Panel Management

Online Survey Panel Management

A panel is a living organism that must be cultivated and nurtured in order to survive and flourish.

All of Decision Analyst’s online panels (including custom client panels) are actively managed and nurtured “communities”—not just databases. We heavily invest in systems and processes to ensure that our panels are valid and reliable, so that our data and recommendations are valid and reliable.

Decision Analyst's Panels

  • All of Decision Analyst’s panels are double opt-in.
  • All of Decision Analyst’s panels are used exclusively for marketing research except for the Imaginators® panel, which is used for ideation and innovation projects.
  • All of our panel members are rewarded for every screener and every survey. The longer the survey, the greater the incentive.


  • Respondents are recruited by a variety of media and methods: mail, phone, radio, television, magazines, newspapers, social media, and the Internet. An important component of efforts to recruit new panelists is continuous advertising on over 2,000 different websites.

Privacy Policies

  • Each panel has its own privacy policy. These privacy policies, in general, promise panelists that their answers will be anonymous and confidential, that the results will be used only for research purposes, that their names and personal information will not be shared with or used by any other organization or party, and that they will be rewarded for every survey. The policies also state that Decision Analyst will adhere to all laws and regulations of governmental entities, including COPPA and HIPAA. Decision Analyst was the first U.S. research company to qualify for certification under the Safe Harbour Agreement between the U.S. and the European Union, and remains a party to that agreement.
  • All panels are compliant with ESOMAR and Insights Association standards and regulations.

Panel Management

  • Our panels are whitelisted by all of the world’s major Internet service providers (ISPs). In addition, ISPs are monitored during surveys to make sure survey invitations are delivered.
  • Icion® panel tracking software monitors members’ participation in surveys, and inactive members are deleted from the panels.
  • Panel members have complete control of their membership accounts and can log in at any time to update, modify, or delete their information. After completing surveys, panelists are asked to review and update their membership accounts. Additionally, all members of each panel are asked to update their membership accounts once a year.
  • Our panels are screened periodically for product/service usage, covering such topics as car ownership and type, shopping habits, eating-out habits, beverages used, pet ownership, medical ailments, credit cards owned, etc.
  • Panel members have restrictions on how often they can be contacted. No panel member can take more than two surveys per month (once a panelist takes a survey, he/she is excluded for two weeks from all other samples). Our typical panel member takes three to five surveys per year.
  • Once the target audience for a survey is determined, a sample is pulled to represent that audience. Samples are defined and pulled via Icion®, our multivariate sampling software. Samples are balanced by geographic region, county size, and target demographics. Within each cell of the sample, respondent selection is random.
  • Logician® (our proprietary survey software) provides extraordinary capabilities to set and manage quotas within surveys and accurately control cell assignments and augments.
  • Decision Analyst carefully tracks surveys by topic/category. Panelists who participate in a study on a particular product category are automatically excluded for six months from participating in a study for the same category.
  • An online help desk is available 24/7 to provide assistance to respondents during surveys.

Fraud Protection

  • Decision Analyst uses digital fingerprinting technology to verify all respondents’ identities.
  • Our panels are rigorously and continuously cleaned by computer systems looking for registration errors, duplicate registrations, false information during registration, etc.
  • Sophisticated systems are used to detect bots and prevent them from answering surveys.
  • Screening questionnaires and survey questionnaires contain “traps” to catch cheaters, sloppy respondents, and bots. Cheaters are deleted from our panels and blocked from rejoining.
  • All surveys include open-ended questions, and any respondents who appear to be cheating and/or answering questions in a haphazard manner are deleted from the study and from our panels.
  • During the tabulation process, a series of quality-assurance processes are employed to look for suspicious responses (straight-line answers, taking the survey too quickly, inconsistent answers, etc.). Problem respondents are deleted from the study and from our panels.
  • For the specialty panels (such as Physicians Advisory Council® and Executive Advisory Board®, etc.) each panel member’s occupation is verified.
  • A database of cheaters is maintained, so that these individuals can be blocked from registering to become a member of any Decision Analyst panel ever again.


  • Once a questionnaire is finalized, an online project can be programmed and ready to launch in 24 to 48 hours. The typical project takes two to four days to launch (from approval of the final questionnaire). Much of this time is spent on quality-assurance processes and procedures.
  • All samples are randomized, and then meted out slowly and controlled by computer algorithms. Reminder emails are sent to nonresponders within each batch on the third day. Samples are controlled by geographic area, time zone, and response rate to ensure a nationally representative sample.

Online Marketing Research Services

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.