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IRS 13: Why the MRUC feels it is on the right track

MUMBAI: The Media Research Users’ Council (MRUC), which is facing the wrath of 18 publications over the new Indian Readership Survey 2013 (IRS 13) data released last week, has outlined several things that it has done right.

While calls for a correction in the data have become louder, MRUC has stubbornly defended its new format and methodology. Making a case for the IRS 2013 data, it said that it is new and better in many ways.

After its emergency board meeting on Tuesday, MRUC backed the design, methodology and in-field execution of the study, while maintaining that the Readership Studies Council of India (RSCI) is in charge of governance of the study.

Among the many changes in the survey methodology was the use of dual-screen computer-assisted personal interviewing (DS-CAPI). MRUC said today that DS-CAPI significantly reduces non-sampling errors, eliminates order bias, ensures accuracy, reduces fatigue for respondent and interviewer, addresses social and cultural issues, and has a positive environment impact.

As reported earlier by TelevisionPost.com, the DS-CAPI method eliminates the need for printed masthead booklets and instead uses a second device (dual screen) to display mastheads and other stimulus to the respondent. This tool also helps to reduce the survey time from 90 minutes to 30 minutes per interview.

The new IRS, MRUC said, covers more of India. It now includes the North-East, Daman & Diu, Dadra & Nagar Haveli, thus providing a more accurate picture of the country. It helps to tap into new communities and understand demographics for a larger India.

MRUC also explained why comparison with previous IRS is not possible as the survey design has significantly changed from previous rounds on every front, including data collection, sampling design, coverage and reporting breaks.

  • IRS 2013 uses latest census data, removing significant deviations in many market-level population estimates.
  • The population projections are based on Census 2011, and estimated to December 2013.
  • Most city boundaries have been redefined to include newer urban outgrowths.
  • For many metros population dropped from estimated population to 2011 census population.

Moreover, the process to identify readers of dailies, and hence the definition of these readers, has been updated in IRS 2013. IRS used a ‘funnel’ process, which ensures:

  • A frame of reference is set in the respondent’s mind;
  • Elimination of high claimed readership of dailies;
  • Ensures recency of readership in data capture.

The study design includes a margin of error:

  • IRS is a sample survey and the sample design is based on 10:90:20 rule: 10% incidence, 90% confidence, relative error under 20%.
  • Despite lower penetration, IRS 2013 delivers significantly lower error rate for most cases.
  • Estimates provided in IRS are not point estimates. The study design had a margin of error built into it.

Also Read:

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MRUC stands by IRS methodology, RSCI to decide IRS 2013 fate on 19 Feb
IRS 2013: INS gives MRUC 24-hour ultimatum
IRS 13: Media agencies agree on ‘glaring errors’ but say too early to trash the report
All new IRS 2013 data holds surprises and shocks
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New IRS 2013 data mired in controversy