The Bunker had previously written a blog post regarding 5 Things to Look for in a Market Research Report, which spoke much about report content. Market research reports are something that we are all familiar with. The report may be the culmination of weeks, months, or even years of hard work from a research staff. So, after all of that hard work, the last thing you want is an untimely mistake or misrepresentation of the data. Once you have your content finalized and you think the report is ready to go, budget some extra time on the backend to give the report its justice and proof the document.
As a market research company in Syracuse, RMS has created a checklist of approximately 20 items that our Analytics team runs through before each report goes out the door. This rolling list continues to grow as we add more items that ensure quality and accuracy in reporting. These tips are basic in nature, but should be an integral part of your reporting process at your firm. Here are six quick tips we pulled for proofing a market research report.
- Single Response Question Graphs Sum to 100%. This maybe the most basic tip when it comes to statistical reporting, but is one of the most commonly over sighted. Simply put, all charts/graphs – bar charts, pie charts, whatever – need to sum to 100% in your market research report. In most cases, errors can be attributed to rounding, but time should be spent to ensure they add correctly so that the data is not called into question.
- Base Sizes Noted for Each Chart. This is in reference to the n or sample size for each chart/graph. It tells you whether the data is representative of 450 completes or 50 completes. It also gives the clients insight to the margin of error for the particular question.
- Question Numbers Labeled in Corner of Each Page. Often when a client is reading through a report they lose track of where this data falls in regards to the sequence of the survey script. For ease of accessibility and flow, footnote the survey question number in the corner of the page or even better – include the survey question text on the page in the report.
- Note others. Many times with bar graphs or any type of graph that involves coding in market research, you have to use the ever-popular “other” category. If the % of your “other” category is high, say 10%+, you should reference what constitutes that “other” category in a footnote on the page. It ensures you’ve covered all response categories and that your graph is exhaustive.
- Check Spelling and Grammar in Top Boxes, Legends, Charts and Footnotes. Again, another fundamental tip that extends beyond just market research. Try taking two approaches for proofing: first, run through the report for content proofing (does it read well, does it make sense?); second, run through the report strictly for editing purposes (typos, grammar). If you are working in PowerPoint, make sure to check the legends and labels in your graphs that may have been imported through Excel, as the spell check in PowerPoint does not include these in its spell check. If you have time, it always helps to have an outside set of eyes to review the report, someone who can bring a fresh perspective to the review.
- Lastly, check the table of contents. Especially true if you have multiple colleagues working on the report. If pages get added last-minute, it’s always important to do one final check of the table of contents if you have one at the beginning. This is always a good last step before you click SEND.
Research & Marketing Strategies (RMS) is a market research company located in Syracuse, NY. For more information please visit www.RMSresults.com or call 1-866-567-5422.