Our brand promise:
we are committed to producing
scientific, accurate, and reliable research data
to enable leaders to make informed strategic decisions
that increase performance and
serve the needs of ordinary people.
Citizen Surveys specialises in large-scale national research studies and continuous tracking surveys.
We offer a range of large-scale, national, quantitative and qualitative research services. All our work is underpinned by rigorous scientific methods and produces data and insights that can be trusted.
Our research explores the attitudes, perceptions, behaviours, and beliefs of ordinary people, which helps our clients to understand the people of South Africa.
These insights can be used to improve the work of government and civil society, to inform marketing strategies, to advance academic knowledge, and to inform the relationships of international institutions towards South Africa.
We conduct both quantitative research (face-to-face interviews, telephonic interviews, online surveys) and qualitative research (focus groups and in-depth interviews). We also design scientific samples that reflect the diversity of the South African population.
See below for a more detailed description of our research services.
Prof Robert Mattes
Director and Professor of Political Studies
Centre for Social Science Research
University of Cape Town
We have the infrastructure (i.e. people, systems and technology) to manage large-scale research studies and provide clients with speed, efficiency, and economies-of-scale.
A recent example is the survey of 25,000 household interviews that we conducted in three months – between October and December 2016 – for the Foundation for Human Rights, and the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development.
Our large-scale studies frequently tackle complexity. For example, in 2009 we assessed the level of transformation in South Africa’s tourism industry. This required the creation of a single database of 55,000 tourism enterprises from various sources, followed up by interviews and the calculation of B-BBEE scorecards.
We specialise in complex probability sample design, using statistical techniques such as stratification, design effect, power allocation, and weighting. These improve statistical efficiency, reduce costs, and provide precision for sub-group analyses.
We use the most comprehensive sample frame in the country to provide the highest level of coverage of the South African population. A sample frame is a comprehensive list of every Enumerator Area, suburb, ward, and municipality in the country, and the demographic characteristics of each. It enables a scientific sample to be drawn where the results can be “weighted” to represent the characteristics and views of all South Africans.
The combined result of complex probability sampling and a comprehensive sample frame is data of the highest precision that can be used with confidence to make key decisions.
Dr Mogens K Justesen
Associate Professor, Vice-Head of Department
Copenhagen Business School:
Department of Business and Politics
University of Copenhagen
Tracking studies measure changes and compare trends over time. This helps organisations to evaluate and improve the performance of their brands, departments, programmes, services, or policies. These studies also reveal opportunities for growth and threats to customer loyalty and market share.
Unlike a panel study, repeat interviews are conducted with different individuals who share the same characteristics as those previously interviewed. In other words, the same person is never interviewed twice.
Citizen Surveys has been managing two of the largest national tracking surveys in South Africa – the Mobile Tracker and the Domestic Tourism Survey – for more than 10 years.
These studies require household interviews to be conducted every month on a national basis, regardless of political or environmental conditions.
Other tracking studies have been conducted for the Department of Higher Education and University of KwaZulu-Natal, the Afrobarometer, the Office of Public Opinion Research, and the Centre for Social Science Research.
Tracking studies require the rapid production of datasets and reports shortly after the end of a period (e.g. month). This requires a level of automation to accelerate quality management and reporting processes.
Our methodology and processes for tracking studies, specifically the Domestic Tourism Survey, is being certified by Statistics South Africa (Statistical Assurance Framework).
We have helped businesses to estimate the size of their markets, including customer numbers, sales revenue and the presence of competitors.
Our clients have used these insights to improve marketing and communication strategies, and to determine the investment required to achieve their objectives.
An example is our work with MTN South Africa, who we have helped to understand and track their performance in South Africa’s mobile telecoms market over the past decade. This market intelligence has helped MTN to refine its business strategy and make several successful strategic shifts.
A segmentation model is a tool that enables one to differentiate a market or population so that the nature of its subgroups can be better understood.
This is especially true in South Africa, a diverse country where different groups of citizens live very different existences. Each group must be understood and treated individually, and a “one-size-fits-all” approach will not work. Our understanding of the people helps us to develop segmentation models that reflect this diversity better.
An example is the segmentation model that we developed for the Government Communication and Information System (GCIS). This model captured the different “reality bubbles” that exist within South Africa. It has significantly improved the government’s understanding of South Africans and its communication with them, and has provided a tool for monitoring and evaluating the results of policies, programmes, and marketing activities.
Our statisticians have PhDs or Master’s degrees in fields ranging from statistics through to politics and experimental psychology.
We offer a complete service in quantitative analysis should this be required. We are competent versed in a diverse range of statistical techniques.
We ensure the integrity of our results by rigorously pre-testing our questionnaire content and design for clarity and against industry benchmarks, before we conduct any data collection.
Data analysis techniques we have used include:
We’ve conducted more than 500 focus groups across South Africa, from inner city areas to rural and tribal villages. We provide viewing facilities in all major centres, but we also take the group discussions to the people. Our technology enables us to reach and listen to the voices of our citizens in the remotest parts of the country.
A good example is the 35 focus groups we conducted in Cape Town’s most dangerous and gangster-ridden communities for the Department of Community Safety in 2009-2012. This enabled the City to improve the quality of policing in these areas. These groups were challenging to organise since the target communities were experiencing gang violence at the time, and we needed to protect the lives and identities of the group participants.
We use our bespoke software “GroupViewTM to get the best insight from a group discussion. This software offers features such as full video and audio recording, simultaneous translations, verbatim transcripts and simultaneous viewing of the transcript and the video, much like subtitles in a movie.
We’ve also undertaken more than 350 in-depth interviews with respondents ranging from business owners and corporate executives to key government officials at municipal, provincial, national and parliament levels.
We have conducted numerous business surveys, with respondents ranging from CEOs of multinational corporations through to sole proprietors in the informal economy.
We understand the complexities of sampling SMMEs in South Africa, especially since there is no national sample frame. We also understand the challenges in getting past gate-keepers to gain access to decision-makers.
A good example of our work in this area is when we worked with the World Bank, South African Revenue Services (SARS), and USAID to conduct a tax compliance survey with 2,500 business owners. In contrast to this was our work with the City of Cape Town, which sought to understand the nature of the informal economy in the municipality and how to support it.
We have conducted several surveys to measure levels of customer satisfaction.
These surveys have methodologies ranging from CAPI interviews with members of households through to CATI interviews with members of customer database. In many instances, customer satisfaction is a component within a market sizing or segmentation survey.
A good example of our capability in this area is the study consisting of 10,000 telephonic interviews that we conducted with members of the Government Employees Medical Scheme (GEMS) between 2012-2015, where we assessed members’ satisfaction with their benefit option and with the scheme as a whole.
Another example is the study consisting of 10,000 household interviews that we conducted for Ekurhuleni Metropolitan Municipality between 2008-2010. Our work created a baseline and tracked household demographics, civic engagement, service levels (e.g. sanitation, policing, water and electricity) and communication with the municipal offices.
In both studies, our clients successfully use the findings to track and improve service levels and member satisfaction.
We must remember that citizens are customers too – they consume social services provided by government and civil society.