December 2011
MRA large

Philadelphia Phlash  
MRA Philadelphia Newsletter
Winter 2011/12
Winter banner

MIchael G.
All of us on the board of the Philadelphia Chapter of the MRA wish you and yours a wonderful and happy holiday season and all the best in the new year.  We look forward to your continued support and participation in the coming year.

Michael Georgianna
President, Philadelphia Chapter of the MRA
Event Review

On Tuesday November 15th, the Philly Chapter of the MRA kicked off their 2011 - 2012 year with a fabulous "Lunch & Learn" presentation by Angelo Scialfa, President of Fox Run Group, LLC!


With 23 market researchers in attendance, Reckner was able to showcase their beautiful facility while Mr. Scialfa shared sales philosophies he has developed over the past 25 years while working at and with NY Giants Radio Network, Penn State Sports Properties, Madison Square Garden, Radio City Christmas Spectacular and Six Flags.


The theme of Mr. Scialfa's presentation, "Client Service - Tools and Metrics" can be summed up in a quote by Howard Schultz, "If you want to achieve widespread impact and lasting value, be BOLD"! In his presentation Mr. Scialfa's highlighted 5 key points critical to becoming a successful sales person and asset to your company.


Be a resource! Be perceived as a go to person and make sure that you follow through.


Be visible! Writing articles for your trade magazines and e-newsletters keeps you in front of your clients as well as prospects but remember not to use either place as a direct sales tool.


Give back! Volunteering with your industry trade organizations is a great way to network and to learn more about your industry. You never know who else will be on that committee with you.


Create News! Actively posting to different social media sites such as LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and blogs, not only keep you in front of your clients and prospects, they also allow you to casually interact and exchange ideas.


And finally...


Be memorable! Design a unique business card, send out appointment reminder cards, use personalized letterhead and hand write a thank you note, when appropriate.


Thanks to Mr. Scialfa for all of the takeaways, to Reckner Associates for the use of their facility and to the Philadelphia Chapter Board of the MRA for inviting Mr. Scialfa to speak to us. I am looking forward to more great programs in 2012!


Kimberly White, Director of Business Development, EFG Research




   Upcoming Events 

Look for more information on these up coming chapter events:
  • Thursday, January 12, 2012 - Post Holiday Party.  Palomar Hotel, 117 S 17th Street, Philadelphia, PA. This year we will be collecting gently used clothing for The Career Wardrobe and MenzFit[Party details]   
  • Thursday, February 9, 2012 - Evening Education.  Westin Hotel, 99 S 17th Street, Philadelphia, PA.  Speaker- Margie Omero, Founder, Momentum Analysis, LLC.  [Margie's bio]   
  • Thursday & Friday, April 19 & 20, 2012 - New York & Philadelphia MRA Joint Chapter Conference.  Borgata Hotel, Casino & Spa, Atlantic City, NJ. [Conference details]        Blue snowflake  
In This Issue
Feature Article
Member Spotlight
Student Perspective
Review Corner
Recipe Box
2011-2012 Board Members
Michael Georgianna
(215) 981-0120
Past President
Meg Ryan. PRC
Survey Technology & Research

Maria Pacenza

Directors at Large
Omar Barque
Focus Pointe Global

Jason Eric Saylor
MAXimum Research


Social Networking
Carrie Skinner
Survey Technology & Research Group


Please take a look at the volunteer list to see where you can help the Philadelphia MRA.


Feature Article


Common Method Bias in Survey Research: An Introduction

G. Walter Wang, Ph.D.

Associate Professor of Marketing, Penn State University


      The survey method is routinely used in market research. Researchers ask respondents such as consumers and business customers for information on their perceptions of product quality, service experience, brand choices, consumption behaviors, and future plans. Data are then analyzed using simple descriptive statistics, or advanced techniques such as linear and nonlinear regression models to detect relationships among variables. Substantive conclusions are then drawn based on these analyses with certain degree of confidence as indicated by statistical significance levels.    


     Yet, market research practitioners seldom realize the very method they use and rely on often produces biases in data that lend statistical conclusions unreliable. Such biases, termed common method variances (CMV), may be due to a variety of factors, including social desirability, the transient mood and emotional state of the respondent at the time of the survey, the context or format of the item scales, the complexity and ambiguity of the questionnaire, and so on. Behavior research has suggested that, on average, approximately one quarter of the observed variance can be attributed to systematic measurement errors such as CMV. CMV can inflate or deflate the value of the measurement or the correlation between variables. It has been found that when two variables are perfectly correlated at 1, method bias can cut the observed correlation in half and deflate the variance explained by 70%. When two variables are completely unrelated, CMV could cause the observed correlation to be greater than zero.  


     CMV is especially profound when the independent (i.e., predictor) variables and dependent (i.e., criterion or outcome) variables are coming from the same respondent with the same data collection method within the same context. These biases, if not properly treated, can give us false information and lead us to erroneous conclusions. Therefore, it is critical to understand the sources of such biases in market survey research and identify proper remedies to control for them.    

The term method here refers to the various measurement characteristics such as the content of the survey questions, scale type, response format, and the general context. CMV can be thought of as random and systematic response biases due to the common characteristics that are present in measuring different variables of interest.    


     There are several noteworthy sources of CMV: common rater, item characteristics, item context, and measurement context. First, biases may be introduced to the observed correlation between two variables when they are rated by the same respondent (i.e., common rater). For example, respondents may try to exhibit an artificial consistency in their responses to different questions (consistency motif), may have the tendency to say no (or yes) to all questions regardless of the question content (acquiescence bias), or may respond to the survey in ways that are consistent to their positive or negative mood or emotional state at that particular moment.   


     Second, item characteristics may have a systematic effect on responses when questions are written in a way to solicit socially desirable or politically correct responses (e.g., "Do you use illegal drugs?" "Are you willing to help the poor and disadvantaged?"), or when questions have implicit or explicit cues as to how to respond to them (e.g., "Since teachers are part of our children's future, do you support a fair contract for teachers?"). People tend not to think too much and will put themselves on autopilot when all questions use the same response format (i.e., 5-point Likert scale). When questions are ambiguous, respondents may interpret the questions in different ways and the resulting answers can be hard to interpret. Scale anchors or response categories such as "never" and "always" may also affect responses since some people are reluctant while others prefer to choose an extreme value as an answer (moderacy bias and extreme response bias).  


     Third, item contexts may affect responses when the first few questions encountered set a positive or negative mood for responding to the rest of the questionnaire, or when a question that appears first affects the way the following questions are understood or answered. Finally, when variables are measured at the same point in time, in the same location, or using the same medium (e.g., paper and pencil, web, telephone), these same measurement contexts may also affect the responses systematically.


     As such, every attempt should be made to understand the possible effect of the method characteristics on survey responses. Depending on the source of the CMV as outlined above, CMV may be remedied through appropriate design procedures. First, effort should be made to separate the measurement of independent and dependent variables in terms of rater, time, and location. Researchers can also consider using different scale formats (Likert scale, semantic differentials, closed or open ended questions), scale end points, and media (paper and pencil vs. web-based vs. face-to-face interviews) to minimize the bias. Second, it is very important to improve the quality of questions and scale items so that they are clear, specific, and concise. Ambiguous or unfamiliar terms should be defined, while double-barrel questions avoided and decomposed. Third, to control item context effect, the researcher can counterbalance the order of questions related to independent and dependent variables so that systematic influence of one question over another is minimized.  


     Not all of these design alternatives can be applied in any research setting and they may not totally eliminate CMV. Thus, statistical remedies should also be considered in conjunction with design procedures. If a particular CMV source, such as social desirability or negative affect, can be identified and measured as a variable, then it could be used in the regression as an independent variable to control for its influence. Alternatively, instead of using zero-order correlations, partial correlations that have partialled out a general factor score through a principal component analysis can be employed for analysis. If the researcher analyzes data with structural equation modeling to account for measurement errors, a single method factor or multiple method factors can be explicitly modeled in the analysis.

     In sum, common method biases can severely affect the results of market research studies. The major sources of CMV briefly described above can serve as a starting point for identifying possible method bias issues in a particular study. Design procedures should then be employed first to minimize these biases, and statistical remedy can be used to further control for such bias.



Click here for information about Dr. Wang's research.  

If you are interested in discussing this topic further, Dr. Wang can be reached at


Member Spotlight - Angela Wood 

Interview with Angela Wood, Chief Operating Officer, BABBLETYPE. 


Tell us a little bit about your company?

Babbletype (formerly MRT) is a trusted market research supporting services company, primarily focused on transcription to the market research community. Our success in attaining revenue growth comes from our customer service background and attention to client preferences. I'd like to think we're also gaining strength by being active in the market, volunteering when we can, and taking our obligations seriously. Most of what we offer and how it's delivered is listed very publicly on our website. We continually strive to blend new options into our products for our customers. Evolve or die trying as they say. 


How did you get involved with Market Research?

Spending nearly a decade at an advertising agency, I made some strong relationships with our talented research gurus that continue to be healthy and critical to me today. I remain fascinated with their process (although not a researcher myself). I later became a beneficiary of substantial market research talent over the years as a client of this market, before entering into it directly as a service provider. I'm still not finished learning how market researchers tick and I don't think I ever will be. It's exciting to watch my peers and clients also evolve and Babbletype has been evolving with them along the way.


Why did you join the MRA?

At first, probably like everyone else, I joined to keep informed of what was critical to the group. Each year that's passed I've renewed with passion. The MRA team is terrific to deal with and its members exude an atmosphere that makes us loyal!  


What is your favorite MRA event?

It's the Philadelphia - New York Atlantic City JCC, hands down. I might be a little biased as it's a conference I volunteer with to increase attendance and sponsorship with my other MRA friends. However, that just helps me further to get the most out of the conference when I go. Relationships forged in the background are just as meaningful as the ones made at the conference. Babbletype's headquarters are close by and it's the perfect networking opportunity for us each year to mingle and get fresh ideas from our MRA colleagues.


Where would you recommend MRA National hold one of its annual conferences?



Are you a Philadelphia native?

Close enough, I am a Delco (Delaware County) native. For those that aren't in the region, Philadelphia will do just fine. I've worked in Philadelphia my entire career since graduating from Widener University in Chester, PA (Delco).


What is your favorite Philadelphia area/activity?

Does Citizen Bank Park and the Wells Fargo Center count as an area/activity? Because if so, that's it, my family loves the Phillies and the Flyers. I have 3 children and the two oldest are boys, 22 and 16. Very heavy into sports. We're torn when it comes to the Eagles (Iggles) and one of those boys is a Dallas fan, sadly. Food wise, we absolutely adore Olde City Philadelphia for all it has to offer in taste and fun. Khyber Pass Pub on 2nd has THE best vinegar pulled pork outside of North Carolina. We will visit there and stroll Penns Landing in nice weather and make a day out of it whenever we can. Lastly, let's not forget the Mummers in January.  


What are you hobbies?

Cooking and reading. Owning and running successful businesses. Attending family sports events  


Favorite Music?

I like just about everything. My favorite artist of all times would be Tom Petty. His music transports my mood into a happy place anytime I need it. He never disappoints.



Student Perspective
Exploring the college market
by Alexandra Parker, Fox School of Business, Temple University - 2011 MRA Scholarship Winner
As a marketing student at Temple University's Fox School of Business, I have been able to translate concepts that I have learned in the classroom to my work at a local market research company.  Classroom discussions have revolved around identifying a problem, defining a target market, executing the appropriate research method and finally analyzing the results.  At work, I have had the chance to observe elements in the execution stage of research.  Through this, I have come across a very diverse range of respondents who participated in studies.  Of these individuals, I noticed that very few are of a younger demographic, which led me to wonder why college students have not been recruited to participate in studies.  It was explained to me that college students have been viewed as an unreliable demographic, primarily due to their tendency of moving around upond graduation.  While this may have been a reason to avoid the college market in the past, today a number of electronic devicess can be utilized to offset those shortcomings.  The college market today is electronically literate and savvy.  In taking advantage of what technological advancements we have seen in the last decade, research companies can restore comunication with a market that has been put aside for far too long.  College students have many valuable opinions, and using today's technological advancements, they can once again have their voices heard.
Review Corner

Each newsletter will feature a review from a member.  If you recently visited a restaurant, museum, saw a movie or play, etc. and would like to write a review please contact  This newsletter features Michael Georgianna's review of the stores and restaurants in the city's Midtown Village. 


by Michael Georgianna 
Manager, Reckner

Center City's best kept secret - no more.


This time of year, no matter what holiday you celebrate, if any, is the time for giving. Now most people run to the big box stores and malls to do their holiday/end of year shopping. And maybe some of you have already finished. But if you still have a few names on your list, or haven't even started, let me tell you about a little secret here in Center City - 13th Street. Yes, 13th Street between Chestnut and Walnut in the heart of what is now called Midtown Village, is where you can get all your holiday shopping done and eat at some of the best restaurants in the city - all in one block.


Let me start with the establishments of two people who almost single handedly turned 13th street into what it is today; Marcie Turney and Valerie Safran.   These two entrepreneurs own and operate Grocery, Lolita, OpenHouse, Barbuzzo, Verde where you can find Marcie Blaine Artisanal Chocolates, and a soon to open Jamonera. At OpenHouse you can find anything for that "hard to get for" person; hand-made jewelry, vintage lunch boxes, ornaments, unique tea pots, serving dishes, frames, candles, baby items, and more. They even have lighting and furniture. Seriously, I never leave the store without buying something for someone, even if it is for me. Across the street is their store Verde specializing in woman's jewelry.   And when you get that special someone that most unique piece, don't forget some of the best chocolates in the city; Marcie Blaine Artisanal Chocolates.   These chocolates are hand-crafted daily in the shop, inspired by the flavors of Mexico, Spain and the Mediterranean.   And not coincidental, these are the flavors of Marcie's and Val's restaurants; Lolita, known as a modern Mexican BYOT (bring your own Tequila), Barbuzzo - a Mediterranean kitchen & bar, Grocery Market & Catering and Jamonera - a Spanish Wine Bar. I won't go into detail here about each of these - it would take pages. Just go online yourself and read all the outstanding reviews.


To continue the shopping, check out Scarlet Fiorella, a smart boutique for woman and children featuring hand-crafted jewelry, fashionable scarves, accessories and adorable clothing and gift items for your young hipster.   Then head next door to duross & langel soap makers for the most delicious natural vegan made soaps, candles, fragrances, moisturizers, scrubs and more. You name it; they have it, including items for man's best friend.   Also available are private party workshops where you can make your own soaps and lip balms.   If you still need some cards or wrapping paper, stop in at Paper on Pine (yes, I know we're on 13th street) for fine stationery, gift wrapping, invitations and accessories.


For the outdoors person in your life there is I Goldberg on the Corner of 13th and Chestnut (entrance on Chestnut). Not only does it have any military surplus item one can imagine, but if you are looking for any type of outerwear, jeans, t-shirts, etc. - look no further.   For the sports enthusiast, there is ProLeague Authentics with all the professional sport team jerseys, both current and vintage. For the art lover, there is Absolute Abstract featuring loft art of over 10,000 images that can be custom-sized and printed on canvas. For the animal lover, check out Doggie Style for pet basics such as food and nutrition to the finest accessories such as pet carriers, camping supplies and even home-made treats. And for the computer geek, try Springboard Media, the largest Apple specialist in Philadelphia.


In addition to the Marcie Turney's and Valerie Safran's eateries mentioned earlier, you have additional choices with Opa - modern Greek, Zavino Wine Bar Pizzeria, El Vez - a Steven Starr Mexican-American hot spot, Sampan - modern Asian, Raw - Sushi & Saki lounge, The Corner - American Cuisine, Vintage - wine bar & bistro, as well as Zios - traditional pizzeria (the only one my nephew will go to) and Capogiro which has been named "#1 Ice Cream Spot In The Entire World By National Geographic" this past Nov 2011.


So forget the malls this year - head on over the 13th Street in Center City - and not just for the holidays but for anytime of the year. Cheers!

Recipe Box

The recipe for the winter newsletter is for Easy Creamy Italian Noodles and was sent in by Carrie Skinner.  Click here to get recipe.

If you have a favorite recipe you would like to share with us in the next newsletter, please send it to
View our profile on LinkedInLike us on Facebook