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Survey methodology for data collection and question design

Posted on 12/9/2015 by Elizabeth in category: survey software articles
Knowing the survey methodology behind what clients want is an important factor to business success. Government agencies, news media and political candidates have to know what the public is thinking. Associations should know what their members are looking for and larger companies have to measure employee attitudes. The proper way of obtaining this information is by using a survey tool.

Data Collection

Data that is generated in a survey is produced from information offered during survey measurements. There are multiple techniques that survey researchers use for data collection through the use of surveys. People can be interviewed over the telephone (cell or landline), through paper questionnaires, or through an online survey software.

Your first step is to decide what type of data you want to collect through your survey software. Your project goals is what will determine what you will ask and who you will survey. If you have unclear goals, your results will likely be unclear as well. A handful of goals that you might want to include are:
  • Ratings of current services or products.
  • How much potential a product or service has in a particular market.
  • Employee attitudes.
  • Viewer/reader/listener opinions.
  • Patient/customer levels of satisfaction.
  • Opinions of association members.
  • Opinions about political issues or candidates.
  • Corporate images.

Question Design

During the survey process, the most crucial part perhaps is the creation of questions you want to ask that will accurately measure the experiences, opinions, and behaviors of the public. High response rates and accurate random sampling will be wasted if you gather information from biased or ambiguous questions.

Open-ended Questions. These types of questions ask the participants to jot down their own responses and allow you to take note of the respondent opinions in their own words. These questions are useful when you are looking to obtain in-depth factual information with which you are not that familiar, attitudes, opinions, sensitive issues or suggestions.

Partially Categorized Questions. These questions are like the open-ended questions, however, but come with some pre-categorized answers to facilitate analysis and recording. There's often a black space with the term 'other' next to it. It is often easy to analyze these types of questions and record them quickly.

Closed Questions. These types of questions have a list of potential answers that the respondents will choose from. These types of answers can include true/false questions, yes/no questions, scaled questions or multiple choice questions.

Online survey software is gaining popularity rapidly. It has big speed, cost-effective, and flexibility advantages. Survey software or a questionnaire posted online on a webpage can provide you with thousands of responses in a matter of hours. Email invitations to take a survey are usually responded too within a couple days. You want to keep your surveys brief since people will most likely be more inclined to fill out a shorter survey, no matter how you are questioning them.

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