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MRI-Simmons Insights: How-To Guide

Learn how to create Quick Reports and Crosstabs in MRI-Simmons Insights.
Special Note About MRI-Simmons Platform Upgrade!
MRI-Simmons recently updated the Insights platform (version 1.0) to the Catalyst platform (version 2.0). The step-by-step instructions on this guide were specifically written for navigating the original Insights platform, but the information about the available content, report options, and tips for reading crosstabs is still relevant to the new Catalyst platform.  

The database now defaults to the new Catalyst platform, which is easily recognizable by its purple color. To switch from Catalyst to Insights, click on the [Launch 1.0] button in the top navigation bar. To switch from Insights to Catalyst, click on the [Launch 2.0] button. Instructions for using Catalyst are forthcoming.


About Crosstabs

Create customized cross tabulations ("crosstabs") to analyze relationships between thousands of variables. Crosstabs can help you to get insights on a specific target or compare variables for multiple targets.

Crosstabs Search Options:

  • Smart Search (default search)
    • Begin typing in the box to search the database for all terms that match. Results will populate as you search. 
    • To add multiple variables from the results list you will need to hit CTRL or SHIFT and then begin selecting the items. Once you have selected items, click on the appropriate icon above the terms to move them to columns and rows.
  • Dictionary Search (recommended - available on the Crosstab and Composer pages)
    • On the Crosstab page, click the Dictionary button to view the entire data dictionary and drag and drop variables into columns and rows. Alternatively, use Composer to access the Dictionary.
    • You may browse Dictionary folders or use the search box to search for any data point within the Dictionary. It is recommended you search “All”, not just Answers or Questions & Answers. 
  • Definitions
    • On both the Dictionary page and In Composer view you will see a tab labeled “Definitions” that contains folders with segments that MRI-Simmons has prebuilt for convenience, such as Age/Gender combinations and Generations (Millennials, Gen X, etc.)
    • Note: there is an option to create your own Definitions folder, however we do not recommend this as all Bentley users will be able to view, edit, or delete the folder.

You can flip back and forth between the searches - work completed in Smart Search carries over to Dictionary Search, and vice versa.

Step-by-Step Instructions

When creating your crosstab, think about who or what you want to study. You will be placing variables into Columns and Rows. Typically, you will put the product, brand, interest, or activity you are analyzing into columns. The demographic characteristics, psychographic variables, media usage, and spending habits information you are interested in will go in the rows.

Step 1: Select a study. Click on the drop-down arrow to display the list of all available studies, which include the NHCS Adult studies and Simmons Connect. If choosing the NHCS Adult study, select the most recent 12-month study which will provide the largest sample size. Simmons Connect provides includes all NHCS study data plus additional data on consumers’ use of 11 traditional and digital media platforms, including reach, time spent, and activity measures.


Step 2:  Choose a Search type. The Crosstab Smart Search will be the default search option. To switch to Dictionary Search (and/or use Definitions), click the box labeled Dictionary.


Step 3. Enter search terms. Search for a product, brand, interest, or activity. Enter your search terms and select from the generated list of survey responses. Pay close attention to the results. For example, a search for Dunkin' provides options for Food (Donut Brand), Dining (Fast Food Restaurants), and Beverages (Ground/Whole Bean Coffee Brand and Coffee-on-the-Go Purchases).


Step 4: Set Columns. Put your selection into a column by clicking on the Columns icon. For side-by-side comparisons, repeat this step to continue adding variables to columns. For example, you might want to compare consumers who said they visit Dunkin' most often with those that said they visit Starbucks most often. 


Step 5: Set Rows. In order to create a crosstab, you have to create rows to compare with the data in your columns. Put the things you want to know about the columns into the rows. For example, demographic details, psychographic characteristics (lifestyle statements, interests, activities), media usage, shopping/spending behavior, and product or brand usage. 

You can use Smart Search, but you may find it easier to use the Dictionary Search (and possibly Definitions) to identify desirable rows. In the example below, we used Dictionary Search to find and add "sports interest" to the crosstab rows.




Step 6: Verify your columns and rows selections. Look in the Grid section of the Tool Palette on the left side of the screen to view your column and row selections. By default, short names are provided. Click the three dots to toggle to view full names.




Step 7. Run the Crosstab. Click on the Arrow button to run the crosstab analysis.

Step 8. View your Crosstab. The default view is the "Private Eye View", which displays all data horizontally. You may find it easier to scroll and read data in "Crosstab View", which is a stacked view. Use the Tool Palette on the left to make the change.


Step 9: Export your crosstab. Crosstabs can be exported to either an .XLS or .CSV file for you to view and manipulate in Microsoft Excel. You can also save crosstabs as a .SPC file, a special MRI-Simmons Insights file type. If you return to MRI-Simmons Insights at a later time, you can upload the .SPC file to continue working.