SORA Methods Portfolio

SORA is internationally renowned in social-scientific and election research.

The SORA team possesses an extensive methodical know-how, referring to both quantitative-statistical as well as quantitative methods. The choice of methods applied depends on the research objective and on the individual wishes and needs of the customer.

Standardized Surveys

The most common method in empirical social research is the quantitative, standardized survey. This method works with preset questionnaire contents for interviewers and interviewees. In contrast to qualitative survey methods, the collected data will be evaluated with statistical methods, whereas the spectrum ranges from simple relative frequency counts to multivariate analysis methods.

Quantitative surveys enable you to state certain main units, another feature that differentiates them from qualitative survey methods. Significant results are obtained through high-quality questionnaires, a good interviewer team and high-level know-how on statistical evaluation methods.

Standardized surveys may be conducted as telephone surveys, face-to-face surveys, written surveys or online surveys. The kind of survey applied depends on the aims and general conditions of each case. SORA recommends methods of data gathering at the basis of international and own comparative method research.

Qualitative Interviews

Qualitative survey methods offer extensive possibilities to gather knowledge in a little investigated field or to improve existent knowledge. There is a wide range of scientific fields in which qualitative methods may be applicable:

  • think tank and explorative probing
  • detailed knowledge (e.g. expert interviews)
  • argument patterns and lines of argument
  • survey of specific linguistic expressions in a certain area
  • investigation of reactions on stimuli (e.g. concepts, articles, products etc.)

Very often, qualitative surveys are being used in combination with or as preparation for quantitative surveys.

Focus Groups

Focus groups are moderated group discussions composed of between eight and twelve people.

Focus groups are being used to test argument lines, communication strategies and advertising material. Rather than commenting on the distribution of positions within the population, they provide feedback on their embedment into a communicative context. Focus groups are especially suited for analysing which arguments work why, because this method allows you to observe how arguments are perceived and processed within a small group.

An essential function of focus groups is to generate ideas and the explorative probing of positions and expectations, and thus also to produce valuable hints for any continuative quantitative empirical studies.

In addition to the type of focus groups described above, focus groups may also be conducted online. The advantage of an online focus group is that participants can attend the session without being detained by their geographical distance to each other, which saves both time and money.

Content Analysis and Textual Analysis (Media Analysis)

A content analysis encodes and evaluates newspaper articles, radio and television broadcasts or book texts according to different criteria.
This method can e.g. be used to evaluate the PR work of a company. Content analyses can be conducted once or on a regular basis (e.g. quarterly).

In this context, SORA also offers MCAŠ (Media Content Analysis), a special method developed in cooperation with Trimedia Communications Austria.

Network Analysis

Networks may consist of people, organisations or holders of a certain position, which are interconnected by certain interests, e.g. partial networks such as family networks, friends networks and political networks.

Egocentric network analysis

An egocentric network analysis investigates a network of personal interrelations from the view of an individual (ego). This allows for a portrait of the interpersonal environment of individuals and also gives insight into the influence such networks have on different behavioural situations (e.g. media behaviour and dialogue behaviour).

Egocentric networks may come in small size, being rather closed and including few personal relationships, but they also may be of considerable size and open in so far as the ego is interconnected with a large group of other individuals (reach of network).

In the course of a network analysis, typologies (e.g. according to the buying patterns of customers) may also be determined.

Human Resource Index

In cooperation with Wentner & Havranek, an institute for management consultancy, SORA has developed a new product on the sector of employee surveys. The Human Resource Index provides employers with a feedback on the job satisfaction of their employees and also enables them to learn their employees´ opinion on strategically relevant issues. If applied as benchmarking instrument, the Human Resource Index also offers comparison with other employees on the respective sector and thus serves as a basis for strategic action planning.


Various subjects, such as programmes, measures, services, organisations, etc. are analysed and assessed in respect of certain criteria by means of evaluation.
The research methods used (expert interviews, questionnaire surveys, data sets and aggregate data analyses, etc.)  are selected in accordance with the purpose of the evaluation. Evaluation criteria are e.g.

  • the overall performance and the achievement of sub-goals,
  • the benefit for the respective target groups and
  • the development opportunities arising therefrom.

As a rule, SORA evaluations are structured in such a way as to accompany a process: preliminary results are continuously fed back to the project teams and discussed.