The types of surveys we conduct include:


Polls or quantitative surveys are studies involving fixed, closed-ended questionnaires to a randomly chosen, representative sample of a population. Because of the standardized questions and the representative, the results can be quantified and projected onto the larger population.

Face-to-face, telephone, or online polls can be done by Charney, depending on the population to be sampled.  With growing phone and internet access, phone and online surveys can be often be used in middle and upper-income countries or with upper-income and elite groups.  When local authorities do not allow free inquiry, we can often phone in or offer online surveys from outside the country.

In the least developed countries or with poor populations, face-to-face is the usual method.  Even at the bottom of the pyramid, technology can speed up research, when interviewers use mobile devices to record and download responses, improving accuracy and reducing data entry time.

Social media analysis involves using online material from social media (blogs, tweets, etc).  This enables us to track public opinion in near real time among groups with telephone or online access.


Qualitative interviews are longer than poll interviews and let us explore feelings and alternatives in more depth.  However, their results cannot be projected directly to the general population, since their respondents are members of targeted groups, not representative samples.

Focus groups, mini-groups, and triads are small group discussions Charney conducts among homogeneous groups of interest for the research (for example, women voters in Beirut or human rights activists in Indonesia).  The discussions can be observed live, videoed, transcribed and translated.

In-depth interviews are one-on-one qualitative conversations.  We recommend these for hard-to-reach populations, from homeless people to high-income elites, people in areas where it is tough to assemble groups, such as conflict zones, or on topics where people may not speak freely in groups, like sexuality.

Bulletin boards are an online alternative to traditional focus groups.  They last for several days, with new questions posted each day for the group (or specific individuals), and responses posted during the day, allowing for more in-depth investigation than ordinary focus groups.

Ethnographic and observational studies involve observing, interviewing, and videotaping people in the places where they live and work.  It allows observation of the unspoken dynamics and practices involved in social life or product use in ways more formal research environments may not.

Face-to-face, telephone, and online methods can be used in most of our qualitative group or interview work. (The exceptions are bulletin boards, which are all online, and ethnographic studies, which are done face-to-face.)  As in our polling, qualitative phone and online surveys in developing countries are restricted to groups with online or phone access.

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