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5 Common Types of Central Location Testing Methods that Could Benefit Your Business

central location testingCentral location testing (CLT) is a qualitative market research approach in which research takes place in a specific, controlled environment such as a shopping mall, restaurant, school, church, community center, hotel, testing lab, or other suitable location.

Key Advantages 

Central location testing offers researchers several key advantages vs. other approaches, such as home-user tests. These advantages include: 

  • Since the environment is controlled, researcher can eliminate bias. For example, all participants can be shown a series of products in the same order, packaging, etc.  
  • Researchers can obtain candid “raw” feedback based not just on what participants say, but also by what they do not say, and what their body language conveys.  
  • Researchers can dig deeper by asking participants follow-up questions based on their reactions and responses.
  • Researchers can test intangible concepts instead of, or alongside, tangible products/goods, such as advertising messages, sensory impressions and opinions (e.g. how participants perceive scents, etc.).
  • Booking a suitable location (e.g. room in a shopping mall) is typically affordable in most cities, and researchers have the opportunity to interview and engage a large number of participants in a short period of time.

Common Types of Central Location Testing Methods 

There are many different types of central location testing methods that can be applied to glean valuable insights and actionable intelligence. Here are five of the most common:

  • Monadic Test: Each participant focuses on just one product. The objective is to determine if that product will be accepted by consumers when introduced in the marketplace.
  • Paired Comparison Test: Each participant is shown two products at the same time, and asked to compare them based on a set of standardized criteria to generate relative rankings.
  • Sequential-Monadic Test: Each participant assesses two products separately (similar to a monadic test), and then when that process is done, re-evaluates them together to generate relative rankings (similar to a paired-comparison test). This test is often used to neutralize the natural tendency among many participants to exaggerate differences when they only compare two products at the same time.
  • Proto-Monadic Test: This is similar to the Sequential-Monadic Test, but with a major difference: participants are not asked to evaluate the second product independently. For example, a participant is asked to assess product #1 by itself, and then asked to compare/contrast product #1 and product #2. Researchers rotate which product is assessed independently, so that at the end of the process they have 50 percent of respondents who assessed product #1 by itself and compared product #1 and product #2, and 50 percent who assessed product #2 by itself and compared product #1 and product #2.
  • Repeat Paired Comparison Test: Participants compare the same pair of products two or more times. The reason for this repetition is to increase the confidence that feedback was not random, or based on initial impressions (e.g. if a participant is not fond of the color yellow and the product being assessed comes in a yellow package, their initial response might be strongly negative; however, after assessing the same product again later on, they may look past the subjective dislike and focus on other aspects that are more relevant to researchers, such as whether the product is functional, delivers on its promises, tastes good, etc.).

Learn More

To learn more about these (and other) central locating testing methods, and how any or all of them can be used to help your business generate valuable insights that translate into smarter, faster and more profitable decisions, contact Communications For Research today. You’ll speak with Colson Steber who will listen to your business goals and help you determine the best methodology required to get the results you need.

For more information on market research and how to communicate it effectively, download this guide: 

Communicating the Value of Market Research


Topics: qualitative market research

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