Date of publication: September 1, 1998

Author: ESOMAR B.V.


Since the earliest days of marketing and social research, attempts have been made to group populations and survey respondents into classes: groupings which discriminate between people in ways which are considered likely to be relevant to the research objectives. We all know from our own experience that people from different social groups differ not only in what they can afford but in their preferences and habits. Such information has always been used to set quotas for samples and in the analysis of survey results; frequently the classification variables are ‘proxies’ for what the researcher is really interested in but is unable to measure directly, such as their tastes and attitudes towards the product in question. Classification variables such as sex and age are straightforward to obtain. In this chapter we look at one of the oldest, but still most vexed and problematic, classifications: social class or socio-economic grading.

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