Industry Insights

As featured in the GRBN DEI Report, Diversity in Research: Inclusive Sampling Strategies


The events of the last few years, including the murders of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, have brought to light the need for action and further conversations about race, diversity, and equity. In the market research industry, we are tasked with the responsibility of gathering the opinions from each unique viewpoint to best inform future business decisions and influence global change. A crucial role of market research will continue to be helping businesses move away from purely performative, PR-focused gestures and toward actionable results and truly inclusive insights.

Ensuring an inclusive and culturally balanced data set doesn’t just happen; it requires intentional execution. The following steps encourage diversity practices in research methodologies, questionnaire design, and panel building

  1. Examine tried and true research methods and adjust them to be more representative. We need to make changes in research methodology to capture representative data. Surveys should go beyond standard census representation and always allow for as equal access as possible, including, but not limited to, optimizing for mobile responses. Additionally, all profiling questions need inclusive answer choices for gender, race, and ethnicity. Failing to include options for the survey participants identities is an oversight that can lead to higher dropout rates and skews final in the data.
  1. Questionnaire design must be reviewed for intentional cultural sensitivity.

The Multicultural Research Collective, a consortium of diverse research veterans co-founded by InnovateMR CEO Lisa Wilding-Brown, has learned from its research, that Hispanic/Latino communities should have the option to identify country affiliation in order more accurately reflect the respondent’s heritage. Additionally, inclusivity groups should review both the questionnaire design and any creative material to ensure that the study is culturally appropriate and representative.

  1. Design your sampling strategy for inclusivity, including oversampling for diverse cohorts and nested quotas.

How researchers gather answers when fielding is crucial to representative sample. To ensure that all groups are reached appropriately and without shortcomings, collect more responses from minority groups than will be necessary in the final data set., Researchers must set up nested quotas and use precise targeting to be sure the right survey participant is being interviewed.

  1. Present stories with the intention of respectfully and authentically connecting with audiences.

Advertising campaigns developed from market research should strive to represent the full spectrum of gender identities, ages, body types, race/ethnicities, cultures, sexual orientations, skin tones, languages, religions/spiritual affiliations, physical abilities, socio-economic statuses, etc. It is always important to never act performatively; shallow or uninformed messaging can be detrimental to any brand.

Following these tips and strategies, as well as having transparent conversations with partners and stakeholders about ensuring a multicultural approach in all research, is essential to informing the business strategies of today.

“As an industry, we will empower brands to eliminate blind spots, craft authentic and intelligent messaging, and convert their campaigns into actionable change. Measuring and understanding the consumer of today only helps to increase growth, mitigate risk, remain relevant, and maintain a competitive edge,” InnovateMR Lisa Wilding-Brown said. “We have the power to do that, which will continue to be an incredibly important responsibility.”


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About InnovateMR – InnovateMR is a full-service sampling and ResTech company that delivers faster, quality insights from business and consumer audiences utilizing cutting-edge technologies to support agile research. As industry pioneers, InnovateMR provides world-class end-to-end survey programming, targeted international sampling, qualitative and quantitative insights, and customized consultation services to support informed, data-driven strategies, and identify growth opportunities. Known for their celebrated status in customer service and results, InnovateMR combines boutique-level service with extensive global reach to achieve partner success.