The National Awareness, Attitudes, and Usage Study

The largest ongoing study of perceptions and behaviors related to cultural organizations in the United States.

What It Is

The National Awareness, Attitudes, and Usage Study (NAAU) is not your traditional one-question-after-another survey.

IMPACTS is constantly in-market collecting information about how people make decisions and why. At over 355,000 survey respondents and counting, the NAAU is believed to be the largest ongoing study of perceptions and behaviors related to visitor-serving organizations in the United States. Instead of asking participants to choose from a predetermined list of responses, the NAAU includes open-ended inquiries to which participants can respond in their own words, which are then categorized and weighted by advanced technologies.

Designed to be representative of the United States population in terms of demographics, psychographics, and behavioral attributes, the NAAU yields a great deal of near-real-time data that allows us to understand the US population with high confidence and statistical significance. Like most real-time, big data processes, the NAAU lives on servers so that it can be consistently updated, queried, organized, and referenced in meaningful ways for workshops, presentations, and other market research services.


Sophisticated analysis allows IMPACTS Experience to present data in several ways. While data sets may be presented in percentages or ranked responses, there are three types of data analysis that we use most, as they most accurately visually communicate the outcomes of the data and yield the most accurate interpretation.

Lexical Analysis

The NAAU uses open-ended questions. Respondents answer in their own words and follow-up questions are based upon those responses. (Haven’t been to a science center? Then we’re not going to ask you about the best part of your visit. Instead, we’ll ask you why you haven’t visited.) Open-ended queries and lexical analysis yield richer insights than the normally stated responses to a survey attendant to traditional surveys would otherwise provide.

Scalar Variables

Scalar variables help measure the strength of agreement with statements. Though more traditional methodologies use scales of 1-5 or 1-10, the research processes developed by IMPACTS seek to maximize the variability of responses with scales typically ranging from 1-100. Additionally, scalar variables are used in developing structural equation models used to assess less readily measured factors through inference.

Index Values

Index values assign proportionality around a baseline condition of 100, which allows for extrapolation of the difference between a value and a base condition. For instance, a value of 110 is quickly recognized as being 10% greater than the base condition. One of the common indices most people are familiar with is the Consumer Price Index, which measures the price of commonly purchased items relative to a base year to determine the inflation rate.

Frequently Asked Questions

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  • Can I get a copy of the NAAU? Printing the NAAU would result in tens of thousands of pages of uncategorized data. IMPACTS can present data and accompanying analysis for your organization.
  • What does it mean that the NAAU is representative? The percentage of a particular group of respondents included in the study are proportional to the percentage of that group within the US population as a whole. For example, the percentage of people from Michigan in the NAAU is approximately equivalent to the percentage of Michigan residents in the US population.
  • How do you collect your data? IMPACTS collects data online; via random-digit-dialing to both mobile phones and landlines; through in-person intercepts; and via SMS and/or text messaging.
  • Do you collect data in multiple languages? Yes. Which languages specifically depend on what is widely spoken in a given region.
  • Do you have data for other countries? Although the NAAU predominantly covers the US, we also collect data in certain regions of Canada and Europe.

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