Vox populi, commonly known as vox pops, are insight interviews with people part of a target segment or the general public. These research interviews may occur in stores or on the street.
Vox pops may have many beneficial applications for the field of market research. Opinion interviews can provide useful information about consumers’ opinions of a product. Generally held in public places such as on the street, it can provide candid feedback. A firm typically gives out or ask specific questions and then analyze the obtained data.
Vox pops, such as “Man on the Street” (M.O.T.S.) interviews, may be convenient ways to gain more candid feedback. People are often too busy to take time off from work and to set up a specific time during the day to come into a research center to participate in a study. An M.O.T.S. interview does not require an appointment, nor does it require making special travel arrangements. Someone takes a few moments out of their walk to answer a couple of questions. Multiply that by many respondents, and a data set exists.
M.O.T.S. interviews may help offset any selection bias. M.O.T.S. interview pick out people randomly, thereby furnishing market researchers with a randomized sample. In a diverse city such as New York, researchers can access an array of different demographics through M.O.T.S. interviews. In an effort to further offset the selection bias that may arise out of one area’s being more populated by people of a certain class, M.O.T.S. interviews can be conducted in various areas and then combined to form a randomized data set.
Vox pops may also capitalize on the social psychological phenomenon of reciprocity. As part of the concept of reciprocity, an individual responds positively to positive actions and negatively to negative actions. If one is asked for a favor—say participating in a study for an hour—one might decline due to a busy schedule. If the researcher follows up with a smaller favor—say asking a respondent to take five minutes to answer a couple of questions—the respondent is more likely to participate in the smaller request.
Vox pops such as M.O.T.S. interviews have the potential to reduce research costs. In order to get people to make an appointment and come in to a research center for a couple of hours, market research firms may give out significant monetary rewards. The market research firm may then expound on this “positive association” and contact the respondent and ask her to participate in a longer interview study.