Segment Hispanic Respondents

Conducting market research effectively among the Hispanic population takes a little effort because simply translating an English language survey into Spanish isn�t going to cut it.

When designing research methodology, the savvy researcher must take into account the differences between the numerous ethnic groups found today in the United States. Therefore, to survey the Spanish-language population, the best thing to do is to segment the Hispanic market.

This is not as easy as it sounds. First, to understand how comfortable Hispanics feel living in the United States we must understand how Hispanics think and feel about their culture by evaluating respondents� level of acculturation. That means we must measure just how much they have modified their Hispanic culture by adapting or borrowing the traits of the American culture. The acculturation of Hispanic respondents can vary widely, from those who only speak Spanish and interact with Spanish-speakers, to those respondents who are Hispanic, but do not speak Spanish.

Various techniques exist to evaluate acculturation levels, but the most widely used method assesses the respondent�s comfort level speaking English and Spanish in a variety of work and social situations. This enables the researcher to develop a methodology that will allow respondents to determine whether they want to complete the survey in English and Spanish, as well as providing some key insights that may only apply to specific Hispanics segments.

Depending on how in-depth the segmentation analysis, more comprehensive acculturation indexing scenarios can be devised. The index could include various factors such as assessing the respondents comfort watching and reading Spanish and English media, length of time in the United States, foreign born versus U.S.-born Hispanics, and assessing respondents� level of immersion in Hispanic and U.S. cultures.

One practical implication of taking a segmented approach to the market research survey process is its impact on survey design. Even language and terminology may need to be tailored to individual Hispanic segments. In large studies where results are segmented not only among Hispanic respondents but other ethnic groups, care must be taken in reporting overall results in addition to results from the various segments, and in comparing results from the segments to each other.

Indeed, there is a multitude of factors to consider, and we could create quite a laundry list of factors. Suffice it to say that your research would be more robust if you address the differences between the general U.S. population and the Hispanic population. Also, allowing for more in-depth Hispanic segmentation will help market researchers develop more compelling insights that will help address their market research objectives more effectively.

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