Coding Glossary

Closed-Ended Questions:

Questions that ask a respondent to choose from a list of precoded answers (e.g., "Yes" or "No"; "Excellent," "Good," "Fair," or "Poor").


A unique number ("answer code") that is associated with each answer to a question. As a verb, coding means to categorize answers to open-ended questions.


See Codeframe


Refers to the list of codes created to summarize the responses to a question or topic.

Customer-Relationship-Management (CRM) System:

A system or process that tracks all the interactions (sales, marketing, customer service, support, etc.) an organization has with customers. These systems are used to manage client relationships, measure return on investment (ROI), and mine data.


The observations or measurements resulting from surveys, unit or dollar sales, and other types of measurement.

Data Collection:

The process of systematically gathering information (answers, ratings, expenditures, reasons, etc.) related to the subject and purpose of a marketing research project.

Data Processing:

Typically refers to the coding and tabulation processes involved in marketing research studies. The term is also used in information technology and has a broader meaning that encompasses the processing of all data for a company.

Data-Scraping (Also called Web-Scraping):

The process of searching publicly accessible websites such as blogs, social networks, and other sites where people post information about themselves (their interests and hobbies, their hopes and dreams, etc.) and then retrieving or scraping all the relevant information about a brand, product, or service.

IVR (Interactive Voice Response):

A system that allows phone callers to provide answers to a programmed voice survey by using the phone keypad or simply saying the answer (voice recognition).

Natural-Language Processing (NLP):

NLP is the science of a computer program to understand human speech patterns and meaning.


A grouping of answer codes to open-ended questions. For example, all answers related to "product quality" might be grouped together in a net (with all duplication of respondents eliminated) to see how many respondents mentioned product quality.

Open-Ended Questions:

Questions that ask respondents to reply in their own words.

Other-Specify Questions:

Questions that present a precoded list of answers to choose from and also give the respondent the option to "write in" an answer.

Preset List:

A list of answers to choose from.

Primary Data:

New, original data obtained as a result of a survey or research project.

Qualitative Research:

Research that is open-ended and nondirective in nature so that participants can give any answer they wish. Focus groups and depth interviews are examples of qualitative research techniques. Observation research (ethnography) is also classified as a qualitative technique.

Quantitative Research:

Marketing research based on large samples, structured questionnaires, surveys, and numeric analysis of the results. Quantitative research can also be applied to database analytics and the quantitative analysis of other marketing data sets.


A set of questions asked in order to collect the data necessary to fulfill the objectives of a research project.

Raw Data:

Survey data before it has had quality-assurance processing, tabulation, analysis, or interpretation.

Respondent ID:

A unique code (usually a numeric sequence) assigned to each respondent to identify that respondent during the course of a study and to identify that respondent's answers in the study data file.


The people who respond to and participate in a research study.

Secondary Data:

Previously collected and published data.

Sentiment Analysis:

Through natural-language processing, sentiment analysis refers to a computer or machine classifying textual responses as positive, neutral, or negative.

Structured Data:

Data that resides in fixed locations, or a fixed set of answers to a given question.

Text Analytics:

The process of extracting the meaningful information from text using natural language processing. Also known as Text Mining.

Text Mining:

See Text Analytics

Unstructured Data:

Refers to free-form text or data that does not reside in fixed locations.


A respondent's exact answer (recorded word for word) to an open-ended question.

Web Scraping:

See Data Scraping