Planning out the details of how your organization will conduct a survey helps to make sure that conducting the survey is a good use of the organization’s time and resources and the results provide insight for answering the research question that was the reason for conducting the survey.
The video below briefly discusses 5 important factors to consider when planning a survey.
As briefly discussed in the above video, 5 important things to consider are:
- Clearly defining what the research objectives are. Narrowing it down and getting specific about what it is that you want or need to know is important before conducting a survey.
- Verifying that conducting a survey is the best way to go about answering your research objectives. Once your research objectives are clearly defined you can decide if a survey and not another method, such as a focus group, an in-depth interview, a secondary data analysis, etc. is the best method to use.
- Deciding on or clarifying who is your target sample. Is there a certain demographic who’s opinion you want on this topic? For example, are you doing this survey as part of a community health assessment where you want a sample that’s representative of the population of the community or is it more narrow, such as if you’re conducting a customer satisfaction survey so you would want a sample of your customers to survey. Or do you only want a specific segment of those customers, such as those who purchased a particular product?
- Deciding on your desired sample size taking into account factors such as the response rate you would expect to get, statistics such as the sample size you would need if you want a 95% Confidence Interval, or a 90% Confidence Interval, and other related factors.
- Determining how you will conduct the survey based on the best way to reach your target sample to get them to complete the survey, the sample size you want, your organization’s budget and resources for conducting this survey, and other related factors.
Having a well planned out survey will ensure that your organization’s time and resources used to conduct the survey will be put to good use and that the survey results will provide valuable insight into what it is you were trying to find out through using a survey as a research method.
A few resources to get more information on planning a survey are:
- Best Practices for Survey Research. American Association for Public Opinion Research (AAPOR). https://www.aapor.org/Standards-Ethics/Best-Practices.aspx
- Hiring and Managing Survey Contractors. Harvard University. Program on Survey Research. https://psr.iq.harvard.edu/files/psr/files/HiringandManagingSurveyContractors_0.pdf
- A consulting agency that provides customized assistance with research, including conducting surveys, such as RILLIAN.