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Alain Giguère

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How many axes in your factor analysis? The little unknown history.

Categories: Food for thought

Posted on 12-13-10 at 11:47 a.m.

Image for How many axes in your factor analysis? The little unknown history.

Thoughts on the number of axes to be kept in a factor analysis, or how obsolete economic constraints still affect factor analysis.


Market research  frequently uses factor analysis, especially in order to reduce the number of dimensions of the analysis space, get rid of residual noise, and set up the table for clustering or regression. A commonly used criterion to determine the number of axes to be kept is a minimum threshold (usually 1 or slightly above 1) to be applied to the associated eigenvalues – Kaiser Guttman rule (KG). This seems reasonable since a retained axis should carry at least as much information as every single variable on which the analysis space is built. What has always looked awkward to us, however, is that this criterion is applied before the axes rotation while the whole remaining analysis is performed after rotation. We will demonstrate through a few examples why it seems more logical to apply the criterion after rotation (in which case one does not talk about eigenvalues, but their equivalent: sum of squared loadings) and will tentatively suggest explanations of the current practice, one of which is rather unexpected. Finally, we shall shortly explain our own practice.

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The CROP protocol for calibrating online panel surveys


Posted on 11-23-10 at 4:34 p.m.

This paper presents our solution for calibrating web panels. We use this method for our syndicated study (FOTO) as well as any web survey that studies a population for which we can obtain comparable data. Whenever possible, every study based on web panels is verified, weighted and calibrated using our unique method.

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ETHOS - Is your organization perceived to be socially responsible?

Categories: Food for thought

Posted on 11-23-10 at 2:45 p.m.

Results from the CROP Ethos program on Canadians’ expectations regarding corporate social responsibility

Our research and experience have profoundly convinced us that being seen as proactive in matters of social and environmental/ecological responsibility has become an extremely important asset for brands and businesses in this country. In contrast, the perceived greater-or-lesser degree of that good corporate citizenship can become a major liability on the market and in public opinion.

Social responsibility is increasingly integrated into the buying criteria of Canadian consumers. Presented with two offers that are technically equivalent in the needs they target, a growing number of Canadians in the marketplace choose the socially responsible brand and avoid the less socially responsible one if possible.

In fact, since 2005, we’ve witnessed a major increase in the number of Canadian consumers who tell us that they make efforts to reward the brands they consider socially responsible and punish the ones they consider to be otherwise. More than half of Canadians now say they “reward” (52%) or “punish” (57%) brands according to their social responsibility, percentages that ranked around 40% in 2005.

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FOTO – CROP’s Monthly Omnibus Survey (Formerly CROP-express)


Posted on 11-08-10 at 12:05 p.m.

Image for FOTO – CROP’s Monthly Omnibus Survey (Formerly CROP-express)

CROP’s monthly syndicated omnibus study has been running for many years, and from its inception we have ensured that this telephone survey of 1,000 completed interviews (respondents 18 years old and over) compiled with the highest standards of statistical inference and probabilistic representation (with maximum margins of error of 3% etc.).

In 2010, we altered the data collection method of this omnibus study to include online interviews conducted via panel samples from highly reliable firms with whom we regularly do business. The decision to switch methods was reached after some serious reflection, but more importantly, it was the result of a lengthy series of tests whose aim was to develop a rigorous methodology that guarantees high quality results.

With the passing of years, it had become increasingly difficult to realize the required quota of completed interviews within the timelines set for this type of telephone survey. Also contributing to the decision to resort to online polling via web panels for our monthly omnibus studies were the added costs generated by the necessity to fulfill quotas.

The online solution not only allows more flexibility, but also makes it possible to display certain visuals on screen, while it maximizes participant responses (when interviews are self-administered online, we tend to minimize socially desirable answers often found in interviewer-administered telephone interviews).

However, the use of web panels warrants greater caution and verification. CROP has developed a unique method of calibration of web panels (Please see the "White Paper" section of our blog for details) using the results from 4 annual phone surveys as well as a sociocultural/values weighting scheme.

Click here to learn more about FOTO


The Rise of the Renaissance Man

Categories: Food for thought

Posted on 10-29-10 at 3:55 p.m.

A broad overview of the past 10 years in Canada reveals a jagged panorama of noteworthy events that have left a deep impression in the minds and imaginations of Canadians, weaving themselves into the fabric of our lives. The September 11th attacks, two recessions, climate change and job outsourcing via globalization lead a long and varied list of dramatic upheavals. Disillusion, division and cynicism are flooding the political scene at an unprecedented pace. Bad news seems to dominate our everyday reality, certainly in the public and media scenes.

The world seems increasingly chaotic. One might assume that such a turbulent era would spawn discouragement and despondency. Surprisingly, we’ve observed the exact opposite: our analyses all point to a resilient, opportunity-seeking, population – at least a burgeoning majority of it – filled with vitality, eager to adapt to the ever-changing world and driven to develop their potential to the fullest.

Our work reveals that over the years, the Canadian population has developed a unique capacity for resilience, transforming the potential threats encountered in their daily lives into opportunities for advancement.

In many ways, the current context leads us to believe that we are witnessing a revolution in the way Canadians view their lives, a movement we have labelled the Rise of a New Renaissance Man. This trend or phenomenon may not be universal, but there is no denying that it is currently driving and dividing people into separate camps. Reduced to its simplest expression, the catchphrase for these modern times has become: to adapt or not to adapt.

In analyzing the characteristics defining this leading trend in Canadian society today, as well as its various implications for marketing, branding, public policies, human resources, management and all other areas, we observe that the context that spawned the original Renaissance Man circa 1510 is being uncannily mirrored in Canadian society 500 years later – in 2010.

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