How to Conduct Survey Research1

How to Conduct Survey Research?

Transform your insight generation process

Use our in-depth online survey guide to create an actionable feedback collection survey process.

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Survey Research assists you to unveil customer’s opinions and gain data points on customer behavior and sentiment. By asking your customers to answer questions relevant to your study and analyzing the findings you identify growth opportunities. 

The survey can generate a large amount of information in a short time span. You can use Survey for a wide no. of reasons. Many Research fields use surveys to generate a large amount of data – Social, Health, Market, Psychology, and Politics. 

If you want to acquire insightful and valuable information you need to survey the right audience, ask the right question by using the right method. 

Follow these steps to conduct efficient Survey Research:

  • Define the Purpose of your Survey
  • Define the Audience
  • Decide how to Distribute the Survey
  • Design your Survey
  • Conduct the Survey Research 
  • Analyze the Survey Result
  • Present your Survey Findings

 

Define the Purpose of your Survey

What is it that you wish to find out at the end of the survey? Do you want to know the reason you are losing customers? Or, do you want to understand the changing trends in customer expectations?

Clearly describe what your goal is for the survey and communicate that goal with every team member involved in the building of the survey questions. If you are unable to figure out your survey goal list all the issues your company is facing currently in the market. Prioritize the goals that seem to need immediate attention. 

What kind of customers comprises your target markets? 

  • Do you have the data or do you need further segmentation to answer the questions? 

Is your marketing campaign performing well?

  • Do you need further data to improve the campaign?

Define the Audience

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How to Conduct Survey Research? Survey Research

When you decide to conduct a survey you should have a clear idea of whose opinion matters the most to you. 

Your Target Population is your relevant audience whose feedback you want to collect. 

When you gather survey results you should be able to generalize them with the whole target population. For example, you would want to collect the opinion of mothers for infant food. You need to specify who you want to conduct a survey on. 

The sample is the group of people selected from the population. It is often not possible to survey the entire population. For these situations, you will survey a sample from your target population. 

You can use a sample size calculator to figure out how many respondents you will need who can properly represent the entire population. There are several sampling methods – probability and non-probability – that can help you to select respondents for your sample. 

The larger the sample size is the more accurate and valid your survey results will be.

Decide how to Distribute the Survey

You can deploy Surveys in various ways. You can send online surveys via email or SMS, post them on social media, or upload them on the website. You can also conduct interviews – FTF or telephone – and record their responses. The way you decide to distribute your survey depends on many factors. 

Email:

With Email, you can send a survey to a large sample size. It is easy and you can also send a customized message to the recipients of the survey. You can add a link or simply add a satisfaction question to receive a quick response. You can also send reminders or resend the survey via email to those who have not responded or opened the email.

Website:

You can embed a link to the survey page on your Website or launch a pop-up on your site, which directs the users who click on it to the survey. The users won’t have to leave your website or follow a long path to reach your survey.

Social Media:

Placing a survey link on social media platforms can increase the visibility of the survey and thus increase the response rate. You can also encourage the respondents to share the survey within their network. Using social media you can reach a large no. of audiences and gather a wide range of opinions.

Interview:

Interview – FTF or telephone – is a great method to collect in-depth feedback from respondents. However, it is more convenient when you have a small sample size and ample time to conduct extensive research. The interview allows the researcher and the respondent to explore the subject matter and generate qualitative information. 

While there are many ways you can distribute your survey, you have to remember that every method has a drawback. Carefully decide how you want to gather feedback.

Online Surveys

Design your Survey

Knowing who your target audiences are and what your purpose is, it should make designing survey questions easier. When you conduct a survey, the result depends on the quality of your survey questionnaire. If the respondents find the questions confusing, intrusive, vague, or if it is too long they are most likely to drop off. There are four factors you need to consider when you write down your survey questions. 

  • Type of Questions
  • The content of the questions should match the survey goal
  • Format of the survey questions
  • Order of the questions in the survey

Type of Questions: There are primarily two types of questions – Open-ended and Closed-ended

An open-ended question is a better option to collect qualitative data. It allows respondents to share their thoughts and opinions in their own words. 

  • Most commonly used in interviews and focus group surveys.
  • Useful as a follow-up question to ask respondents for more explanation on their answer to a closed-ended question

Closed-ended questions generate quantitative data. It offers the respondents a predetermined list of options or a rating scale and asks them to select their preferred answer. 

  • Provides numerical data which makes it easy to find patterns or trends
  • Keeps the survey short and crisp, saving respondents time and effort
  • Different types of closed-ended questions are available to make the survey interactive and keep respondents engaged

You can combine both question types in your survey. You can use open-ended questions to follow up with a closed-ended question on a subject you need detailed information about. 

Content of the question should match the survey goal:

The questions you ask should be relevant to the goal of the survey so that you can gather accurate customer insight. 

Avoid including questions that don’t serve the purpose of the survey. Consider the questions carefully along with the list of answer options you provide for the closed-ended questions. Add a N/A or “other” option to give respondents the freedom when attending your survey.

Format of the survey questions:

The questions should be asked in layman language. 

  • Make sure you don’t use jargon or unfamiliar abbreviations when asking the general audience any question. Explain the terms if you do use them.
  • Don’t assume your respondents know what you are talking about. If it is not an interview you have no way to explain the meaning of your question. Avoid asking hypothetical or vague questions that need an explanation from the researcher. 
  • Avoid words that may influence the respondent’s opinion. Phrase questions so that it does not motivate the respondent to answer in a particularly biased manner. It will ruin the survey result.

Order of the questions in the survey:

Arrange the questions in a logical manner. 

  • Group questions of a particular topic together. Divide the survey questionnaire in a way that the respondent understands what the section of the question is about. 
  • Start with easy questions that engage the respondents and hook them to the survey. 
  • Avoid asking personal questions at all or place them towards the end of the survey. If the respondent decides to leave the survey you will still have the responses for the rest of the survey research.

Explore all the survey question types
possible on Voxco

Conduct the Survey Research

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At this point, you have a properly written questionnaire, a sample of respondents, and you know how you want to distribute your survey. Now you can run a test and when you are satisfied with your survey research design you can conduct the survey with a method of your choice. 

If you are conducting a survey via online methods like websites, social media, or email, keep the survey open to respondents for approximately 2 to 3 weeks.

Analyze the Survey Result

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Use survey software that can ease the entire process and provide assistance in every step. With the survey software, you can gather the response automatically, and analyze the survey result in real-time. 

Clean any duplicate responses. Sometimes a respondent may accidentally fill in a survey more than once. Sort through such responses to make sure it doesn’t skew your survey result. Also, clean incomplete or incorrectly completed surveys. 

You can use the Analytics tool to organize the response to closed-ended questions. Each closed-ended question must have a code. The survey software will comb through the responses and categorize them based on patterns. 

For example, if you are surveying your customers to understand what issue they face with your mobile app, you can identify any pattern in the answer. You can determine if there is any issue that the majority of your audience face and prioritize such issues to fix them. 

The analytics tool can also help identify respondent’s sentiment in qualitative responses. It can point out positive and negative emotions in the responses.

Present your Survey Findings

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You have your survey results which you need to share with the rest of the company. You have to now report your survey research. 

Start with explaining 

  • The purpose of conducting the survey
  • The kind of questions you have used
  • Your target audience and how you selected them
  • The method you used to conduct the survey
  • You can also present the questionnaire you created for the survey in the report. 

Then you need to inform the readers about the entire analysis process. Explain what statistical analysis method you use, which software you used to analyze the test. Justify the methods used to analyze the collected data. 

Present the survey result in a clear and factual manner, so that the reader can gather what you are trying to say by just looking at it.

In the discussion section of the survey report don’t just repeat the result findings. The discussion should present the researcher’s reflection on how well the survey has met the research goal. It should explain the problems faced during the survey process. Explain the conclusion and the limitations of the survey research. 

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Hindol Basu 
GM, Voxco Intelligence

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