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Surveys: What Separates the Good from the Bad?

The goal of a survey is to get projectable results and fulfill the objective of the research. The answers that are obtained represent a larger population but are scaled down to an appropriate sample size. This information can be used to find complex group data that have certain variables and can help define market segments.

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What’s a Good Survey?

Good surveys can find unique differences among subject groups, including how individuals balance costs and benefits at certain times. Good surveys are also generally cost-effective, versatile, and able to be meticulously analyzed. This makes surveys reliable sources of quantitative and qualitative market data.

A good survey will have carefully crafted questions pertaining to a single topic that is easy to understand, are an appropriate sample size, and have an effective way of conveying descriptive information.

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Don’t Risk Conducting a Bad Survey

A poorly conducted survey may ask questions that are not easily interpreted. This may be from overly complex grammar or from questions that are vague. It can also mean that the questions are leading the respondents to answer in a particular way. A bad survey might also ask questions that respondents cannot remember the answer to easily. In addition, double-barreled questions that address more than one topic will make a survey less effective as well.

Get the Right Sample Size

As the sample size increases, the margin of error decreases. This is true up to a certain point. After the ideal sample size is reached, these sample sizes are affected by the law of diminishing returns, and the ever-increasing sample sizes do not add additional value to the data. Therefore, using the correct statistical calculations for sample size is imperative for accurate surveys with a low margin of error.

A Survey is a Great Tool—If Done Right!

A good survey will help you reach your research objective and will do so in a cost-effective and accurate way. A bad survey may reveal information that does help reach the research objective, and even worse—may give you incorrect or useless data. Calculating the correct sample size will also show that your survey is scalable and relates to the broader population, thereby representing the larger population accurately and fulfilling the survey’s research objective.

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