Incidence Rate

How to estimate your Incidence Rate, or IR

Jency Cox avatar
Written by Jency Cox
Updated over a week ago

What is Incidence Rate?

Incidence Rate, or IR, is the estimated percent of respondents you expect to be able to complete the survey after you have targeted for all available characteristics.


How does Incidence Rate affect your project?

It is important to try to accurately estimate your Incidence Rate in order to optimize your project’s feasibility. 

An incidence rate that is set too high or too low can negatively affect your project. For optimal performance, we want to ensure we are sending your survey to respondents who are the best fit for your research. The Incidence Rate helps us to do this!

Calculating your Project’s Incidence Rate

Step One: Identify your Targeted population

Tap Research’s project dashboard offers the ability to target many characteristics within a population. This allows us to send your survey to respondents who are the best fit for your research, thus improving the quality of your data and the overall performance of your project.

Characteristics you are able to target via our dashboard are located in the “Targeting Options” dropdown within the “Respondent Targeting” tab. Examples of targeting options include age, gender, employment status, location (DMA, State or Zip), etc.


Step Two: Identify your Un-targetable traits

You may require respondent characteristics for your research which you cannot target via the targeting options. 


The following is an example of identifying a characteristic for which you cannot target.

Desired Respondent: 

Age 18-30
Lives in Denver
Works Full-time
In a Relationship
Watches Football

Targetable traits:

Employment status
Relationship Status

Un-targetable traits:

Whether or not he watches football

Step Three: Determine the expected prevalence of respondents who present the characteristic you cannot target

Now that you have identified which characteristics you are not able to target via the campaign builder, the next step is to determine the percentage of targeted respondents you expect to have these characteristics. There are several ways to do this. 

  1. Company/client research: Your company or client may already have an idea of the number of respondents who have these characteristics due to previous research. It is always a good idea to check with your company or client to see if this information is readily available to you. 

  2. Internet Research: It is possible to get a good idea of the percentage of a certain population who presents specific characteristics by doing some of your own research.
    Per the example above, you may want to search “What percent of men ages 18-30 watch football?” A quick internet search with this inquiry returned the information that approximately 73% of men watch football. This does not account for our exact age range, so lowering that prevalence to 70% is prudent. Thus, the Incidence Rate for this example will be set to 70%.

Step Five: Enter the IR In Your Dashboard

Your incidence will always be entered as a percentage. Now that you have determined your Incidence Rate, enter this percentage in the “Survey Details” tab in the Tap Research Dashboard under “Incidence”

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