Market research includes different techniques when evaluating various alternatives: concepts, packs, products, advertising campaigns, etc.

usage and attitude research guide

The main types of evaluation are monadic test, sequential monadic test, and comparative test. This article defines each survey design option, presents the pros and cons, and which is the best option in each case.

Monadic Test definition  

Monadic testing is defined as a study where respondents evaluate a single stimulus.  The stimulus can be a product, a concept, an advertisement, a pack, or a name. In this case, the stimulus is not compared to any other stimulus.


Benefits of Monadic Testing Surveys: 

  • It’s the purest design since consumers will see the product/ad finally launched, not the other candidates. Assessing only one stimulus is closer to reality, and the opinion obtained is pure – whereas if it is considered together with other alternatives, the views are biased. 
  • The results obtained can be analyzed independently for the tested product or compared with other stimulus/s whose results have been obtained in the same way but with another group of consumers belonging to the same target (i.e. launching as many monadic studies as there are stimuli).
  • Quick to design and respond
  • Easy to analyze and understand
  • If you want to obtain an extra indicator, you can choose to add a final block that shows all the stimuli, and you can ask for a preference.

Monadic Test survey

Points to consider 

  • If you want to analyze more than one stimulus monadically, larger sample sizes are required, thus increasing the overall cost of the research. This is because each respondent only evaluates a single stimulus, so the cost of the survey increases proportionally to the number of concepts tested.

Sequential monadic testing surveys 

In the sequential monadic test, the respondent evaluates two or more stimuli separately, one after the other. The stimuli presented are rotated to minimize any bias (i.e., that respondents may favor one of the stimuli because it’s shown earlier or later). For example, when evaluating stimuli A and B, 50% of the respondents will rate A first and then B, and the other 50% will rate the other way around: B first and then A.

Benefits of Sequential Monadic testing Surveys

  • The sample size can be smaller, given that each respondent evaluates a minimum of 2 stimuli (i.e., the different concepts share the same sample). However, we recommend using a large enough sample size to assess the first test results as well – that is, of the stimulus evaluated first when they have not yet seen the second one.

Sequential Monadic test

Points to consider

  • Surveys are longer than monadic tests since respondents have to give their opinion on multiple stimuli. More concepts to test will increase the interview length. This results in a higher dropout rate and loss of attention. For best results, do not test in monadic sequence more than a certain number of stimuli (ideally 2-3).
  • Avoid adding too many questions per stimulus, so the diagnosis obtained is limited. 
  • Previous concepts will influence responses (scores may be relative based on previous tests)
  • The order of stimulus shown could bias the results. Avoid this by randomizing the order.

Comparison testing surveys

In the comparative test, the respondent is presented with all the stimuli to be evaluated. For each indicator collected (e.g. general liking, purchase intention, etc.), each stimulus is shown and asked about.

Comparison test

The benefits of comparison testing

  • When the differences between products are minor, having the different products on the same screen allows you to determine which one responds best to the question posed 
  • It allows an initial screening to see which stimuli can have a better reception/potential. 
  • It does not cause as much fatigue as the monadic sequential design and allows the evaluation of more stimuli.

Points to consider

  • Limited individual information is available on the stimuli tested. 
  • There is some bias in showing all stimuli. We recommend using it for the initial stimuli/prototypes/models development phases. It allows one to discern among many alternatives which alternatives are the most suitable to be evaluated monadically.

Examples of indicators used in the evaluation of innovations or campaigns:

The following questions are examples of KPIs in the evaluation of either innovations or advertising campaigns: 

  • Overall liking: On a scale of 1 to 10, to what extent do you like this (product/concept/package/ad/…)? 
  • Purchase intent: To what extent would you be willing to buy this product if it were available in your regular store?
  • Differentiation: On a scale of 1 to 10, to what extent is this (product/concept/pack/pack/ad/…) new/different from others already on the market?
  • Fit with the brand: On a scale of 1 to 10, to what extent does this (product/concept/package/ad/…) fit with (brand)?

Log in to the Zinklar platform to access survey templates and 24+ questions in the Questions Library.

Make the right decision for every project

The first step for any market research project is to clearly define the objectives we want to cover and decide which type of study will help us meet the project objectives while staying within budget. The number of stimuli to test will be the first factor to consider when choosing between the different typologies. Find more tips about how to become an insights expert here. In addition, Zinklar’s always-on insights platform helps consumer-centric brands create intuitive, high-quality surveys in minutes, collect responses in hours and deliver insights in real-time, all from one platform. 

Multiply consumer insights and accelerate success with Zinklar today. Learn more about the insights platform here. 

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