How to Conduct Survey Research3

Survey research

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What is survey research?

As clearly as the name suggests, survey research refers to a systematic study or research done through surveys. Meaning, surveys are conducted with the respondents and the results are drawn through statistical calculations. 

In the modern world like today’s, where companies run totally on what and how their customers think, it is vital for them to know their customers best. Survey opens that opportunity for them as it is a great method of sampling the opinion and find out how people think differently about different topics and products. 

 The main benefit of using survey research as your data collection method is that it will provide your first-hand primary data, the data that will be collected, maintained, analyzed and used by you. 

For example, let’s say you run a gym and want to know what the members think about the working and equipments in your gym. You can float a survey form in the group to the members and let them express openly about their experience at your gym and how they would like it to be better. 

This way, you will have a more reliable data on which you can work for the betterment of your gym.

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Why survey research?

As much as there are reasons for you to consider survey research for your business, here are some of the important points that we think makes survey research the best suit for businesses:

  • Survey research provides you with the best first-hand reliable and authentic data with respect to your business and a systematic way to handle it. 
  • It also allows you to give access and collect data from those responders who you think are capable and you can count on. 
  • Survey techniques provide a vast type of survey questions that have various ways of answering methods. This makes it easy for you to effectively present the questions with minimum complexity. 
  • It gives you valuable insights into customers’ mindsets and behaviour and their significance in your business strategy. 
  • Survey research and its interactive nature helps you connect to the customers and build a healthy relationship with them where they can freely express their thoughts and opinions. 
  • In the market research, surveys are widely used to gain important information to improve existing product and build better once in the coming time. 
  • Survey research is scalable depending on the channels or platforms that they are deployed on. Both online surveys and offline surveys can be used according to the company’s convenience. 
  • Survey research is advised to be conducted frequently to keep track of customers’ changing natures and preferences, and stay on top of the latest market trends. 

Types of survey research

Survey research does sound like a very straight and easiest way to get to know your customer base. But, when you get to in professionally, there are various types and ways you can approach this method so that it gives you the best outcomes for your business. 

To make this easier for you, in this section we will discuss the various type of survey research depending on various factors:

Objective-based survey research

  • Exploratory survey research – this method concerns with finding or exploring the research topic. This simply means that the researcher is completely focusing on what more information he can get about a topic of interest. This mostly involves open-ended questions where respondents can freely express their thoughts leaving an abundance of data with the researcher. For example: the researcher wants to know what most parents think about the increasing use of violent games by their children. 
  • Predictive survey research – this is also called causal research as it aims to predict the cause=effect relationship between two or more variables. This study makes use of existing information and patterns that the researcher studies to tell what can happen. For example: a researcher wants to study the effect of drug use in teenagers. 
  • Descriptive surveys research – unlike predictive research, descriptive survey research is completely observational. It is very helpful in quantitative research where the numerical responses and calculated statistically. Descriptive survey research helps you to bring out new insights regarding how the subjects think differently about the same thing. Example: a researcher conducts descriptive survey research to know people in the rural areas live with drought. 

Data source based survey research

  • Secondary data – survey research can make use of secondary data or secondary research that is already conducted by someone else in the past. Researchers will use this method when they know that their research topic has already been explored by many researchers before and referring to them will save time and costs. The source of secondary data can be books, magazines, research papers and reports, interviews, other surveys, online data, etc. secondary data can be generic as it is conducted by someone else and not at all based on your topic. Example: a researcher wants to know about domestic violence. He will first refer to a secondary source such as research reports that have been primary data for some other researcher. 

Primary data – unlike secondary data, primary data is first-hand data and is collected by the researcher by himself. He will survey by himself and engage with the respondents and their data directly. Hence, primary data is completely dependent on your research topic and is useful to you. Although it takes time and effort to form a valuable source of information, primary data is 100% reliable and the researcher does not need to filter or process it before using it for analysis. Example: a researcher wants to know about the effects of a new drug on diabetic patients. He will survey a sample of patients who have been exposed to that drug and record the changes and experiences.

Methodology based survey research

  • Quantitative research – this is a research method widely used to gather numerical data. This includes questions that have optional answer ranges and has statistical approaches to calculate the results. Quantitative research has close-ended questions which have no chance of wide expressions from the respondents. Example: you want to know about your seminar performance. You will ask close-ended questions like “How much did you like our seminar?” and the range of answers would look something like this; 
  1. Very good
  2. Good
  3. Average
  4. Bad
  5. Very bad

Respondents are supposed to give answers in this range only. 

  • Qualitative research – this methodology of research has open-ended questions. The researcher asks the questions to the respondents to which they can freely express their thoughts and opinions. Qualitative research includes no numerical data but a descriptive answer from respondents which takes even longer to compile the information from and analyze the results. Example: you can ask questions like “How can we improve our seminars?” which will allow for the people to briefly describe their opinions about your seminar.

Exploratory Research Guide

Conducting exploratory research seems tricky but an effective guide can help.

Scales of survey research

In this section, we are going to discuss deeply how the answer ranges are scaled depending on various methods. 

  • Nominal scale – this way of answering options uses numbers to label the qualitative variables. Meaning, the numbers don’t have any value for themselves as they just serve as labels which respondents use to mention in the answer section. They have a one-to-one relationship with the corresponding variables and are used for their identification.

Example: How do you represent your gender?

  1. 1-Male
  2. 2-Female
  3. 3-Other
  • Ordinal scale – in this scale, the variables range in various ranking orders but doesn’t specify to what degree each of them is important. The data is qualitative since can be grouped or ranked. With this method, the researcher determines to what degree does the responder agrees or disagrees with the question statement. 

Example: We have a satisfying customer service so far.

  1. Totally agree
  2. Somewhat agree
  3. Neutral
  4. Disagree
  5. Totally disagree
  • Interval scale – this scale is used to measure variables existing at equal intervals parallel to a common scale. It combines the attributes of nominal and ordinal scales and is used where there is order and a meaningful difference between two variables. You can carry out other mathematical processes like calculating the mean and median on the variables.

Example: You enjoyed using our product.

  1. Completely agree
  2. Somewhat agree
  3. Neither agree nor disagree
  4. Somewhat disagree
  5. Completely disagree
  • Ratio scale – this is a numeric scale as well and uses intervals or ranges as answer options. It is made up of scales of other surveys and it has equal intervals between the variables in the scale. 

Example: How much experience do you have with our product?

  1. More than a year
  2. 12-10 months
  3. 10-8 months
  4. 8-6 months
  5. 6-4 months
  6. 4-2 months
  7. Below 2 months

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10 tips to design an effective survey research

It is important to perfectly design a research survey for it to be useful to your business. You need to pay attention to the use of correct survey design, frame the right questions and choose effective platforms to distribute your surveys. 

Here are some 10 tips that will help you to design your survey research efficiently:

  1. Set goals – this even before you start your survey design. Decide what goals you want to achieve with your survey and plot down the objectives of conducting that particular survey so that it acts as a guideline to your research.
  2. Right questions – it is important to frame correct questions which will directly hit the exact answers you were looking for. Keep the questions short and simple so that respondents can easily identify them and stay away from any confusion. Run mock surveys with your friends and colleagues to know any improvements in the questions if any.
  3. Generalized questions in the start – start with such questions to get an idea of whether respondents have used your product or not and whether they have enough knowledge concerning your research topic.
  4. Enhance – modify your survey for every question to fit its format with the moto. The questions should bring you the answers you were looking for. 
  5. Yes/no questions – include yes or no questions asking basic questions like “Have you used our product?” Then depending on their answer, you can ask them different questions. 
  6. Test for all electronic devices – your survey should be responsive on any electronic device. This way it will be easier for the respondents to answer your survey according to their convenience.
  7. Distribute survey – once your survey is ready, make use of various channels available and deploy the survey on them. You can use online/offline platforms to do this. 
  8. Response collection and analytics – this is the important phase since it will be the turning point of your research. This includes making information out of what data you have collected so far. Choose your analysing methodology efficiently so that it matches your research purpose and come up with the suitable solution you were looking for. 
  9. Summary report – this is where you summarize your report. Gather your problem statement and the way you carried out the survey, the sampling style and how you conducted the survey. And lastly, take your findings and make a report of them highlighting the important details in the research process. 
  10. Follow-up – now that your research doesn’t, your work doesn’t end here. You have to constantly refer your report and always look for new findings in the same areas that you have researched. This will help you to be updated in the market and always be on track with new ideas for your product.

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Get market research trends guide, Online Surveys guide, Agile Market Research Guide & 5 Market research Template

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Great Research
Fast Insights
Best-in-class ROI

Voxco’s platform helps you gather omnichannel feedback, measure sentiment, uncover insights and act on them.

Join 500 + global clients across 40+ countries