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Stimuli (Market Research)

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Stimuli (Market Research)

Stimuli (stimulus in the singular) are any materials or items used to prompt respondents in a market research setting. Stimuli may be physical (such as a product) or audio / visual, such as a film or website. Stimuli are generally visual, auditory, written or tactile and are used to augment traditional interviewing techniques, aiming to direct respondents to focus on the key research point without any verbal or direct prompting and to solicit a response. Stimuli also help to make market research, which can often deal in abstract terms or ideas, more real and engaging - i.e. through the use of a physical t-shirt which respondents may then draw on to create their ideal design, as opposed to describing it to the researcher.

The use of stimulus materials is incredibly wide spread and varied. Stimuli may range from t-shirts or clothes as described above, to ideas for packaging, advertisements, building blocks, snippets of sound and a wide array of other items or interactive applications. The choice of stimuli is often related to the market research project in question - for instance, research in to a new brand of cat food may call for several differently branded cat food tins for respondents to give their opinions on.

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