1. Not Getting a Big Enough Sample
To draw accurate conclusions from your research, you need a statistically significant sample – that is, a large enough group that the results represent the views of your target population as a whole and can’t be put down to coincidence. Learn how using a panel can help you find qualified survey respondents.
2. Last-Minute Changes Wrecking Your Logic
It’s difficult to avoid last-minute changes to your research. In fact, being able to adapt and make changes right up to the deployment date is a real benefit to managing your projects in-house. But too often, those changes aren’t accompanied by the vital step of re-testing the survey and as a result, survey logic can break and affect your data.
3. Question and Scale Errors in the Research
It might sound basic, but designing the question set and measurement scales is the foundation of good data in your research. So make sure you follow best practice for writing survey questions like avoiding leading questions and choosing the correct question types.
When it comes to measurements and scales, there’s a right type for each question and getting it wrong can invalidate your results. So make sure the scale is appropriate to the output you’re looking for – for example, if you’re measuring NPS, you’ll need a scale of 0-10 – and ensure you’re avoiding order bias on multiple choice questions by randomly rotating the answers.
Want a head start on Net Promoter Score surveys? Download our free NPS survey template.
4. Surveys That Are Just Way Too Long
You’re going out to your panel with a survey – so you might as well take the opportunity to gather a few more insights, right? Not really – adding in lots of ‘nice to have’ questions or trying to combine two projects into one can make for a very long survey. That brings plenty of problems, most of all a likely drop in response rates as respondents become fatigued and drop out before completing your survey.
The end result is a very costly project as you have to recruit more panelists to make up for the drop-off in responses. Poor research ensues as tired or disengaged respondents don’t make for high-quality responses. 15 minutes is typically the upper limit before you start to see a spike in respondents dropping off mid-way through a survey.
5. Making the Results Too Difficult to Understand
The success of any research project can be measured by how it impacts the organization – but all too often, results are discarded or studies ignored because others in the organization don’t understand them.
Make sure you present the data to the organization in a way that drives action – show your stakeholders exactly what the data is telling them and how it’s useful to them. It’s a good idea to provide examples and model the impact of any changes you put in place based on your findings. For example, if you run product testing research and find consumers in your target group would prefer feature X over feature Y, try to translate this into the impact on sales to really show the value of the research to your key stakeholders.
There’s a lot more to good research, but following the tips in these five guidelines will help you avoid those easy-to-make rookie errors.