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IMAS PRESENTATION

Background Information

IMAS has been set up in 1992 as the first entirely private market research company in
Romania.

In 1995 IMAS became ESOMAR member.

IMAS is currently one of the largest market research companies in the country, and it
is very sound established in financial and organizational terms. IMAS has currently 57
full time employees, among which 12 researchers, 4 central coordinators and 9 area
coordinators for the fieldwork. The national network of interviewers consists of 500
persons.

IMAS has conducted over 100,000 personal interviews in 2009, most of them within
national representative samples. We have made also app. 200 Focus Groups and in-
depth interviews in 2009.

The awareness of the company among both the general public and the elite
(administration, politics, media, etc.) is very high. This provides us an important
comparative advantage: our interviewers are able to get a relatively easy access to
respondents all over the country, which helps them to maintain a relative low refusal
rate. And that is an essential condition in order to comply with the quality standards of
the fieldwork.

As a private company acting in a very particular kind of business, IMAS chooses to


adopt and internalize a philosophy of comprehensive dedication to the client.
Accordingly, our company has set forward its leading mission. We are acknowledging
that, instead of a self oriented activity, the market research should be an important
tool for the clients in addressing their problems, and especially in empowering them
when confronted with one of the most critical issues: making efficient decisions.

The Quality and the Motivation of the Personnel


All the senior researchers in IMAS have graduated the university (in sociology,
mathematics or economics). Some of them have already completed their master
programs, others are still undergoing these stages in higher education. In addition, we
frequently organize in house training courses, in order to assure their access to the
considerable stock of knowledge and technical procedures accumulated by the
company over the time. As a company that has been continuously expending its
professional expertise over more than 15 years, IMAS developed a large set of
internal rules and procedures, which allows for an efficient transfer of scientific
experience and quality standards among the research personnel.

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Quantitative research

Fieldwork Capacity
Well structured and employing numerous, experienced people, the Fieldwork
Department of IMAS is the real backbone of all the research projects. This
Department is currently structured as following:
Head of the Department - with an experience of more 5 yrs. as fieldwork
interviewer and more than 10 yrs. as regional fieldwork coordinator;
Interviewers trainer - with an experience of more than 10 yrs. as fieldwork
interviewer and regional coordinator, trainer main tasks are: IMAS’s interviewers
recruitment and training and writing and up-dating all training documentation;
Database assistant – with more than 10 years experience in data collection, data
entry, database centralizing;
Regional fieldwork coordinators (4 people): based at the headquarter of the
company, they are assigned a particular region of the country; the job description
for this category of staff defines their responsibilities in recruiting and training local
area coordinators, interviewers, etc., as well as in organizing and controlling the
fieldwork, which suppose frequent visits in the respective areas;
Local area fieldwork coordinators (9 people): based all over the country, they are
assigned a restricted area (usually 2-6 counties) and have responsibilities for
recruiting, training, organizing and controlling the activity of interviewers, and
monitoring the existing surveys;
Interviewers (500 people in our database): based all over the country, they are
alternatively employed by the local area coordinators, depending on the specific
tasks of each research project;
The usual responsibilities of the Fieldwork Department consist of several types of
activities, including overall planning and organizing of the fieldwork, recruitment and
training of the interviewers, conducting the interviews, organizing the qualitative
studies (focus group sessions and in-depth interviews) in the country (except
Bucharest), production, distribution and collecting of the research documents
(questionnaires, sampling sheets etc.), quality control.
All interviewers are legally contracted by IMAS-SA for part time jobs according to the
new Labor Code. Each interviewer receives a fiscal report on its income every year, to
be used for Global Income Tax.

Hardware Equipment and Software


Currently, IMAS displays an important capacity of data processing, which is based on
a powerful hardware equipment: 2 servers (mail server for fast communication, and
FTP secure server for large data transfer through Internet), and an Intranet network
consisting of 50 PCs of latest generation. IMAS has the capacity of digitizing data
from large scale studies in relatively short time intervals. Our focus suites have been
wired to provide full support for audio, video and digital recording trough state-of-the-
art recording equipment.
The Department in charge with data encoding and data entry consists of 4 full time
employees, and frequently employs extra, part-time personnel for supplementary
tasks.
The main data processing software is the SPSS package, which is also used for
developing applications (SPSS Production Facility), including those for data entry
(SPSS Data Entry). Over the time, our IT Department has developed several software
applications for market research studies, public opinion surveys and media audience
studies (BOP, CAPI software, MASOP, MASOR).

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IMAS endowments

Focus group room is a very modern one, its equipments including audio/video
recording systems, meeting room for clients with TV for watching group discussions
live, and one way mirror room. IMAS mobile equipment specially designed for
interviews recording allows us to organise focus group sessions everywhere in
Romania. Both equipment sets (fixed and mobile) facilitate simultaneous translation.

The perception analyzer is the system through which respondents reactions are
detected in real time while they watch an ad, an election spot, a debate, or while
listening to a radio transmission or a melody fragment. Respondents’ reactions are
recorded electronically. Thus we are able to determine the measure in which the
respondent likes or dislikes the tested issue, both totally and sequentially (time units).

CAPI - Computer Assisted Personal Interview is the method of personal / face to


face interviewing, entering the respondents answers in computer directly.
By using CAPI method, the data collection is much faster and the data accuracy
increases significantly.
IMAS has developed its own CAPI software and holds a fleet of over 200 last
generation notebooks.

CATI - Computer Assisted Telephone Interview is the method of phone


interviewing, entering the respondents answers in computer directly.
CATI method makes the data collection process faster, the data accuracy increases,
and the costs are significantly reduced.
IMAS uses NIPO CATI software and holds a fleet of 20 CATI stations.

Fieldwork procedures

Selection and training of interviewers


The selection and training of IMAS interviewers follows a very specific procedure,
including as main steps the following activities: self presentations’ selection, first
interview, training session regarding interviewers’ work, interviewers’ theoretical and
practical evaluation.
After the training and evaluation made by IMAS specialized trainers, the interviewer
enters the interviewers’ team.
For each new survey the interviewers are involved in, specific short training sessions
are made by the regional/area coordinators and/or by the researchers.

Scheduling and assignment of interviews


On a regular survey (5 to 7 fieldwork days) each interviewer is assigned maximum 15
interviews. The allocation of interviews is based on an assumption of two completed
interviews per working day, and three per weekend day.
Interviewers report periodically to the local area field coordinator the progress of their
work and any special problems. Three days before the scheduled end of fieldwork (or
earlier in case of special problems), the project manager receives a report on the state
of fieldwork completion.
A new-entry interviewer is assigned with maximum 10 interviews for its first two
surveys, and is subject to thorough back checking performed by SOT or by SCC
(Quality and Control Department).

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Protocol for supervision of interviewers
There are three levels of supervision:
The Fieldwork Department checks, by phone, 7-10% off all interviews, randomly
selected;
Quality and control department performs a double-checking of the fieldwork
activity, independent of the control made by the Fieldwork Department. Their
targets are designed by the project manager, based on peculiar statistics
(percentage of interviews completed at 1st visit, number of non-responses, odd
distribution of responses, etc.).
The total number of back-checked interviews is of 20% of the sample.

Methods for ensuring quality control in the field


Fieldwork control is conducted following a standard questionnaire that includes the
following indicators:
- Visit by the interviewer at the day and time recorded on the questionnaire;
- Matching the address with the one resulted from the random extraction;
- Verifying the respondent’s selection procedure;
- Duration of interview;
- Showing the cards used while doing the interview;
- Repeating a small number of questions from the questionnaire.

Both the Fieldwork Department and of the Quality and Control Department are
extremely attentively setup and the information regarding the fieldwork activity is very
accurate.
The Fieldwork Department holds an updated interviewers database where all local
area coordinators, interviewers’ tasks (assignment to research projects, number of
interviews conducted etc.), performances (refusal rates), and capacity to comply with
the specific fieldwork procedures (e.g. selecting addresses and respondents,
respecting the particular date and/or part of the day for conducting the interviews etc.)
are recorded.
Quality and Control Department holds a database containing all the local area
coordinators and the interviewers, the surveys for which any of them was warned, the
costs involved in each of them work (incomes, transportation, etc.)

Data management

Data entry
PAPI (pencil and paper interview)
We now use the data entry tool called SPSS Data Entry. Thus, we are able to include
a maximum of logical controls, as to reduce the number of punching errors. The final
data file is SPSS format, and all variables are labeled. From the SPSS (.sav) format,
we may produce any type of database format (ASCII, dBase, etc.).
Specialized staff does coding, based on code-frames provided by the project
manager.
When having very complicated surveys, we proceed to the double entry as back
checking for correct data punching. The double entry is made for app. 10% from the
total sample.

CAPI (computer assisted personal interview)


The data is entered by interviewer in real time (while interviewing).
The data is transmitted to IMAS headquarter by local area fieldwork coordinators via
Internet.

CATI (computer assisted personal interview)


The data is entered by interviewer in real time (during the phone interviewing).

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Database cleaning
This operation is the responsibility of the project manager. He performs the following
checks:
Aberrant codes (not included in the list of listed responses), for each variable
Check of missing data; validation of questionnaires
Consistency of legal skips
All logical interrelations between variables (example – education and occupation)
These operations are performed with an SPSS syntax. The syntax is kept for the
record and can be checked by the Beneficiary.

Weighting procedures
However, if the final database will show distortions on demographic structure (when
compared to available statistics) larger than the statistical sampling error, we will
produce a weighting variable. In this case, on clients’ request the marginal
frequencies will be delivered both weighted and un-weighted.

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Qualitative research

Endowments for interviews and group interviews


IMAS focus group room is a very modern one, being equipped with:
audio-video recording devices,
visioning room for the clients (with TV),
one way mirror.

The mobile focus group recording equipment allows IMAS team holding session in
every corner of the country and contains simultaneous translation equipment, also.

Methods and techniques in qualitative research


The methods IMAS uses in qualitative research are:
focus groups,
in depth interviews,
paired interviews,
triads,
observation,
case studies.

The main areas of expertise cover domains as:


Political/Social: political/social issues understanding, lifestyle values, public
policy; electoral campaigns’ tests;
Communications Evaluation: pre/post tests of advertising, promotions, support
materials;
Media: qualitative researches for TV, radio stations, magazines, newspapers,
printing industry;
Advertising and marketing development: positioning, strategy, copy and
concept development;
Brand/Corporate Image: brand personality and equity, corporate identity.

The department capacity allows us to runs up to 100 focus group sessions and app.
200 in-depth interviews per year.

Focus groups / in-depth interviews participants’ recruitment


There are specific rules followed in the participants’ recruitment process. In Bucharest
IMAS has a fully employed recruitment coordinator and a team of 20 recruitment
interviewers. The main task of the coordinator consists in training and monitoring the
recruitment interviewers’ team, transmitting all the research recruiting details,
monitoring and supervising interviewers’ work.

In the rest of the country regions, the recruitment is made by the field interviewers and
the monitoring is done by the local area coordinators. The backup monitoring is made
by the central coordinator.

The recruitment always fulfills the client needs and requests.

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2. Experi ence

IMAS is usually conducting quantitative and qualitative research in the following


areas:

Ad hoc Consumer Research


Usage and attitude surveys (U&A)
Image and segmentation studies
Product tests
Sampling effectiveness
Packing and brand name tests
Market penetration studies
Concept and positioning studies
Customer satisfaction surveys

Ad hoc Advertising Research


Copy testing and escorting research for copy development
Pre-testing of TV commercials and ad-prints
Day-after recall studies
Advertising tracking studies
Awareness tracking studies and consumer attitudes

Ad hoc Retail Research


Ad hoc in store surveys (product selection, department usage, frustrated
purchase, brand selection, customer care, customer’ basin)
Store checks
POS advertising research

Ad hoc Social Research


Pre/post measurements during public communication campaigns
Traffic studies
Ethnic groups studies
Cultural attitudes of special target groups
Public institutions image measurement

Ad hoc Political Research


Political marketing (positioning, image building, message communication,
assessing outcomes of political campaigns for both political parties and
individual candidates)
Exit polls for Parliamentary and Presidential Elections (in 1996)
Exit polls for local elections (in 2000)
Exit polls for Parliamentary and Presidential Elections (in 2000)

Ad hoc Media Research


Audience survey
Day after recall

Continuous Research (own services or under contract services)


BOP (monthly barometer of opinions and political attitudes)
ROMNIBUS (monthly omnibus survey )
SAR (National Study for Radio Audience)