Our Approach and Methods

Our Approach and Methods

No two projects are the same, and the methods we use to gather the data you need vary depending on the project requirements and the target audience. Whether you seek qualitative or quantitative answers, our selection of options provide you with the answers to your questions. It is important to us to know as much as we can about your project before we set out to gather the information you need. The more information we have about your requirements the better we will be able to serve you. When it comes to data collection at ZacRac, we adopt Online Surveys, CATI, CAPI, Face-to-Face, Focus Group Discussions and Mystery Shopping methodologies amongst other techniques to best serve our customers. These are some of the most state-of-the-art methods of data gathering. We’ll help you determine which technique(s) is most appropriate for your project.

Online Surveys

One of the most common and effective ways to administer a questionnaire in modern times, online surveys allow those completing the survey to provide honest answers from the comfort of their own locations. Typically, respondents are able to complete a survey at their chosen time, rather than scheduling time for a phone or Face-to-Face interviews, which makes this a good solution for those who want a wide variety of answers and a large sample size. Depending on the type of questions asked, either open ended questions for qualitative answers to multiple chose for quantitative answers, online surveys can reach a lot of people and get a lot of answers in a short amount of time, as long as the target demographic has access to a computer and is able to operate it.

CATI (Computer-Assisted Telephone Interviewing)

A smart way to gather survey answers, CATI allows an interviewer to read survey questions to the subject and record them as they are answered. The computer program assists from dialing to customizing questions, and checking answers for consistency. It also speeds up the interview process, due in part to its ability to skip questions when they don’t apply to the interviewee.
Aside from speeding up the interview process, one of the major benefits the CATI system offers is its ability to customize questions based on the responses of the interviewee. This application of logic helps to get quality data, as it can notify the interviewer when an answer is in accurate. It can also find incomplete answers or highlight areas that may be better served by getting further detail.

CAPI (Computer Assisted Personal Interviewing)

For complex interviews, or those that have lengthy questions, CAPI is the ideal solution to interviewing needs. Depending on how the survey is done, either the respondent or interviewer is given access to a computer at which they can answer the questions. Typically, both the interviewer and the respondent are present at the time during which the survey is administered, although it is possible for the respondents to complete the survey on their own, which is known as CASI, Computer-Assisted Self Interviewing.
Like the CATI, the program is able to scan for inconsistencies and ensure the most accurate information to those administering the survey. It can also provide interviewers with mobility to conduct their studies in places like trade shows, shopping plazas, and even schools and workplaces, depending on the nature of the survey.
CASI is often a preferred method for gathering personal information that a respondent may be uncomfortable answering to an interviewer. Users are able to be more candid and honest when they can answer their survey privately. It is also best for a tech savvy respondent demographic, as respondents must navigate their own way through the survey without the guidance of an interviewer.


For certain types of demographics or questionnaires, Face-to-Face interviews are the most effective as they allow an interviewer and respondent to sit down together to complete a particular survey. Typically those who are seeking qualitative information use this method as the interviewer is able to directly engage with their respondent. For those who don’t have access to a computer or telephone, this solution lets researchers engage with the target audience no matter their circumstances.
Typically, a prepared questionnaire is presented to the interviewee, with the interviewer able to get clarity on an answer or probe further based on their discretion. Depending on the nature of the questionnaire, interviewers are able to find out in depth answers to provide the client with a large amount of information.


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Focus Group Discussions

Focus group interview is a form of qualitative research where a group of people (usually 6-10) are asked about their opinions, beliefs, perceptions and attitudes towards a product, service, advertisement, concept, idea or packaging. Questions are asked in an interactive manner and the participants are free to interact with other members of the group and the moderator. The research question been studied is a key factor that influences the design of a focus group as well as the appropriate sample size. In order to gain sufficient insight there may be need to conduct more than one focus group interview, the sampling will depend on the 'segmentation' or different stratifications (e.g. age, sex, socioeconomic status, and health status) that the researcher identifies as important to the research topic. During a focus group discussion, the level of moderator involvement vary from high to low degree depending on how structured the questions are and the group dynamics. In a focus group discussion, more than one researcher may be present apart from the moderator, the role of these researchers is to take note and observations during the discussion or even to take recordings of the discussion. Audio and video recordings are taken during focus group discussion to enable the researcher re-access the discussion afterwards or for transcription.

Mystery Shopping

Mystery shopping is a research tool for gathering specific information about a brand, product, service or process without revealing the identity and purpose of the mystery shopper to the establishment being evaluated. Mystery shoppers carryout specific tasks such as buying a product, registering complaints, asking questions, behaving in a certain way and giving detailed reports about their experience during these activities.

Some of the information and mystery shoppers take note of include:
    • Speed of service
    • Types of products shown
    • Product details such as packaging and size
    • The sales pitch used by the employee
    • The time it takes for the mystery shopper to be greeted or attended to
    • Cleanliness of store and vicinity
    • Number of employees in the store at the time of visit
    • Names of employees
    • Whether or how the employee attempted to close the sale
    • Compliance with company standards relating to service, store appearance, and grooming/presentation