The Research Questionnaire Technique: Reports of its ‘death’ have been greatly exaggerated


The validity of questionnaire methodologies has recently been scrutinised more than ever before, partly due to the rise of sophisticated alternatives such as Discrete Choice Analysis (DCA). Initial concerns over the validity of traditional questionnaire results may however be premature. The present study aimed to explore this idea in relation to wine consumption behaviour. The investigation of patterns of wine consumption behaviour involves two separate, yet related, areas of research. The first of which is related to various drivers of wine consumption, the individual’s motivations to consume wine, and so forth. The second relates to wine choice, the factors that influence choice between a range of wines. The objectives of this study were to assess: 1) the relative importance of driver and choice factors, 2) the impact of generational cohorts upon drivers of wine consumption and wine choice factors, and 3) how the results of the study varied from the drivers and choice literature with consideration given to experimental design issues such as methodolgy and sample size. A geographically balanced Australian sample was obtained (n = 1,229) and the data collection was executed by means of a telephone survey. The results showed taste to be the single agreeable item amongst both the driver of wine consumption and wine choice factors. Points of similarity and differentiation in relation to generational cohorts are discussed in the paper, as are the advantages and disadvantages of various methods for assessing consumer drivers of wine consumption and wine choice. The findings of the study suggest that when it comes to wine choice, a simple, cost- and time-effective research questionnaire designed in the ‘traditional’ mode that utilises indirect questioning may be equally as effective as DCA. This has important implications as most generally accepted constructs in the field were confirmed using the questionnaire-based data collection technique.


Thomas, J. B., Saliba, A. J., & Bruwer, J. (2011). The Research Questionnaire Technique: Reports of its ‘death’ have been greatly exaggerated. 9th Pangborn Sensory Science Symposium, 4–8 September. Toronto, Canada. (Poster)