Surveys are traditionally used to gather knowledge in sociological and demographic fields. More often than not, they are used to assess opinions, thoughts and feelings rather than facts.
Businesses across all industries will conduct surveys to obtain answers with regards to their progress and/or efficiency. The questions contained within a survey can vary and take various formats, ranging from individual questions with tick-box answers to charted/scaled responses.
To present a wholly effective survey, you will need to ensure that you hone in on specific questions that work towards building an overall picture of public opinion.
As such, your questions should be structured in a way that does not overwhelm the participant but still asks the necessary questions to retrieve the required information from them. This structuring is necessary in order to receive the most accurate data.
The main reasons why businesses and researchers should conduct surveys are as follows:
Discovering The Answers
In an inclusive and non-overwhelming survey environment, you will be able to learn about what inspires and motivates your consumer. You will be able to isolate what matters to them and what they are looking for specifically.
You will be able to identify different personality traits within individuals and build an overall picture of what methodology works best within your business or field of interest.
Making the survey environment as comfortable for the participants as possible is of utmost importance as you will uncover more honest and open answers through this approach.
Using websites/apps that create online surveys is the perfect way to extract the most accurate information from your participants as they will feel secure enough to offer honest information within the privacy of their surroundings.
If you are participating in a ‘street-survey’, it may be difficult for your participant to offer lengthy answers, particularly if they are in a rush or on a lunch break.
However, no matter the circumstances, you should always encourage them to discuss their thoughts as widely as possible as you will be able to extract more information and build a more accurate picture by doing so.
This will allow you to dig deeper into the bones of your survey and incite a broader, more truthful perspective.
Base Decisions On Objectivity
The purpose of survey-taking is not to judge the participant. To the contrary, it is an unbiased form of evaluation that can lead to unbiased decision making. Relying solely on ‘gut feelings’ with regards to decisions can be detrimental to your business model or personal interests.
Analyzed results will always immediately highlight the areas of importance and the areas of concern and you should allow your data to be your guide.
Data analysis removes indecision as the statistical information is able to paint a clearer picture for you without muddying the waters with your intuitive understanding. Objectivity is key.
Compare And Contrast
If you conduct multiple surveys over a number of years, you should always keep a copy of your previous results and chart analytics. This will enable you to make accurate comparisons with regards to your personal/business progress and help you to highlight persistent areas of concern.
You should observe any patterns in the participant’s responses to isolate key areas for improvement/discussion.
Your overall objective picture is built on a basis of subjective opinion and thought. However, if numerous participants feel a particular way, then this is a clear indication that something is either working or needs to change with regards to a business model.
Surveys are also excellent indicators of current political trends for this reason, as you are able to locate patterns of behavior and link this to sociological or demographical factors.
Ultimately, the main purpose of a survey is to optimize your performance and/or obtain heightened knowledge of a particular subject. They can help you to recognize when you’re doing well and celebrate your strengths and this can be a brilliant motivator when you are experiencing self-doubt or burnout.
Ideally, they should be used regularly in order to re-inspire your business model, if you are conducting them for business purposes.
Using them during positive and negative times can also improve the accuracy in your results as you will be able to predict and heal any pitfalls. Naturally, surveys aren’t about self-gladulation, but it helps to reveal trends and patterns of behavior that are having a significant impact on the field in question.
It is also important to focus on the importance of the survey for your participants. Surveys offer the participant a voice and provide them with the opportunity to feel empowered in their opinions, thoughts and feelings.
Every human being likes to feel listened to and a survey is an unbiased means of offering a listening ear.
Happier people are always more productive, and the assurance that someone is taking their opinions on board is now more expected and prevalent than ever before. This is because of social media platforms like twitter that have enabled users to have their opinions heard on a regular basis.
To contrast, a survey offers a structured alternative and that formality is usually well received. Data is trusted more than a tweet and so people are usually more than obliging with regards to undertaking surveys.
The impartiality of those who are conducting the survey is also imperative and crucial to the purpose of surveying.
In an age of digital and social media, people need to feel as though they are able to offer their opinions without judgement as many feel as though their thoughts are constantly being tailored by external sources.
A survey is the only place where someone can offer their opinions on a particular business or topic without being instantaneously chastised or told whether they are ‘wrong’ in their opinions.
In turn, this has brought a new level of purpose to conducting a survey as they place importance on the individual’s subjective truth whilst building an overarching, objective picture.
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