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Market research basics – getting your surveys right

2 min read
Find out how to craft a questionnaire that will help you collect high-quality data.

What can you use a survey for?

Surveys, that is, questionnaires that are used as data collection tools for surveying, are extremely powerful and versatile tools. They have been around for decades, and with good reason – they are simple to produce, and can be completed by anyone who speaks the language the survey is written in. Better still, they can gather data in consistent formats from large panels of respondents.

You can use a survey for almost anything that involves people’s opinions. Customer satisfaction, employee feedback, product testing and competitor research are all suitable applications. Market research and surveys often go hand in hand.

Getting your sampling right

Whatever the project, a survey is always used to take a snapshot of data from a given population at a given point in time. It uses a representative sample of voices from that population to get a true reflection of the whole group.

To get this right, you will need to make sure the sample is the right size, and that the group you’re surveying is representative of the population you are interested in.

Online surveys

Collecting data via the internet has long since overtaken the old paper and pencil method (although that still has its place, particularly among respondents who aren’t online). Using a digital survey is convenient for both you and your respondents to use. As a researcher, it also gives you the benefit of being able to revise and adapt your surveys over time, to stay in touch with panels and send reminders, and to screen out potential bias in face-to-face research.

Structuring your market research survey

When you’re building out your survey flow, put yourself in the shoes of your respondent. Keep the order of the questions logical, and make the journey from start to finish as smooth as possible.

Try using a funnel approach, where you begin with broad questions that are general in scope, then focus in on more detailed items, and conclude with easy-to-answer demographic questions.

Read more on writing good survey questions

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