Get Demographic Questions Right – A Pangborn Topic

by Carrie Janot
Vice President, Marketing

Get Demographic Questions Right – A Pangborn Topic

Meeting new challenges in a changing world

At the Pangborn Sensory Science Symposium in France earlier this month, the team presented solutions to assist brands, marketers, and product development teams in achieving success with three key poster presentations

Kris Wright presented the important topic “Are Demographics the Right Way to Humanize Your Story?” – which highlights the need to asking the right demographic questions, ensuring both representation and respect.  


Get Demographic Questions Right

In market research, demographic questions have long been used to categorize consumers based on various factors. While these can be valuable for understanding diverse perspectives, getting these questions right is more difficult. These questions must be structured and presented in such a way that truly respects participants’ identities. InsightsNow collaborated with the Insights Association’s IDEA Council to uncover best practices for asking demographic questions through a series of research-on-research projects, the results of which are highlighted in this poster presentation. 


Decide if You Really Need Demographic Questions  

Our results highlight the importance of asking demographic questions with respect and inclusivity. But, researchers should first consider the relevance and sensitivity of such questions for each project. Sometimes these questions may not be needed. It’s important for researchers to assess this need (or lack thereof) at the project start. Sometimes avoiding these questions can help prevent respondent alienation. 


Humanize Your Research 

In our poster presentation, we share alternatives to demographic questions that better ensure inclusivity of diverse voices like behavior-based measures—such as motivations and values—that humanize your research participants. Researchers can use these behavioral insights to really bring the whole research story to life, and this can offer more depth and meaning than mere demographics might – an important consideration to ensure the best results. 


Want to learn more about humanizing your research and using demographic questions the right way? Reach out to chat about our poster and our research with the Insights Association to find out how you can apply these important findings to your next initiative