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General FAQs

Who is Nielsen Scarborough?

Nielsen Scarborough has been in business for over 40 years and is now a part of The Nielsen Company. Nielsen Scarborough conducts over 210,000 surveys a year throughout the United States in over one hundred metropolitan areas like yours. Nielsen Scarborough is a professional research company with nothing to sell you. Your information and answers will be used in accordance with the Nielsen Scarborough Survey Privacy Statement.


What is Market Research?

Market research is used by thousands of companies every year to help them understand what consumers buy, why they buy products and services, and what they think about different companies and products.

With the information they learn from market research, companies decide what products/services to offer, how to reach potential consumers, and where to market their products/services. Consumers benefit because the items available to them become more customized and useful.

Surveys like Nielsen Scarborough measure the opinions and behaviors of consumers. This begins with selecting a cross-section of households to represent thousands of consumers in the same area. It isn't possible to survey every person in an area, so researchers take a scientific approach to select the few households that will serve to represent many other people and households. Those selected can never be substituted with another household. So, when a consumer refuses to do the survey, the research firm has lost that representative along with all those individuals/households for whom the consumer represents.

Nielsen Scarborough hopes that in understanding a little bit about how research helps consumers, those households that are contacted will be willing to take the time to hear the survey and answer the questions.

Remember - your opinions count!


Why did you contact me?

Households were randomly selected to be the “voice” for others in your local area. By participating in our research, you have the opportunity to tell local businesses about your choices and preferences in consumer products and services so that they can serve you better. This is why your participation in the Nielsen Scarborough Consumer Survey is so important. Your answers will be counted for the many people who were not invited to do the survey.


What are you selling?

Nielsen Scarborough is NOT a telemarketing company. We are not trying to sell you anything. We are a market research company conducting market research in your geographic area. Our aim is to have you participate in the survey, not to make a sale. Your information and answers will be used in accordance with the Nielsen Scarborough Survey Privacy Policy.


How do I know it's research when I pick up the phone?

Many telemarketers start their calls by asking questions, then switch to selling a service or a product. A legitimate market research company will always start by telling you who they are and why they are calling. If you want to make sure at the beginning of a call whether you are talking to a telemarketer or a research company, stop the caller and ask their ultimate purpose of the call. Ask the person to explain what his or her company does, and what the outcome of the call will be.


Why am I being called when I’m on the National Do Not Call Registry?

As a market research company, we do not qualify as telemarketers, and are exempt from the FTC rules regarding adherence to the National Do Not Call Registry. We appreciate your privacy and your time and hope you choose to complete our Survey.


Why can't the interviewer who called me take my name off the list?

For data security reasons, the interviewer has no access or ability to change any information in the system. So we ask that you please call 1-800-753-6043, email us or submit your information here to verify that it is really you asking to be removed from our list. We appreciate your cooperation and patience in getting your request fulfilled.


How did you get my contact information?

We use different methods for different studies. In some cases we randomly select respondents from a group of addresses from your entire local area. In other cases, we randomly select listed phone numbers from your local area and supplement them with random dialing of other (unlisted) phone numbers from your local area. It would be impossible for us to complete a survey with everyone in your area, so researchers take a scientific approach to selecting the households that will stand for many people. For statistical reasons, those selected can never be substituted with another household, so when a consumer refuses to do the survey, the research firm has lost your representation. This is why your answers to the survey are so important and they will make a difference for all of the people in your local geography.

If you would like to be removed from the Nielsen Scarborough contact list, please call 1-800-753-6043, email us, or submit your information here. It may take a few days to update our system in processing your request.


Why should I do the survey?

Your opinion counts! You have the opportunity to be “the voice” of many households in your local area. Retailers and media companies want to know how to better serve you. You can help by participating in the survey so that local businesses understand your actual day-to-day choices and preferences in consumer products and services.

Results from market research studies like this one are used by thousands of companies every year to help them understand what consumers buy, why they buy certain products and services, and what they think about different companies and products. With this information, companies decide which products/services to offer and how to reach potential consumers. People like yourself benefit because the items available to them become more customized and useful.

Since it isn’t possible to survey every person in a geographic area, researchers take a scientific approach to selecting the households that will represent many people in the same area. Those selected can never be substituted with another household, so when a consumer refuses to do the survey, the research firm has lost that representation of those with the similar habits. This is why it is so important for you to complete this survey. Remember, research studies such as this help support the local economy, which benefits everyone.


Who in my household should complete the Nielsen Scarborough Consumer Survey?

Please refer to the specific instructions in the letter you received from us regarding WHO in your household should fill out the survey. Some of the surveys are designed for specific members of your household. This ensures that all age groups are represented in our research.


Why do you ask for the person with the last birthday or a specific person to complete the survey?

Many research companies use this method to select their participants. Birthdays are randomly distributed among consumer populations. By asking each time for the person with the last birthday, Nielsen Scarborough obtains a strong cross-section of age, gender, education, income, etc. so that all types of persons and households will be well-represented in the survey. In some cases we may ask for a specific demographic, someone in a certain age group, to answer the survey. For example, in some areas we may ask for an 18-34 year old male to complete the survey. We may do this when we are missing representation from a particular group and are looking for well-rounded representation. Please refer to the letter we sent you for any specific instructions.


What will Nielsen Scarborough do with my answers and what will the study results be used for?

Your answers are vital to the study because you will represent so many other people in your area. Once a household has been selected for the study, for statistical reasons, another household cannot be substituted if the first household decides not to participate. If we don't receive your answers, we miss the answers of many other households similar to yours.

Typically your responses will be grouped together with those of all the other survey participants and will not be looked at individually. They will be used to help companies determine how to better serve their customers. All of the information you give us and that we collect about you will only be used in accordance with the Nielsen Scarborough Survey Privacy Statement.


Are my answers kept private?

Yes. Your answers will be kept confidential and publicly reported only in combination with other survey participants; they will never be publicly reported individually. Protecting your privacy is one of our top priorities. All of the information that you give us and that we collect about you will be only used in accordance with the Nielsen Scarborough Survey Privacy Statement. Nielsen Scarborough will never give your name or address to any company that wants to sell you things.

For more information on our privacy policy, please click here.


Why do you ask personal questions?

The personal questions we ask help to give retailers and local media companies an idea of what types of products and services appeal to different people. All of the information you give us and that we collect about you will only be used in accordance with the Nielsen Scarborough Survey Privacy Policy. Protecting your privacy is one of our largest priorities. We will not give your name or address to any company that wants to sell you things.


Why did I receive a cash gift?

The money that you received is a just a small token of our appreciation for your participation in the Nielsen Scarborough Consumer Survey.


What if I have more questions not answered here?

If you have any questions that are not answered here, please feel free to call us at 1-800-753-6043, send us an email at scarbanswers@nielsen.com or submit your request here.