But on the researcher side, much planning must go into designing the questions, and in turn, designing the actual surveys themselves.
In other cases, the research stakeholder (client) can actively take part in questionnaire design if they so choose. Data collection can even be delayed in favor of prioritizing robust design, for an approval from a knowledgeable client.
Below, we’ve outlined our tips for researchers that are commencing new projects and jumping into the design of an online survey:
As a researcher, you want to ensure that your online survey software offers you the right kind of toolbox that you need. What matters most is that the features and options that you need are available. If required, you can also scale back the complexity and build a really simple, straight-forward survey if that’s what the research project requires.
Here are a few things to ensure that you have in your toolbox: robust skipping, branching, piping, multiple rotations, choice elimination, etc. Having these capabilities allows you to offer more to your clients!
Research across many industries can actually go quite deep and requires powerful logic so that the collected data is detailed enough and relevant to the research. In the end, this will even help you in the data analysis stage, because the data will be clean and more meaningful. How do your online survey tools stack up?
Make sure that your software has an importing tool built-in that can support many file formats – (XLSX, TXT, SAV, CSV, SSS, and access files like ACCDB, ACCDR, etc.) It is integral to work with an importation tool that is compatible with the files that you’re working with, saving precious time and resources.
Unfortunately, there is a huge variety of data standards in the industry, which can complicate the data importing process. Without a flexible importation tool, you may be forced to do extra internal work to change file types, which can delay the project.
At Voxco, we’ve even had clients that have uploaded millions of records in one shot! We’ve also constructed the importation tool with your research work in mind, that’s why we have scheduled importations, and easily modifiable importations.
Without an email distribution tool directly integrated into your online survey software, you will need to use a third-party email tool that is not paired with your survey system to distribute to respondents.
In turn, it will be more difficult to implement tracking on your respondents to see who’s read it, who has unsubscribed, who needs a reminder, and so forth. In this regard, having the right email distribution features within your survey tool is a time saver as well, because you won’t need to cross-check between two or more systems to get a handle on your potential respondents.
With an integrated email tool, you can even target respondents based on segmentation tactics, to ensure your surveys are reaching the right audience. You can also easily exclude people who ask not to be contacted, which has legal implications if not complied with.
With Voxco’s integrated email distribution tool, you can track, target, segment, and even test the effectiveness of your email invitations with email soft-launching.
Once the data is collected and the survey is complete, extraction/exportation is the next step. Similar to the importation process, extracting data should be simple and not time consuming, and of course, include scheduled extractions. On this side of data handling, it is also incredibly important to have a software that can handle extractions of all possible file types.
During the extraction process, you should also be able to refine the extracted data, to exclude or include variables or fields – tailored to your clients needs. Go further with refining data by filtering respondents; by completion status, answer types, etc.
Researchers need a software that can save or duplicate tasks that have already been programmed and/or performed so they can apply them to other surveys in the future. This tip is actually applicable to all the above points, so you can be efficient on the programming side!
It also contributes to the intuitive workflow where programmers can work more efficiently, because it decreases the repetitive tasks required to build surveys.
It is a crucial function in order to save time and increase productivity, so researchers can deliver to clients faster.