Migrating consumer research to public policy

Date of publication: May 9, 2004


This paper presents an approach to sensitive social issues such as terrorism, genetically modified foods, obesity, etc., using state of the art research typically used among consumers: conjoint measurement and segmentation. Rather than relying on conventional questionnaires subject to politically correct answers, the approach uses conjoint measurement to present 'vignettes' to respondents. This approach transcends the problem of political correctness, shows how policy elements drive comfort vs. discomfort, and allows response-based segmentation to social policy issues independent of political correctness. The approach is demonstrated for a linked database of 15 such studies with more than 1,500 respondents. The research approach has four main strengths: powerful measurement, elimination of politically correct answers; powerful database for meta-analysis; ability to assess frequency of a major issue in the mind of the respondent population; and the ability to understand the key elements of a category that respondents use to make sense of it, and the key elements that actually drive their behavior.

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