Custom study panel

The postal panel can be specific for two types of small segments of the population: one is demographic and the other is behavioural. The research firm may already have information in its files identifying such households of people. If this is not the case, most research firms offering custom panel use provide postal

Syndicated research services screening. Alternatively, most of these firms will make a fast telephone survey to locate those who qualify.

A postal panel does have some definite drawbacks. It is usually self-administered, so the questionnaire is filled in by the respondent without supervision and can clearly be seen in its entirety before any questions are answered. Where careful sequencing through the questioning steps is required to obtain reliable information, the postal panel, like the postal questionnaire, can produce misleading findings. Moreover, as is the case with all postal questionnaires, it is unlikely that a person's response to an open-ended question will be very deep. No opportunity exists for an interviewer to probe to get a full and meaningful reply. An inherent disadvantage of the custom panel is the time it takes for results. It is at least as slow as the outgoing and returning post. Another disadvantage is that the typical custom panel has no way of showing its members television commercials and so has no way of getting reactions to these.

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