Market Research Overview
29 November 2017

Quantitative research for social science

When you get a phone call and someone asks you: «When is the last time you cried? Are you satisfied with your job? When you cross the road, are you afraid of being run over? ». This survey is without any doubt Gallup World Poll.

Gallup is the founder of quantitative research for social science. A couple of years ago, they published the results of a racial report survey in the US. They asked to Afro-Americans the following question:

«Do you remember every circumstance, in the last 30 days, where you felt you were treated unfairly because you are black, in the following places?».

Then, they obviously listed different places: stores, restaurants, workplace etc.

Nearly half (46%) of Afro-Americans answered “yes” as saying they were treated unfairly in at least one of those places over the last 30 days. These surveys are repeatedly conducted over the years to monitor, in this particular case, how much racism in the US is decreasing or stays the same. Some accuse these polls of being manipulated to influence the community.

Gallup is a global performance-management consulting company. Founded by George Gallup in 1935, it became famous for predicting Roosevelt’s rise in 1936. In 1938, Gallup and vice president David Ogilvy began conducting market research for the film industry and advertising agencies. Since then, Gallup has interviewed the whole world with the famous Gallup World Poll (with hundreds of questions) to meet the needs of all governments.

When you read in a newspaper that Denmark is the happiest country in the world or that Norway has the best lifestyle in Europe, it is the result of Gallup‘s research. And guess which is the most used quantitative research method in the Gallup World Poll? Clearly Computer Assisted Telephone Interview (CATI) or telephone interviews conducted by an interviewer who fills in the answers to a computer as the respondent provides them.

The main difference between qualitative and quantitative research lies in the amount of interviews and in the way of quantifying and classifying the results. Obviously CATI is the most suitable and the most representative method of all.

If you need to know more about the veracity of CATI, click here or contact me at

Ennio Armato

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