survey expertise as inclusive as potential for all individuals is a vital precedence for Market Analysis firms. Though we (at Touchstone) pleasure ourselves in at all times striving to make our survey expertise, and our analysis processes usually, extra inclusive for individuals, we additionally acknowledge that there’s nonetheless room to do higher.

As a place to begin, we centered on bettering how we ask analysis individuals about their race and ethnicity in our commonplace market analysis surveys. Our aim was to find out if there have been higher methods to ask our individuals about their race and ethnicity; By “higher” we meant ways in which had been extra inclusive for individuals with out compromising the representativeness of our pattern.


Touchstone Analysis designed and performed a large-scale major analysis venture with actual respondents to search out data-supported methods to make our commonplace race and ethnicity survey questions extra inclusive. Over the course of a month, 3,880 respondents accomplished a brief multi-cell survey a couple of blinder matter (i.e., media consciousness and utilization) the place we examined the impression of asking about race/ethnicity in three alternative ways:

  1. Touchstone present format / Management (based mostly on 2010 Census)
  2. 2020 Census format (contains expanded classes)
  3. Identification format (“how do you establish? / how do you most establish?)


Current Format - Control


2020 Census Format


Identity Format

We additionally included a 4th and 5th cell to check the impression of asking individuals a mixture of a number of query codecs in the identical survey.

The aim of this venture was to know if individuals answered race/ethnicity questions in another way relying on how the questions had been requested. Touchstone Analysis remoted the impression of the query format by together with an equal variety of individuals of every race/ethnicity throughout all analysis cells. We had been in a position to goal our survey invitations to make sure the pattern was balanced by race/ethnicity throughout cells as a result of all individuals had been beforehand profiled on race/ethnicity (based mostly on Touchstone’s present race/ethnicity query format).


This venture had many relevant findings that gained’t be coated right here, however the primary take-away was that folks do reply race and ethnicity questions in another way based mostly on how they’re requested.

A number of different key insights from our evaluation:  

  • Folks’s race/ethnicity is just not their id. Contributors answered in another way once they had been requested “How do you establish?” vs. “Do you think about your self to be Hispanic? / What’s your race?”
  • How do you establish?” is a extra inclusive means of asking folks about their race/ethnicity than the usual two-question, Census based mostly format (“Do you think about your self to be Hispanic? / What’s your race?). Considerably fewer individuals chosen “Want to not reply” once they answered the query “How do you establish?” vs. both model of the 2 Census based mostly query codecs.
  • Asking Hispanics “How do you establish?” is a way more inclusive means of asking about their race than forcing them to decide on one of many reply choices in a typical Census based mostly race query. Within the Census based mostly query format cells, individuals answered a Hispanic origin query adopted by a query about their race. Hispanics had been more likely than Non-Hispanics to pick out “Want to not reply” once they answered the usual Census based mostly race questions. Additionally, over two-thirds of the individuals who chosen the “different race” reply choice specified that they thought-about their race to be “Hispanic” or “Latino” in an open-ended response.
  • Together with extra individualized and particular sub-categories within the reply choices or query textual content (e.g., “Chinese language, Japanese, Korean, Filipino, and so on.” as a substitute of simply “Asian”) didn’t have a significant impression on how individuals answered. We netted the sub-category outcomes to match the broader classes which are usually included in these questions (e.g., Asian, Pacific-Islander, and so on.) and the odds of whole individuals in every class was very related throughout cells.   
  • Lastly, a notable portion of individuals primarily recognized as being multiracial. 6% of all individuals chosen the reply choice: “Multiracial: I primarily establish myself as somebody who has multiple race/ethnicity” once they had been requested “Which race/ethnicity do you establish with most?” Solely individuals who had indicated they establish with multiple race/ethnicity had been requested this follow-up query.


Touchstone Analysis has formulated a couple of particular suggestions for the way market researchers can apply these findings to their very own surveys:

  • Think about together with the query “How do you establish?” the place you’d usually ask individuals about their race/ethnicity to make your surveys extra inclusive. This query doesn’t have to exchange any conventional Census based mostly race/ethnicity questions which were requested in previous surveys, however it might present invaluable supplemental info and is extra inclusive for individuals. (We notice you should still want to incorporate race/ethnicity questions which are extra carefully aligned with the US Census format to believe that your pattern is nationally consultant).
  • Use the extra details about how individuals establish to uncover new insights in your shoppers. If individuals establish in another way in comparison with how they reply commonplace race/ethnicity questions, it might present a brand new market alternative in your shoppers. At minimal, having this new info will add a layer of depth to any commonplace insights you present to your shopper based mostly on race/ethnicity
  • Take into consideration individuals who primarily establish themselves as multiracial as a separate goal demographic group. Add a brand new banner level known as “Multiracial” to your commonplace banner plan so you may discover if/the place there are significant variations between individuals who primarily establish as “Multiracial” in comparison with individuals who primarily establish with one race/ethnicity.
  • Increase the reply classes in any race/ethnicity questions to incorporate extra region-specific sub-categories (e.g., “Chinese language, Japanese, Korean, Filipino, and so on.” as a substitute of simply “Asian”) to maximise representativeness and inclusivity. Increasing the classes will make the survey expertise extra inclusive as a result of individuals can have a greater likelihood of choosing a race/ethnicity that displays themselves precisely. This also needs to lower the proportion of respondents who choose the “Different” or “Want to not reply” reply choices at these questions.

In abstract, at all times searching for new methods to make the survey expertise and total analysis course of extra inclusive to all individuals is a vital precedence for us at Touchstone Analysis. We’re proud that we had been in a position to establish and share a couple of tangible, data-supported methods to make our survey expertise extra inclusive for individuals by revising how we ask them about their race and ethnicity.

Thanks for studying. For extra info, please attain out to us at [email protected]


Adam LaCroix, Research Manager, Touchstone Research

Adam LaCroix, Analysis Supervisor

Adam is a Analysis Supervisor at Touchstone Analysis with over 15 years’ expertise designing and executing a variety of major quantitative analysis initiatives for business main media and expertise firms, together with Disney, Paramount, META and Google. Previous to becoming a member of Touchstone, Adam performed media and expertise analysis for shoppers at numerous different distinguished market analysis firms, reminiscent of Nielsen, Ipsos, and NRG.


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