As attitudes are difficult and complex to measure, indirect approaches are used to measure them. One of the methods developed in 1930 by Charles Os good was the semantic differential scale. This is similar to Likert differential scale, and in this Bipolar adjectives are used to indicate the attitude towards a given subject. It is used to find out the preferences of the consumer for brand and company images. Five to seven levels of intensity are used to separate the Bipolar adjectives.


Semantic differential scale for using the attitude towards a retail store. This scale is simple and easy to use. It can be used for a variety of subjects.

Rank order scale
Customers are asked to rank items (products) in order of preference, in term of some criterion such as economy or quality or style, etc. Rank the following in terms of your choice on economy, durability, style, comfort, maintenance, etc. giving rank:

  1. to most preferred and
  2. to least preferred.
  1. Zen
  2. Santro
  3. Matiz
  4. Alto
  5. Ambassador

It produces competition data and is used for ranking only.

Rank order scale

For conducting research it is not possible to interview or question each and every customer. Therefore, a sample is chosen which should be representative of the population (all customers).
There are many methods of sampling for choosing whom to survey. These can be broadly classified as:
I. Probability or Random sampling: Every member of the population has an equal chance of being selected.

  1. Simple random sampling: A sample is drawn from each strata or group.
  2. Stratified random sampling: A sample is drawn from each strata or group of the population.
  3. Cluster sampling: Clusters or groups are formed and samples drawn randomly from these groups.

II. Non-probability sampling: Every member of the population does not have an equal chance of being selected.

  1. Convenience sampling: Researcher takes a sample from the population convenient to him.
  2. Judgment sampling: Judges and chooses from respondents who can give good accurate information.
  3. Quota sampling: Researchers from quotas of the population for drawing samples (Men, Women, Children). The numbers of these categories are specified. We shall now discuss the methods of:

Observation , Experimentation, Survey and interview
Observation is an important method of consumer research. In this the researcher observes the process of buying and using products. Some companies also make video tapes of consumers while they are in the process of buying etc.
It provides a good insight into the habits of the consumers, and their likes and the preferences they show while in the store. Observation can be of several types:

  1. Disguised observation: The consumer does not know that he is being observed.
  2. Undisguised observation: Customer knows that he is being observed.
  3. Controlled observation: Customer is asked to operate an apparatus (in a shop).
  4. Uncontrolled observation: They may be observed operating a refrigerator or any other gadget in their house.
  5. Structured: Guidelines are provided to the researcher which he is supposed to follow.
  6. Mechanical: Mechanical devices, automatic counting of entry.
    Like a galvanometer, a pupilometer, or an eye camera can be used to register the respondents.

This is a common method to collect the data from customers. An experiment is process where events occur in a setting at the discretion of the experiment. Controls are used to register the responses. In this we have an independent variable or a test unit. The treatment, which is given, and all dependent variables to measure the responses which change with the treatment. Experiments can be of:
I. Informal experimental design

  1. Before, after, without control
  2. Before, after, with control
  3. After, only, with control
  4. Ex-post Facto design

II. Formal experimental design

  1. Completely randomized design
  2. Randomized block design
  3. Latin square design
  4. Factorial design
  5. Four group six study design

It is the systematic gathering of data from respondents through a questionnaire. Surveys can be in the form of personal interviews, mail survey, telephone survey. Above data gives the option to the respondents for their responses. The responses can
be combined to produce a summated score, and this can be done by giving the scores of + 3 + 2 + 1 0 (–)2 (–)1 to the six options, so that the overall data can be measured. In this case we have + 6 – 3 = + 3 which is the summated score.
Interviews: There are various types of interviews:
Depth Interview: In this a respondent is persuaded to discuss freely about a brand or a product under the watchful eyes of an expert trained interviewer. It is a lengthy (about half an hour) session, of non-structured interview. The expert may encourage the participants to talk about his own attitudes, habits and interests, in addition to the topic of discussion. Some experts minimize their participation, while others take an active part in the discussion, dependingupon the situation. The responses are video-taped or recorded, and later studied in detail to interpret the moods, gesture and body language of the participant. Later these are used to formulate better strategies for positioning and repositioning of the products.


Focus group interview
A focus group consists of eight to ten participants. The moderator or the expert initiates the discussion about a product or a brand. The group talks about the usage of the product and their experiences. They also discuss their opinions, attitudes, lifestyle interest in product category and other aspects. The exercise takes about two hours. While the interview is going on, other experts can also watch the reactions of the respondents sitting in a separate room by the help of a mirror. The proceedings are videotaped and later analyzed for the purpose of effective selling and marketing.

Projective techniques
Sometimes respondents do not want to reveal their feelings and they avoid questions that are threatening to them. These techniques are designed to tap the underlying motives of individuals in spite of their concealment. These are carried out by means of unstructured disguised questions that are in the form of Word Association test.

  • Sentence completion tests
  • Story completion technique
  • Thematic apperception test

Projective techniques

These reveal the inner feelings of the respondent and how they perceive ambiguous stimuli. The responses reveal their underlying needs, wants, fears, aspiration and motives. The main thing in projective techniques is that the respondents are unaware that they are exposing their own feelings. The picture shows a fat lady and a slim lady with a bottle of milk between them. The respondent has to insert the dialogues of both the ladies in the balloon provided.

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Consumer Behaviour Topics