Activity Ch. 3: A Fair Trade consumer study

Chapter 3 in my book introduces Consumers and the challenges they face as they make decisions with imperfect data, align actions with beliefs, and juggle conflicting needs.

The activity is based on a convenience sample survey.  A convenience sample survey enables participants to approach people on the street, at an event, store, home – whever they are.  I chose this style for this study because of the large amount of poeple engaged in data collection  and the different data collection sceanrios such as size of town and general awareness of Fair trade.


  • Survey
  • Teach Out
  • Disucssion

The following is a Fair Trade consumer suvey developed by students at Keene State College in New Hampshire, US and based on many of the consumer study findings presented in this chapter. This instrument, used since 2011, measures Fair Trade consumerism in the US.


Print out the survey (below) and take it out into your community. Think about the sample you wish to study and how they can be best reached. Consider creating different sample clusters to compare their Fair Trade knowledge, opinions and action. Survey students on campus, school children, church groups, people in town at different times of the day and different days of the week. This survey is also designed to be analyzed demographically. Look at repsonses in relation to age, income, gender, where live, and occupation. Creating a Google form of the survey to use for entering in collected data is a good way to capture initial results and develop a spreadsheet to use for futher analysis of data. Additional software can be used to further analyze the data, create cross references and separate data sheets.

Note: Changing data counts into percentages will enable data to be more accurately measured as a comparison in its category, especially if there are more participants in one category than another. For example your survey samples have a larger number of young, low income, or student participants than other categories. Looking at the data as counts, or the number of repsonses to a particular quesiton, can cause sampling bias. To prevent this, calculate the percentages of responses in each category and compare percentages. For example, instead of measuring how many students are faimilar with Fair Trade (question eight), calculate the percentage of students who are faimilar with Fair Trade. This makes the data easier to compare to other demographics where there may be a lower number of respondents.


After completing and analyzing the survey consider the following disucssion points. What can be stated about consumers in your community? Are there differences in the ways people engage in Fair Trade based on age, income, gender, where live, or occupation? Why do you think this is so? What trends have your discovered that you did not expect to find? What did you expect to find that this study confirmed? How do your findings prove or disprove other study findings referred to in this chapter?

Please copy and paste the survey below into a doc, then print and use it in your comunity.  Try to complete at least 100 surveys so good comparisons can be made.
or for a pdf version of the doc contact author, Tamara.

Person Administering Survey (Name) _______________________ Town/state: __________

Date__________________     Time ___:______AM PM   Place: ______________________

Details on place (circle one): college/university, public school, main (commercial) street, shopping center, store

Do they carry Fair Trade goods? (circle one) Yes No Some

To participant:

  • Hello, I am (name) ________________. I am collecting data for a consumer study on Fair Trade.   May I ask you to take four minutes to complete the following survey with me? You do not have to know about Fair Trade in order to participate.
  • Data gathered will be analyzed in order to better understand consumerism and trade. The survey is confidential unless you wish to be named and contacted for follow up. We will not sell you name to any lists and all information gathered will be used for this study only.
  1. Gender M F
  2. Occupation: Student, Hourly Worker, Salaried Professional, Self employed, Part Time, Retired, Unemployed, Other _________
  3. Age (circle one): 19 and under,   20-29,     30- 39,     40-49,     50-59,     60-69,     70+
  4. Where do you live, now (circle one):
    Urbanized Area (UA) 50,000+ people
    Urban Cluster (UC) 2,500 to 50,000 people
    Rural Area (RA) less than 2,500 people
  5. Income (circle one): less than $22,000,   $23,000 – $50,000,   $51,000 – $75,000,
    $76,000 – $100,000,     $100,000+
  • Income type (select one): personal income, combined family income
  • Do you receive additional support from (circle one): none,   parents/family,
    government,   trust fund/investments,   pension/retirement funds,   other_____________
  1. Do you make the household buying decisions? Yes   No
  2. How are you most likely to hear about a new product (choose 1)? TV program,
    TV commercial,   Radio, Magazine/newspaper,   Internet*,   Word-of-Mouth,   Billboard, other______________________________

*If Internet: How? Blog,   twitter,   facebook,   e-newsletter, google ad,   link,   other_______

(Read) “Fair Trade is a form of commerce that ensures that producers are paid a fair price for the work they do, production is done in an environmentally friendly way, and local cultures are respected.   Fair Trade products are often perceived to be more expensive than other products but often they are not. They are higher quality though, and pricing does reflect that.”

  1. Is this concept familiar to you? Yes No