Definitions of Terms in Survey Research

Online Survey Research360 Degree Surveys: Also known as multi-rater feedback, multi -source feedback, or multi- source assessment.  360 Degree Surveys provide feedback from members of an employee’s immediate work circle.  Most often, 360 Degree Surveys include direct feedback from an employee’s subordinates, peers, and supervisor(s), as well as a self-evaluation.  Feedback from external sources, such as customers and suppliers or other interested stakeholders is also included in some cases.  It may be contrasted with “upward feedback,” where managers are given feedback only by their direct reports.

Attitude: An attitude is an expression of favor or disfavor toward a person, place, thing, or event.  Learn more about Employee Attitude Surveys.

Autonomy: The degree of unsupervised freedom granted individuals to do their work.

Bedside Manner: The informal, interpersonal behavior of a physician.

Behavioral Sciences: The psychological and sociological fields of study that seek to understand human behavior.

Benchmarking Data: Data that represents the normal or average score for any factor across various levels of performance, such as height and weight.  By comparing one’s own score with benchmarks, it becomes apparent which scores are high or low.  Learn more about Benchmarking Data.

Benefits: Company paid or sponsored programs that benefit employees in addition to compensation.

Bias: A large number of biases are possible in survey research which will artificially skew the data to the positive or negative.  Scale bias refers to the use of rating scales that have more options for the positive than the negative, or vice versa.  Wording bias refers to statements to be rated which lead the rater in a particular direction.  Selection bias refers to samples taken for research which do not accurately reflect the total population.  Measurement bias includes using research methods which will affect the overall results or are not ideal for the type of research.  Intervention bias refers to how much the researcher, or other factors, intervene with the test subject(s).

Career Development: Company sponsored programs that prepare employees for advancement within the organization.

Casino Environment: The lighting, cleanliness, security and other factors relating to the physical characteristics of a casino.  Learn more about Gaming & Hospitality Surveys.

Casino Services: The beverage service, cashiers, slot attendants and other service personnel typically associated with a casino.

ClearPath Feedback Management: NBRI’s ClearPath Feedback Management is a comprehensive solution for managing all feedback systems including Employee, Customer, and Market Research, and includes all of the following in every study: ClearPath Research, ClearPath Benchmarking, ClearPath Analytics, ClearPath Synergy, ClearPath Action, and ClearPath Financial.

Climate: The general mood of the work place.

Communications: The exchange of information relating to one’s work.

Community Involvement: The degree to which the company promotes participation in community or charitable events.

Company Behavior: The actions or reactions of a company in response to external or internal stimuli.

Company Image: The public perception of the organization.

Compensation: Money received for the product or service a person provides to another.

Competition: Those organizations that provide products or services which, if purchased by the public, reduces the revenue of the company.

Competitive Position: A company’s ability to thwart the efforts of competition.

Competitor Rewards Program: The incentives competitors offer to their customers to encourage them to return more frequently.

Competitors: see Competition.

Confidence Interval, Confidence Level: In statistics, a confidence interval (CI) is a type of interval estimate of a population parameter and is used to indicate the reliability of an estimate.  It is an observed interval (i.e. it is calculated from the observations), in principle different from sample to sample, that frequently includes the parameter of interest if the experiment is repeated.  How frequently the observed interval contains the parameter is determined by the confidence level or confidence coefficient.  More specifically, the meaning of the term “confidence level” is that, if confidence intervals are constructed across many separate data analyses of repeated (and possibly different) experiments, the proportion of such intervals that contain the true value of the parameter will match the confidence level; this is guaranteed by the reasoning underlying the construction of confidence intervals.  Confidence intervals consist of a range of values (interval) that act as good estimates of the unknown population parameter.  However, in infrequent cases, none of these values may cover the value of the parameter.  The level of confidence of the confidence interval would indicate the probability that the confidence range captures this true population parameter given a distribution of samples.  It does not describe any single sample.  This value is represented by a percentage, so when we say, “we are 99% confident that the true value of the parameter is in our confidence interval”, we express that 99% of the observed confidence intervals will hold the true value of the parameter.  After a sample is taken, the population parameter is either in the interval made or not, there is no chance.  The desired level of confidence is set by the researcher (not determined by data).  If a corresponding hypothesis test is performed, the confidence level corresponds with the level of significance, i.e. a 95% confidence interval reflects a significance level of 0.05, and the confidence interval contains the parameter values that, when tested, should not be rejected with the same sample.  Greater levels of confidence give larger confidence intervals, and hence less precise estimates of the parameter.  Confidence intervals of difference parameters not containing 0 imply that that there is a statistically significant difference between the populations.  Certain factors may affect the confidence interval size including size of sample, level of confidence, and population variability.  A larger sample size normally will lead to a better estimate of the population parameter.

Control Systems: The means by which the company ensures compliance with policies and procedures.

Core Competencies: Employee capabilities that the organization deems are central to its success.

Correlations: In statistics, dependence refers to any statistical relationship between two random variables or two sets of data.  Correlation refers to any of a broad class of statistical relationships involving dependence.  Familiar examples of dependent phenomena include the correlation between the physical statures of parents and their offspring, and the correlation between the demand for a product and its price.  Correlations are useful because they can indicate a predictive relationship that can be exploited in practice.  For example, an electrical utility may produce less power on a mild day based on the correlation between electricity demand and weather.  In this example there is a causal relationship, because extreme weather causes people to use more electricity for heating or cooling; however, statistical dependence is not sufficient to demonstrate the presence of such a causal relationship (i.e., Correlation does not imply causation).  Formally, dependence refers to any situation in which random variables do not satisfy a mathematical condition of probabilistic independence.  In loose usage, correlation can refer to any departure of two or more random variables from independence, but technically it refers to any of several more specialized types of relationships between mean values.  There are several correlation coefficients, often denoted ? or r, measuring the degree of correlation.  The most common of these is the Pearson correlation coefficient, which is sensitive only to a linear relationship between two variables (which may exist even if one is a nonlinear function of the other).  Other correlation coefficients have been developed to be more robust than the Pearson correlation – that is, more sensitive to nonlinear relationships.

Cost & Value: The relative assessment of the amount paid versus the worth of a product or service as measured in usefulness or importance.

Creativity: The degree to which employees are encouraged to express innovative thinking.

Culture: The history, traditions, and social mores of an organization.

Customer Loss Reviews: A survey designed to allow organizations to learn why customers stop doing business with them and discover what to do to prevent additional losses.  Learn more about Customer Loss Review Surveys.

Customer Loyalty: A customer’s feeling of attachment to the company, which may be expressed in terms of their intent to continue doing business with the company.

Customer Satisfaction: A company’s ability to fulfill the business, emotional, and psychological needs of its customers.  Learn more about Customer Satisfaction Surveys.

Customer Service: The degree of assistance and courtesy granted those who patronize the organization.  Learn more about Customer Service Surveys.

Customer Surveys: A method of collecting data from customers.  Learn more about Customer Surveys.

Decision Making: The efficacy of obtaining approvals from management within an organization.

Demographics: Current statistical characteristics of a population, including gender, race, age, disabilities, mobility, home ownership, location, and much more.

Descriptive Statistics: Typically, descriptive statistics may include the mean score, the number of respondents, and the distribution of responses to describe the dataset superficially.

Distribution of Responses: The number or percent of individuals who selected each response option.

Diversity: The degree to which the company supports differences between people.

Downsizing: The elimination of jobs.

Employee Behavior: The actions or reactions of an employee in response to external or internal stimuli.

Employee Commitment: The degree to which employees feel a responsibility to their company.

Employee Engagement: The extent to which employees are committed to their organization.  Highly engaged employees apply 100% of their knowledge, skills, and abilities to the success of the company, and are loyal in all they think, say, and do both internally and externally to the organization.  They care deeply about their company, and regularly have peak performance experiences at work.  Learn more about Employee Engagement Surveys.

Employee Exit Interviews: A survey designed to allow employers to learn why employees leave their organizations and discover how to reduce turnover.  Learn more about Employee Exit Interviews.

Employee Loyalty: The degree to which employees feel an allegiance to their employer.

Employee Retention: A company’s ability to retain qualified employees.

Employee Satisfaction: A company’s ability to fulfill the physical, emotional, and psychological needs of its employees.  Learn more about Employee Satisfaction Surveys.

Employee Surveys: A method of collecting data from employees.  Learn more about Employee Surveys.

Employee Values: The expressed or implied underlying understandings between individuals in a work group.  Employee values may supersede company values, rules or regulations.

Entertainment: Recreational activities.  Example: Recreational venues provided by casinos, other than gambling.

Ethics: The standards for behavior expected by management and commonly known throughout the organization, whether expressly communicated or not.

Executive Hosts: Casino employees who are assigned to serve VIP guests.

Facilities: The casino, hotel, banquet room, meeting room, parking buildings, and other amenities associated with a casino or hotel.

Financing: The provision of credit from an organization to another organization or individual.

Food & Beverage Services: The quality, value, appeal, timeliness, friendliness, and other aspects of a hotel or casino’s service of food and drink.

Friendliness: The degree to which service personnel are pleasant toward patrons.

Health: The degree of physical well-being of individuals in an organization.

Helpfulness: The degree to which service personnel are responsive to patron requests.

Hospital Behavior: The actions or reactions of a medical organization in response to external or internal stimuli.

Hospital Image: The public perception of the organization.  Learn more about Hospital Surveys.

Hotel Services: The valet, front desk, telephone operators, housekeeping, and other facets involved in the delivery of service to patrons in a resort organization.

Human Resources: The set of individuals who make up the workforce of an organization, business sector, or an economy.  “Human capital” is sometimes used synonymously with human resources, although human capital typically refers to a more narrow view; i.e., the knowledge the individuals embody and can contribute to an organization.  Likewise, other terms sometimes used include “manpower”, “talent”, “labor”, or simply “people”.

Inferential Statistics: System of procedures that can be used to draw conclusions from datasets arising from systems affected by random variation, such as observational errors, random sampling, or random experimentation.  Initial requirements of such a system of procedures for inference and induction are that the system should produce reasonable answers when applied to well-defined situations and that it should be general enough to be applied across a range of situations.  The outcome of statistical inference may be an answer to the question “what should be done next?”, where this might be a decision about conducting further experiments or surveys, or about drawing a conclusion before implementing some organizational or governmental policy.  Learn more about ClearPath Analytics.

Invoicing & Statements: The accuracy and timeliness of invoices or bills that are issued by a seller to a buyer, indicating the products, quantities, and agreed prices for products or services the seller has provided the buyer.

Job Satisfaction: The degree of personal gratification one receives from one’s work.

Job Training: Company paid or sponsored education provided to individuals to improve their abilities to do their work.

Life Balance: The degree to which an individual coordinates personal and professional responsibilities.

Loyalty: Faithfulness or a devotion to a person, country, group, or cause.

Management Style: The methodology of leadership employed by one’s superiors in an organization.

Market Research: A key factor in gaining advantage over competitors.  Market research gathers important information that is used to identify and analyze market need, market size, and competition.

Market Effectiveness: The degree to which an organization dominates their market.

Market Share: The proportion of the total sales of a product or service secured by one particular company or brand.

Mean: The “average” which is calculated by adding all scores and dividing by the total number of scores.

Median: The middle score which is calculated by counting the total number of scores, dividing by two, and selecting whatever score fills the middle place.

Mergers and Acquisitions: The combining of two distinct organizations through partnering or purchase.

Mode: The most commonly occurring score which is identified by counting how many times each score occurs and selecting the one that occurs most often.

Morale: The general mood of individuals in the workplace.

Multicollinearity: A statistical phenomenon in which two or more predictor variables in a multiple regression model are highly correlated.

Normative Data: Synonymous with Benchmarking Data.

Norms: Benchmarked scores.

Onboarding: A comprehensive approach to joining an organization which ensures each employee is immersed into the culture, quality and operational systems of the organization.  Learn more about Onboarding Surveys.

Opinion: A belief or conclusion held with confidence, but not substantiated by proof.  Learn more about Employee Opinion Surveys.

Organizational Assessment: The accurate identification and measurement of the key drivers of financial performance of a company.  Learn more about Organizational Assessment Surveys.

Organizational Change: Those conditions under which dramatic adjustments in people or policies occur within a company.

Organizational Structure: The hierarchical, departmental, and business unit configurations of a company.

Path Analysis: In statistics, path analysis is used to describe the directed dependencies among a set of variables.  This includes models equivalent to any form of multiple regression analysis, factor analysis, canonical correlation analysis, discriminant analysis, as well as more general families of models in the multivariate analysis of variance and covariance analyses (MANOVA, ANOVA, ANCOVA).

Patient Loyalty: A patient’s feeling of attachment to a medical organization, which may be expressed in terms of their intent to recommend the organization.  Learn more about Patient Satisfaction Surveys.

Performance Evaluations: The comprehensive review of an individual’s work performance, usually occurring annually.

Physician Loyalty: A physician’s feeling of attachment to a medical organization, which may be expressed in terms of their intent to continue working within the organization.  Learn more about Physician Satisfaction Surveys.

Policies: Principles or rules to guide decisions and achieve rational outcomes.

Political Research: Gathering information about voter opinions and intentions, primarily through straw polls, which is a non-binding voting process.  Learn more about Political Research Surveys.

Pricing: The currency value charged for a product or service.

Product Delivery: The ability to convey the result of physical labor or intellectual effort to a Client.

Productivity: The output of an individual, group, or company.

Products: The result of physical labor or intellectual effort.

Professional Conduct: Exhibiting a courteous, conscientious, and generally businesslike manner.

Profit Improvement: The increase of revenue, decrease of expense, or both.

Project Management: The discipline of planning, organizing, securing, managing, leading, and controlling resources to achieve specific goals.

Psychology: An academic and applied discipline that involves the scientific study of mental functions and behaviors.

Quality: The non-inferiority or superiority of a product or service.

Recognition: Formal acknowledgement given to an individual or group.

Regression Analysis: In statistics, regression analysis is a statistical technique for estimating the relationships among variables.  It includes many techniques for modeling and analyzing several variables, when the focus is on the relationship between a dependent variable and one or more independent variables.  More specifically, regression analysis helps one understand how the typical value of the dependent variable changes when any one of the independent variables is varied, while the other independent variables are held fixed.  Most commonly, regression analysis estimates the conditional expectation of the dependent variable given the independent variables — that is, the average value of the dependent variable when the independent variables are fixed.

Reliability: The overall consistency of a measure.  A measure is said to have a high reliability if it produces similar results under consistent conditions.  For example, measurements of people’s height and weight are often extremely reliable.

Representative Sample: A subset of a statistical population that accurately reflects the members of the entire population.

Rewards Program: The incentives offered to customers to encourage them to return more frequently.

Root Cause Analysis: Root cause analysis (RCA) is a method of problem solving that identifies the root causes of faults or problems that cause operating events.  RCA Practice solves problems by identifying and correcting the root causes of events, as opposed to simply addressing their symptoms.  Learn more about ClearPath Analytics.

Safety: The degree of immunity from physical danger in the work place.

Safety Performance: An organization’s record of protecting its employees from harm.

Sales Assistance: A consultative approach resulting in the understanding and fulfillment of a Client’s needs, wants, and desires.

Sales Process: The specific steps involved in the completion of a sale.

Sample Size: The sample size is an important feature of any empirical study in which the goal is to make inferences about a population from a sample.  In practice, the sample size used in a study is determined based on the expense of data collection, and the need to have sufficient statistical power.

Sample, Sampling: In statistics and survey methodology, sampling is concerned with the selection of a subset of individuals from within a statistical population to estimate characteristics of the whole population.  The three main advantages of sampling are that the cost is lower, data collection is faster, and since the data set is smaller it is possible to ensure homogeneity and to improve the accuracy and quality of the data.

Sampling Error: In statistics, sampling error or estimation error is the amount of inaccuracy in estimating some value that is caused by only a portion of a population (i.e. a sample) rather than the whole population.  This amount of inaccuracy is commonly referred to as an error.  Sampling error can be measured and quoted in many different ways, but in practice the reported error itself is almost always an estimate of the real error rather than an absolute measure of the error (which would usually require analyzing the entire population).

Satisfaction, as in Customer Satisfaction: A measure of how products and services supplied by a company meet or surpass customer expectation.  Customer satisfaction provides a leading indicator of customer loyalty and intent to return.  Learn more about Customer Satisfaction Surveys.

Satisfaction, as in Employee Satisfaction: The level of contentment an individual feels toward his or her job.  Employee Satisfaction is a combination of affective and cognitive satisfaction.  Learn more about Employee Satisfaction Surveys.

Scientific Method: To be termed scientific, a method of inquiry must be based on empirical and measurable evidence subject to specific principles of reasoning.  The scientific method is a method or procedure that has characterized natural science since the 17th century, consisting of systematic observation, measurement, and experiment, and the formulation, testing, and modification of hypotheses.

Scientific Research: Individuals with advanced training in a particular field use a scientific method to make discoveries and develop theories.  Learn more about ClearPath Research.

Service Delivery: The ability to convey useful labor.

Services: Useful labor.

Sexual Harassment: The mental or emotional harm of one individual by another individual coupled with the threat of retribution if reported.

Short and Long Term Goals: Immediate and distant plans to achieve growth.

Social Activities: Company paid or sponsored recreational programs for the human resources.

Staffing: The supply of workers within a company.

Standard Surveys: Research instruments created by correlating topics and questions to specific subjects of interest, such as Employee Satisfaction, Customer Satisfaction, or overall Organizational Assessment.  Learn more about Survey Products.

Standardized Questions: Survey questions or statements that have been field tested and statistically analyzed to eliminate error until the wording is fixed and unchanging across research studies.

Standardized Scores: Transformed scores that are measured in standard deviation units.

Statistics: The study of the collection, organization, analysis, interpretation, and presentation of data.  Statistics also includes the planning of data collection in terms of the design of surveys and experiments.

Straw Polls:  A straw poll or straw vote is a vote with nonbinding results.  Impromptu straw polls often are taken to see if there is enough support for an idea to pursue or promote it further.  Learn more about Political Research Surveys.

Supervision: The act of overseeing another’s work.

Survey Methodology: Identifies principles about the design, collection, processing, and analysis of surveys in connection to the cost and quality of survey estimates.  It focuses on improving quality within cost constraints, or alternatively, reducing costs for a fixed level of quality.  Survey methodology is both a scientific field and a profession.  Part of the task of a survey methodologist is making a large set of decisions about thousands of individual features of a survey in order to improve it.  Learn more about ClearPath Synergy.

Teamwork: The collaboration of a group of people.

Technology, Information: Information technology (IT) is concerned with the development, management, and use of computer-based information systems.  Humans have been storing, retrieving, manipulating and communicating information since the Sumerians in Mesopotamia developed writing in about 3000 BC, but the term “information technology” in its modern sense first appeared in a 1958 article published in the Harvard Business Review; authors Leavitt and Whisler commented that “the new technology does not yet have a single established name.  We shall call it information technology (IT).”  Based on the storage and processing technology employed, it is possible to distinguish four distinct phases of IT development: pre-mechanical (3000 BC – 1450 AD), mechanical (1450–1840), electromechanical (1840–1940) and electronic, which began in about 1940 and continues to this day.

Unions: Organizations of workers formed for the purpose of advancing its members’ interests with respect to wages, benefits, and working conditions.

Validity: In science and statistics, validity has no single agreed definition but generally refers to the extent to which a concept, conclusion or measurement is well-founded and corresponds accurately to the real world.  The word “valid” is derived from the Latin validus, meaning strong.  The validity of a measurement tool (for example, a test in education) is considered to be the degree to which the tool measures what it claims to measure.

Values: An organization’s overtly expressed expectations of its human resources’ moral behavior.

Vision: The highest level of functioning imaginable at the present time for the future of the organization.

Wait Time: ‘Real’ wait time is an objective measure of time spent; ‘perceived’ wait time is a subjective opinion of the ‘goodness’ or ‘badness’ of the actual time spent.

Warranties: Assurances from the seller that the products are as represented, or will be as promised, often for a specific period of time.

Work Life: The quality of the human experience during working hours.

Working Relationships: The strength, value and effectiveness of superior, peer, and subordinate associations in the work place.