You've probably received the occasional telephone call asking you to take part in a survey. Perhaps you've even been part of a focus group that asked you to give your opinion on a service or product. The information gathered from surveys and focus groups is used to expose a trend in the public's thoughts and behaviors. In turn, many companies use data collected from surveys and focus groups in their marketing campaigns or to develop new products. Additionally, the government uses survey data to measure economic indicators, such as consumer spending and unemployment.
Things You'll Need
- Completed surveys
Collect a sufficient number of survey responses to gather results. While there is no correct number of survey responses necessary, the rule of thumb is that the smaller the population size you plan to survey, the more responses you should collect. For example, if you survey a population size of 100, the recommended sample size is 80. If you survey a population size of 10,000, the recommended sample size is 370.
Decide whether you will include results from all who responded, or just from a certain demographic to make the results statistically significant. Keep in mind that your results will only be as good as the questions on your survey. If your questions were confusing or poorly written, chances are your feedback may not be useful.
Examine the numbers in your results if your survey contained questions that would generate quantitative, or numeric data. Extremely low or extremely high scores likely means you're doing very well or really poor. To fully understand numerical data, it helps to have an understanding of statistical methods of analysis, such as standard deviation, mode and median, but the numbers alone will give you a good indication of the opinion of those surveyed.
Study the comments carefully if your survey contained questions that would result in qualitative, or non-numeric data to get a feel for what people are saying. Although most satisfied people will not leave comments on a survey, it still may be an opportunity to understand your sample population.
Look for trends and insights in your quantitative and qualitative data. While this isn't an exact science, if you have enough data collected, you should patterns emerge. For example, if survey results indicate that 82 percent of respondents recycle in the community surveyed, up 10 percent from one year ago, you can safely deduce that recycling trends are increasing while waste generation is decreasing.
Tips & Warnings
- Statistical data collected from a survey is never 100 percent accurate because it is extracted from a random sampling of the population. The results also depend on the honesty of those who are surveyed.
- Survey data may not have a long shelf life. Information gathered today may not be accurate next week because opinions change along with the business climate, economy and more.
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