Operations Division
CAPI, CATI, PAPI and online fieldwork in Hungary.

Some questions may be left unanswered but there are no answers without questions. We can find the most suitable solution for our clients no matter if fieldwork is done using laptop computers or traditional, paper-based questionnaires, telephone or online methods, customer or business samples.

We have extensive experience in all areas of sample preparation, fieldwork and data processing. Our methods have been developed based on our company’s international practice of over two decades and we continue to improve and adjust them to current needs.

Established in 2011, our Observer line of business offers fieldwork and data processing services to clients who need “field&tab” implementation. Due to a nationwide network of interviewers equipped with laptops, we are fast and cost-effective in preparing high-quality and accurate data designed to help our clients in their decision-making processes and we present those in the output formats as required by the clients.

Are you experienced in research and have the manpower for in-house data analysis and there is no need for research experts? If so, the Field Observer business line of Ipsos is the ideal business partner for you.

  1. In-depth Ipsos fieldwork infrastructure
  2. Fieldwork Department
  3. Quality control
  4. Methodology
  5. International projects

1. In-depth Ipsos fieldwork infrastructure

While meeting the highest quality standards, we conducted a total of 233,000 interviews in 2013 in the following data collection fields:

Field distribution

Personal research (CAPI/PAPI)

Our company is supported by one of the largest fieldwork network with over 600 interviewers all over the country. We work with nine regional managers (3 instructors in Budapest and 6 in the country) who hire interviewers as needed, support their daily operations, offer the required trainings and supervise fieldwork. Relying on the skills and experience of our workforce of regional managers and interviewers, we conduct even the most challenging projects in full compliance with strict quality requirements whether these are computer assisted personal interviewing (CAPI) or paper and pen personal interviewing (PAPI) projects. Equipped with special skills, our interviewers can guarantee that the job ordered by the client is completed in the required quality and by the agreed deadline even with target groups with limited access or projects with sensitive samples.

Our IT network that includes 300 laptops enables us to maintain continuous and real-time quality control in accordance with the ISO 20254 standards.

Online research

“Is online research suitable for me?,” we ask the question day after the day. Change comes so fast in this industry that the projects simply not suitable for online data collection only a decade ago are now perfectly suited for this solution.

Our online research projects are coordinated by Ipsos Interactive Services (IIS), a highly experience online team.

The Hungarian household panel consists of 75,000 members. The panel is continuously updated using offline and online recruiting methods.

Telephone research projects

We conduct telephone research projects through external partners. To keep our prices competitive, we work with several sub-contractors qualified to deliver the quality we expect.

2. Fieldwork Department

Beginning January 2008, as the number of research projects increased and the client needs became more diverse, we began to restructure the operation of our Fieldwork Department. This decision was a result of expert analytical work and careful preparation. One of the key steps of this change was to develop and implement the system of fieldwork managers. Currently, we have thee colleagues with special qualifications working these jobs. With their help, operative tasks have become more transparent and now there is continuous information exchange between the fieldwork staff and the research units involved. The managers are tasked with coordinating, managing and supervising all the phases of the fieldwork activity structure of the specific research projects at an expert level. Their job is also to ascertain that the aspects of interviewing technology standards are fully complied with during the editing of the questionnaires of the selected data collection methodology. One of their priority tasks is to plan the fieldwork capacity, train the interviewers and the instructors and achieve the required professional level. They have to inform the researcher about each and every key research steps. Fieldwork managers also interact with the Quality Control Department to quickly correct any interviewer errors based on the latest control results.

Relying on its two decades of dynamically growing professional know-how and expertise, Szonda Ipsos continuously modernizes its fieldwork system covering the entire country. 7 regional managers organise and coordinate the work of the interviewers. As a result of a long-term effort that began in January 2008, we have been able to build a team of managers and interviews performing consistently and in compliance of the highest professional standards. When compiling the group of 40 “elite” interviewers, we focused on recruiting members with years of interviewing experience and exceptional quality indicators. The group is managed and supervised by a lead instructor with years of fieldwork experience. Fieldwork tasks in Budapest are conducted by an additional 4 full-time instructors. When modernising, we also paid attention to ensure flexibility of the fieldwork system, i.e. to create a structure capable of handling workloads in excess of our standard capacities. For this purpose, we established a group of 4 instructors who, from time to time, participate in the Institute’s fieldwork activities with their interviewers as per the professional expectations of Szonda Ipsos.

We currently work with 1453 interviewers, 30% of whom hold college degrees and 60% secondary school diplomas. Szonda Ipsos uses virtually all fieldwork methods and technologies; therefore, our interviewers are required to be skilled in all of them. Existing interviewing techniques are further diversified by the increased use of laptop computers in fieldwork. Nowadays, approx. 70–80% of all interviews are conducted using laptops to guarantee speed and higher data security. CAPI fieldwork is supported by 400 laptops relying on the required IT background.

Our institute employs only interviewers who successfully completed the interviewer training. On average, 35% of the applicants for interviewer positions pass the tests and the test interview and are added to the fieldwork network. All applicants for instructor positions must have years of experience as interviewers in addition to the unique set of skills required for the job. The field managers, instructors and interviewers are trained and prepared for field work based on the thematic background materials provided by the Field Methodology Team. To ensure the highest possible quality and improve professional safety, our Professional Workshop regularly analyses any difficulties and errors found during fieldwork.

The sample preparation specialists rely on their decades of experience when preparing the samples of the research projects to launch. At the personal interviews of our fieldwork, we prepare interviews, whenever possible, with randomly selected sample members purchased from KEKKH and treated as primary addresses. However, if the interview cannot be completed due to some objective reason (e.g. the interviewee refuses to answer, passes away or moves to an unknown location), a new address is randomly selected based on the quota requirements of the primary address or the questionnaire is used at the secondary address assigned to the primary one. In each research project, correct sample management is one of the critical control criteria and is a factor that weighs heavily in the ranking of the interviewer’s performance.

We use a special training material to teach our interviewers the right sample management techniques, the importance of the expected application and the dire consequences of irregular sample management. Relying on the thematically organised set of practical examples from the past years, we provide regular assistance to our interviewers to support their job and help them prepare the interviews as effectively as possible at the primary addresses.

The work of the Fieldwork Department is supported by feedback from the Quality Control Department, an independently operating organisational unit. For more details on their work, please click Quality Assurance in the menu.

3. Quality control

Quality is an integral part of everyday work processes because it is our key to success. Quality refers to the data collected, information security and ethical data management.

In cooperation with the Society of Hungarian Professional Market Research Agencies (SHPMRA), we have introduced the ISO 20252 standard and the SHPMRA modules to support our already exceptional quality assurance practice and our commitment to quality.

We obtained our original ISO 9001 certification on 1 March 1998. The certificate was issued by SGS Hungária Kft. Since then, we have always successfully passed all audits due every three years.

Each of our research projects is monitored by the Quality Control Department currently staffed with 2 qualified controllers. The control phase is of key importance in everyday fieldwork. Control data paint an accurate picture of the quality of the fieldwork in a specific research project. This is the assessment based on which interviewers and instructors are rated individually, thereby providing a motivating factor in their payment system. The structural changes in the operation of the Fieldwork Department have resulted in some necessary updates in the control system. We have outlined the objectives the new system must implement, the most important ones being the following:

  • fast feedback,
  • support for quick payment of the jobs completed,
  • support for the correction of any fieldwork errors identified even during the fieldwork phase,
  • high professional quality,
  • objective picture for management.

The objectives above can only be realised by continuous control being as close to the interview date as possible. This requirement may only be valid for laptop-based interviews. For paper and pen interviews, the control phase can only begin after the first partial results are submitted. Here, this is also important that the control phase ends only days after fieldwork is completed. The benefit of a control phase being close in time to the interview date is that the interviewee still has accurate memories and thus can achieve a more reliable feedback. All fieldwork results are controlled to at least 10% of the data submitted. Depending on the specific research, the researcher may request a higher percentage of the questionnaires to be controlled even up to 100%. This control is normally over the phone based on a targeted control questionnaire. These questionnaires prepared for the Control Department are designed to find out if the interview was prepared as required, if the interviewer did go to the scene, if the interview was made with the right person, if the factual data in the interview are true representations of the facts, if all the topics on the questionnaire were asked and if any background materials (audio-visual materials, cards, deck of cards) were used during the interview. This is how the questionnaires completed in part or in full by the interviewer are filtered, the questionnaires are returned for interview and, consequently, the interviewers violating the rules are excluded from the fieldwork system. If necessary, a personal check may be performed to clarify beyond any doubt the circumstances of the interview and the professional level and reliability of the job performed by the interviewer. After the fieldwork is completed and the questionnaire data are processed, we analyse all question-related data, which we then typify relevant to interviewers and instructor districts. These analyses indicate the following data: interview times, address utilisation (ratio of interviews conducted at primary addresses), distribution of reasons for unused primary addresses, number of questionnaires used by the individual interviewer. In addition to the above, the Control Department places a heavy emphasis on identifying interviewer errors typical for the specific interviewer or instructor district. In a certain research project, for instance, the skipped or unnecessarily asked questions may be related to a specific issue. This is when the investigation must uncover the cause of the issue, i.e. whether it is a general interviewer error or rather related to the editing of the questionnaire (unclear instruction in the question field, formal error, etc.). The Control Department provides feedback to the Fieldwork Department on the errors uncovered and analysed to help minimise future errors.

4. Methodology

Computer Assisted Personal Interviewing (CAPI)

We were among the first to introduce this interviewing methodology, which not only shortens interviewing deadlines but also improves the reliability of the results and the value for money of the specific project. Flash reports may be generated as early as 60% of this project phase is completed because data are received by the central server on a daily basis. We use this solution to prepare over 50% of our personal interviews, which means over 100,000 interviews per year. Our fieldwork network consists of 360 laptop computers.

Paper and pen personal interviewing (PAPI)

PAPI is the basic type of fieldwork. The printed questionnaires are filled in in ink by the interviewers based on the respondents’ answers or by the respondents themselves for self-fill questionnaires or log-based fieldwork.

Personal interviewing is a widely used methodology in the fields of market, media and opinion research. The questionnaire may differ between the various research fields both in form and in content. The key benefit of this solution is that it produces an objective result on a representative sample which then can be generalised.

Computer Assisted Telephone Interviewing (CATI)

In CATI the paper and the pen is replaced by the computer, where the order of the questions, the available answers and the logical relationship between the questions are pre-programmed. The key benefit of the phone-based interviewing method is that fieldwork takes little time, as little as one day with small samples, and a flash report can be generated from the data as early as the day after the fieldwork activity.

Computer Assisted Web Interviewing (CAWI)

In line with international tendencies, online research has become increasingly popular in Hungary in recent years. The key benefit of this solution is that hard-to-access target groups can be involved, it is free from interviewer and data recording errors and thus provides more reliable results.

As the questionnaire is available at any time, even hundreds of respondents can complete it at a time and the first results are visible in a matter of hours. In comparison to other research methods, CAWI yields cost savings in a number of areas (e.g. printing press, interviewers, travel, data recording) and thereby leaves more resources available for in-depth analysis.


Omnibus is a quantitative research method where a single questionnaire contains questions by several clients. If someone wants to study a particular topic only with a few questions, they do not have to finance a separate research and, as an added benefit, the cost of the so-called social-demographic indicators segmenting the questions is distributed among the clients ordering the Omnibus research. You can obtain reliable data based on broad-scale fieldwork with a short and predictable deadline.

Omnibus online (i:Omnibus)

As of March 2012, a new service, called i:Omnibus, was added to our omnibus system offering an online omnibus option to a number of domestic and international research options. The key benefit of this new solution is that clients can receive file-level data within a week after ordering this service.

The sample is provided from Ipsos’s own online panel. This service combines the benefits of the omnibus solution with the speed of online surveys.

Mystery Shopping

This solution can be used to study specific service and administrative processes as well as the quality of information service or customer persuasion skills.

In the course of a “mystery shopping” highly trained interviewers play the role of a client or a customer in a shopping or service situations to collect information and observe as the events unfold, and then complete a questionnaire off-site after the shopping or service situation takes place.

In comparison to other fieldwork solutions, the key benefit of this solution is that the persons being “observed” are not aware of the research project and, thus, the results a free from any distortions.

Distribution survey

We have reviewed the sales channels of a number of multinational companies to help them increase their operational efficiency and ensure that they can have a realistic and clear picture of the sales environment even as early as the strategic planning phase. During this survey we assess the locations and product portfolios of certain stores and their POS materials and prepare a searchable database from the data accumulated.

5. International projects:
cooperation within the Ipsos Group.

Ipsos Group is represented in 84 countries and through our member companies we conduct research activities in over 100 countries worldwide. This international network enables us to provide our clients with data in any fieldwork activities quickly and efficiently even in the case of regional and global projects.

Ipsos global