Research techniques


IRB Europe is a full service research agency, incorporating all modern data-collection techniques. We constantly look for a creative response to your research problem, by developing the most appropriate methodology.

We offer international and national research, in depth qualitative or structured quantitative methods, computer-assisted interviews or written questionnaires.

The type of technique used depends on how much they can contribute to the efficiency of the research.

Face-to-face interviews

are used where a personal contact is required to show material, carry out more in-depth investigations where a relationship needs to be built up with the respondent, gain insight into the individual's motivation, or encourage open-ended exploration of topics. They can be based on very small qualitative numbers of respondents, or large representative samples of populations or subgroups. They can also be taped or filmed. Typically they use our Computer assisted personal interviewing (CAPI) programme, being recorded on smartphones, tablets or netbooks.

Focus groups and in depth interviews

are used to obtain an expression of participants' deeper perceptions in relation to a product/brand service, and use the group dynamic to explore issues in a less structured way, allowing ideas and attitudes to bounce off each other. They allow the use of techniques such as role playing, competitive teams, video projection, surfing the internet. Most focus groups are composed of the moderator and around 7-8 respondents.

The findings stand up in their own right, or can be used to design the questionnaire for the quantitative phase of a project based on Telephone interviews, for example; by discovering the real issues that concern respondents, in the right language.

Individual interviews, or mini-groups of from 2-6 respondents, can also be used for certain needs.

During the survey, the client is invited to view the sessions through one way mirrors or video monitors. When requested, simultaneous translation can be provided.

Telephone interviews

are usually based on structured questionnaires using Computer assisted telephone interviewing (CATI); this widely used technology is both accurate and efficient, and leads to fast delivery of results.

As with all IRB Europe surveys, local language is always used; from our CATI equipped Brussels call centre, telephone interviewers call all over the world in over 30 languages.

On-line surveys

For many consumer studies, IRB Europe recommends on-line surveys where questions are mostly structured, and especially where material has to be shown: prompt cards, new product concepts, advertising campaigns etc.

Mystery Shopping

Involves pretending to be a B2B or consumer customer, in entering a shop, phoning a store for prices, checking a service company. It requires well trained and experienced mystery shoppers able to maintain a role as "client" following a very precise scenario. This technique allows a client, for example, to check whether his brand is being recommended, what level of service is offered, what arguments the same person is using.

Desk research

Sourcing data via the internet can help with competitive analysis, website research, search for market data, and building up lists of manufacturers, distributors and dealers for different research needs. Our multilingual team can search information across any European and some non-European languages.