Finding and utilizing the right survey software is integral to the market research process. Survey software becomes a market researcher’s best friend during the design process, all the way from start to finish. Here are highlights of some survey programming features:
- Quality Control Features – Most survey software incorporates a multitude of quality control features and as analysts (and sticklers for quality data), we love this! We check for everything can, including time to complete (to ensure respondents don’t speed through a 10 minute survey in 2 minutes) and ensuring uniqueness of respondents (to ensure individuals aren’t “stuffing our ballot box”). There are also features that force respondents to fill out questions properly and validate their responses, for example, ensuring that phone numbers and email addresses are in a valid format. Additionally, we can use our software to minimize bias in the survey by randomizing answer sets or questions series within the survey. Sequences such as inverse ordering A to E and then E to A, forward and backward (A-B-C, to B-C-A, to C-A-B).
- Tracking Respondents – The survey software we utilize allows us to track respondents, which opens up a variety of data insights. One common use is tracking back survey responses to demographics in the sample file. If the sample that we uploaded had detailed demographics or information about the respondents, we can connect this data with survey responses and run cross-tabulations and segment data based on variables (which weren’t featured in the survey). This saves us time by not having to ask questions we already have the data for in another source.
- Automated Survey Invitations and Reminders – The ability to track respondents also opens up the opportunity for having an advanced email survey invitation/reminder system. When our team sends out survey invitations, we also want to send out reminders when respondents ultimately don’t respond. The survey system allows us to track the respondents to send reminders to non-responders. This can be automated to send at defined intervals (i.e., 3 days after they received their first invitation, 2nd reminder 5 days after they received their first invitation, etc.)
- Seeding Respondent Data – Seeding data is the process by which we pull respondent data and place it into the survey. There are quite a few scenarios where this feature can be extremely useful. First, in one of the annual surveys that we conduct we need respondents to update their contact information and in order to prevent frustration of having to refill this data every year. Therefore, we seed the respondent’s contact information into the question boxes, leaving the respondent to only update areas that need to be changed. Another example is, let’s say you have a customer database and want to seed data into the customer follow-up survey regarding the respondent’s transaction. The respondent is then able to both confirm the database entries match their situation and rate the individual factors that are specific to their experience. One last example, when conducting multi-mode longitudinal studies, sometimes we require respondents to conduct a portion of the survey over the phone and then later complete the survey online. Seeding their phone responses into the online survey makes the process exponentially smoother.
- Advanced Routing – Survey routing, sometimes referred to as conditional skip logic, is one of the most valuable features of an online survey. It allows us to ask questions to respondents based on how they responded to previous questions. This is useful for asking follow-up questions to further probe on a topic. Nearly all surveys include some sort of routing (yes, even in paper surveys), and having your online survey automate this process allows for a much smoother experience for the survey taker.
- Slider Scales – these scales are an attempt to improve engagement and interactivity in a survey. A slider scale is placed in a survey and allows the user to click and drag the slider to both extremes. A simple example of this is using a slider scale of happy face to a sad face. Or a slider scale where you can move a dial from zero to 100.
- Image Mapping – Survey software allows you to create more engaging questions, such as image maps. With image maps, you create clickable areas on an image that the survey taker submits as their response. There a quite a few applications where this is useful, such as testing print advertising, product packaging, website design, or even something as simple as clicking a region or county they live in from a map. On top of providing a great interface for testing images, these types of questions are also more engaging for the respondents. Ultimately, the data from the image mapping can be converted into a heat map and become a great visualization of the findings.
The right survey software can be an extremely valuable tool to the market research process and create many opportunities for collecting data. Knowing and learning the basics of survey programming and management of software provides an extraordinary amount of time-savings and quality advancements to the research process. For more information about survey design or if you are looking for a market research firm in NY, contact our Business Development Director Sandy Baker at SandyB@RMSresults.com or by calling 1-866-567-5422.