DEFINING YOUR SURVEY RESPONDENTS: BEST PRACTICES

One of the most important steps in launching a market research survey is determining who should actually complete the survey – what demographic, psychographic and behavioral characteristics should the respondents possess? Ensuring that you are reaching the correct respondents will generate data that is useful, insightful, and most importantly, actionable. However, defining your audience too narrowly, or just plain incorrectly, could limit the power of your data.



Interested in more of Lab42’s Research Best Practices?

2016 Presidential Election: The Home Stretch

Summer is almost over, the National Conventions have come to a close, and it’s less than three months until we choose our next President. With all the drama surrounding the election, the team at Lab42 conducted a third wave of political research (Wave 1 – September 2015; Wave 2 – April 2016) to identify trends in voters’ perceptions and opinions of the election and the candidates.

As we analyzed the results from this latest research, there were several data points and trends that struck us as interesting. For example, while the Top 5 issues for voters stayed the same through all three waves of research, there were fluctuations in the order of importance across the waves. While Jobs & the US Economy and Healthcare remained as the top 2 issues throughout all waves, National Security gained 2 spots (from 5th to 3rd) from September 2015 to July 2016. Taxes and Education remained in the 3rd and 4th spot from September to April, but Education then dipped to the 5th most important issue in July (while Taxes remained in the 4th position in July).

When we asked the respondents for their top choice for president, 43% chose Hillary Clinton and 34% chose Donald Trump, while 23% selected a third party candidate or were undecided. Interestingly, there are a large percentage of voters who are choosing sides – not because they support their candidate – but rather as a vote against the other candidate. 40% of Clinton supporters and 39% of Trump supporters say their motivation is to vote against the other candidate.

electionround3_Final_StandardRes

While Clinton does hold a slight lead over Trump in the 18-24 year-old age group (31% Clinton / 26% Trump), 43% of respondents in this age group reported that they would vote for a 3rd party candidate or were undecided. Trump has majority support (55% vs. 27% Clinton) among respondents older than sixty-five years old. However, at this point, only 60% of voters are locked into their Presidential candidate. 

As the election cycle progressed and the candidate field narrowed, we also noticed that both Democrats and Republicans were significantly less willing to vote across party aisles (as of July 22% of Republicans would vote for a Republican and 19% of Democrats would vote for a Democrat). Comparatively in September, 47% of Republicans were willing to vote for a Democrat, and 65% of Democrats were willing to vote for a Republican.

In addition to being split about the presidential candidates, respondents were also split when it came to selecting their preferred campaign slogan, with 52% selecting Trump’s “Make America Great Again” and 48% choosing Clinton’s “Stronger Together” slogan.

Check out the infographic to see how voters’ feelings have changed over the past 9 months, and also check out our previous waves of political research (Wave 1 – September 2015; Wave 2 – April 2016).

QUESTIONNAIRE DEVELOPMENT BEST PRACTICES

surveywritingThe quality of the data you collect through quantitative research directly reflects the quality of your questionnaire. Investing the appropriate time to construct a well-designed, effective survey will ensure that you can confidently count on your data to make sound business decisions.  However, if you do not invest time and thought in drafting your survey, regardless of the number of respondents, your data may not be reliable.

Below are some guidelines to help you construct a well-designed survey:

  1. DEFINE THE STUDY GOALS/OBJECTIVES AND STICK WITH THEM

    1. What are you trying to answer with this survey?
    2. Clearly articulate 2-4 broad objectives the survey should address, and use them to guide you as you develop specific questions.
  2. DEFINE YOUR AUDIENCE

    1. Who should be answering the survey and providing data?
      1. To determine your survey’s audience, consider your study objectives, category, product, advertising and behaviors you are interested in learning about.
      2. Similarly, consider the population of respondents you are looking to target for your survey – what demographic and behavioral profiles do they need to meet? As a note: narrower, more targeted audiences can result in higher respondent cost and longer field time.
  3. CONSTRUCT THE SURVEY

    1. When writing each question, be mindful of the survey length, consider how its data will be used and and if it will contribute to your research objectives.
      1. A good exercise is to draft the survey with all possible questions and trim the survey down to 20-25 questions that best address your goals.
    2. Two elements to think about while constructing your questions:
      1. Types of questions to include: There are many ways to ask any question, and different ways can provide you with different results. Choose the most appropriate structure based on the objective of that question. The two most widely used types of questions are:
        1. Closed-end questions:
          1. These questions provide participants with answer options or scales for their responses. There are several types of close-ended questions — multiple response, single response, scales, ranking, etc. — and each provides different results, and supports different objectives.
        2. Open-end questions:
          1. Respondents type in their own words to respond to a question. This is often used to avoid exposing respondents to options that might guide their responses.
      2. Question bias: Ensure that the way you phrase your questions does not inadvertently guide respondents’ answers. For example, asking respondents to give their opinion on a product and providing them only a list of positive attributes will result in a falsely-positive assessment of the product. Similarly, using a scale that is unbalanced, leaning either positive or negative, will result in data that does not represent how consumers really feel.
  4. CONSTRUCT THE SURVEY FLOW

    1. The survey flow is as important as the questions themselves. As a rule of thumb:
      1. Separate your survey into different sections, with each section addressing a specific topic. This provides a flow that is easier for respondents to follow and understand.
      2. Start broad and then narrow: ask broad opinion questions – such as overall satisfaction or overall opinion – at the beginning of the survey to get respondents’ true top-of-mind reactions before they are exposed to more specific questions and options that might influence their later responses.

Writing a quality, unbiased survey is one of the most important steps in gathering useful data. It’s OK to ask for help or leave the survey writing to the experts. At Lab42, we are skilled in all aspects of survey writing and can provide consultation on a survey you already have or construct your survey from scratch. Just remember a well written, neutral survey will provide your business with the highest quality data and allow you to make the most informed business decisions.


ADDITIONAL ANALYTICS BY LAB42

Your data is only as good as the quality of your analysis. Lab42 provides additional analytics to help you gain more valuable insights from your data and make sound business decisions. These additional analytics are designed to help you at different stages in the product lifecycle – from product development to tracking performance in market.

Lab4 specializes in the following analysis techniques:

  1. TURF Analysis
  2. Van Westendorp Price Sensitivity
  3. Derived Importance / Quadrant Maps
  4. Factor / Regression Analysis

TURF ANALYSIS

What it is: The TURF Analysis is a technique that allows us to assess the ideal number of product attributes which will attract the most unique (unduplicated) customers. Continue reading this post…

2016 PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION: THE COUNTDOWN CONTINUES

With only six months remaining until the United States elects its next President, we have already seen one of the most drama filled election cycles in recent history. In the six months since our last research, the list of candidates has slimmed to five from the original nineteen, and we are starting to see more consistency of voters’ viewpoints. Check out our infographic and results below.

electionround2_final_standard_res

Continue reading this post…