Marketing Research Glossary - O

Objectives: The ultimate purpose or purposes of a research study.

Observation: The value of a variable (or question) for each respondent in the sample. Also called a Measurement.

Observation Research: Also called Ethnographic Research. The technique of observing a consumer as he/she goes about buying and using a product or service. The observation can be in person or via cameras. Learn More

Observation Room: A room with a one-way mirror from which clients can observe and listen to focus groups without being seen. Also called the Back Room or Viewing Room.

Occupancy Status: Census definitions covering whether or not a housing unit is lived in or occupied.

OCR (Optical Character Reader): The machine or process that scans printed characters and converts them to electronic data.

ODBC (Open Database Connectivity): Common standard for relational databases, giving programs a standard interface for querying and extracting data from any ODBC-compliant database.

Omission Error: The error in a survey related to the failure of a respondent to provide a full and complete answer to a question, for whatever reason.

Omnibus Panel: Ongoing multiclient studies that are taken by mail or online panel members. Many different companies contribute questions to the questionnaire. Similar to Omnibus Study.

Omnibus Study: A periodic study that asks questions on a number of unrelated subjects. Many different companies can participate by adding questions to these multiclient surveys. These types of surveys should be thought of as "quick and dirty," because of potential sequence bias from other questions (which change from survey to survey). Omnibus surveys are relatively inexpensive on a "per question" basis, if only two or three questions are involved.

On-Air Testing: A research design in which commercials are tested on actual TV or radio programs. Day-after recall is typically an on-air test, for example.

One-Group Pretest-Posttest Design: A pre-experimental design with pre- and postmeasurements (i.e., before and after measurements), but no control group.

One-On-One Interviews: A qualitative research technique in which a moderator interviews one participant at a time. Also called Depth Interviews.

One-Shot Case Study: A pre-experimental design with an after measurement only. There is no control group (or comparison group), nor a pretest.

One-Sided Question: A leading question in a survey that presents only one aspect of an issue. For example, "Are you a Republican?" is a one-sided question, since Democrats and other political parties are excluded.

One-Way Frequency Table: A table showing the number of responses for each answer choice in a survey question.

One-Way Mirror: A special mirror that permits observers to watch a focus group without the respondents being able to see the observers. Most focus groups are conducted in a room with a one-way mirror and an observation room.

One-Way Mirror Observations: The practice of viewing focus groups, depth interviews or other respondent interviews through a one-way mirror, so that the respondent cannot see the observers.

Online Communities: There is no agreed upon definition of an online community, but the term generally refers to a group of people with some common interest or focus who interact online. Online communities can be a qualitative tool for researchers to gain insight into the consumer's mind. Learn More

Online Discussion Forums: Qualitative research conducted via the Internet over an extended period of time, typically 7 to 10 days. Decision Analyst uses a Time-Extended™ Discussion Forum technique using bulletin boards to conduct online discussion forums. Learn More

Online Hypothesis Quantification: A research technique used to quantify the results of a focus group or depth interview. After conducting focus groups or depth interviews, verbatim statements are identified that support the major hypotheses. A quantitative study is conducted among new respondents asking them to agree or disagree with each statement. Learn More

Online Pseudo-Depth Interviews: A qualitative research technique disguised as a quantitative online survey. This technique uses an online survey format and consists of open-ended questions. Learn More

Online Research: Surveys, focus groups, and other research projects conducted via the Internet. Learn More

Online Sentence Completion: An online qualitative research technique that uses an online survey format. Respondents are presented with incomplete sentences that they must finish. The results from an online sentence completion study are projective in nature. Learn More

Online Word Association: A projective research technique where respondents are presented with stimuli words and asked to type in the first word, association, or image that comes to mind. This technique is best for exploring awareness, imagery, and associations linked to brands. Learn More

Open Observation: The observing of people who know they are being watched. In marketing research projects in the U.S., respondents must grant permission for observation. That is, respondents in a study should never be observed without the permission of the participants.

Open-Ended Questions: Questions that ask respondents to reply in their own words, as contrasted to Closed-Ended Questions or Precoded Questions.

Operations Research: The application of mathematical and statistical processes to optimize and improve the outcome of business decisions. Also known as Management Science or Decision Analysis.

Operational Definition: A statement of precisely which observable characteristics will be measured, and the process for assigning a value to the concept.

Operational Research: The term commonly used in Europe for Operations Research.

Opinion: The verbal expression of a point of view or one's attitude toward a topic or issue.

Opinion Poll: A survey that attempts to measure views of the public on matters of interest and importance.

Opportunity and Risk Analysis: An analysis of the important drivers for opportunities or risks for a brand or company.

Opportunity Identification: Using marketing research to find and evaluate new opportunities.

Optical Scanner: A device that can electronically read responses on questionnaires.

Optimum Allocation: Sampling in which the sample sizes are allocated to the strata in such a manner as to minimize the standard error for overall survey results.

Optima®: Decision Analyst's proprietary product-testing system. Optima® is a monadic, normative product-testing system comprised of modules of standardized questions. Learn More

Opt-In/Double Opt-In: The process of verifying and double-verifying that a panel member wants to be part of an online panel. All of Decision Analyst's online panels are double opt-in.

Order Bias: Respondents tend to favor the first answer choice presented. This is an example of order bias. Rotating or randomizing answer choices eliminates this type of bias.

Ordinal Variables: Variables whose values have an inherent hierarchy or order, but whose consecutive values are not assumed to measure equal intervals or amounts of the property being measured. College rankings, for example, are ordinal.

Other-Specify Questions: A question that presents a precoded list of answers, but also gives the respondent the option to "write in" an answer if desired.

Outliers: A value in a dataset can be close to the average or mean, or far away from the mean. Extremely small or extremely large values in a dataset are said to be outliers.

Out-Of-Stocks: An out-of-stock is an empty store shelf. For example, if the brand of peanut butter one plans to buy is not available in one’s supermarket, then that brand would be out of stock (assuming the store normally carries that brand). Decision Analyst has observed that out-of-stocks have grown in incidence and frequency over the past 30 years as SKUs have proliferated.

Out-Migration: The movement of people out of a geographic area.

Over Quota (OQ): The number of interviews over the quota for a particular sample cell. For example, if the sampling plan called for 20 males aged 18-34, but 25 had completed the survey, then over quota would equal 5.

Overrecruit: To recruit extra people for focus groups to compensate for the probability that not all respondents will show up.

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