How to do a good survey

Knowing the needs of the clients, in the current times, is the key to success in business. It is important for everyone, from news media, political parties, business organisations, government agencies to know what is going on in the minds of the people. Not only this, there is a need to explore within the organisation, agency or association to know about perception of employees. The best way in which all this information can be found is by the means of a survey.

Knowing the importance and need of survey research in the present times, certain key points have to be kept in mind. The first point to be understood is:

  1. Establishing Goals:  The primary point in survey is to first decide the goal of the survey as in what in intended to be learnt from it. This set of goals will help to determine to target audience/ set of respondents for the survey and what is to be asked from them/ if the goals do not have clarity the results also would not have clarity. The more precise the goals are the more usable the answers given by the respondents become.
  2. Sample selection:  who has to be interviewed or who is the target respondent. This is determined by two main components. The first one decides what kind of people to interview. In the language of research this is often called the target population.  Not in all cases is the target population very obvious. If the survey is to be conducted with an organisation or defined boundaries the population becomes very predictable but in the case of a general population, consumer, customer based survey it is very difficult to do that. Hence , correct determination of target population is critical to help in meeting goals more successfully.
  3. Sample size:  the next important thing to decide is the number of respondents to be interviewed. The larger is the size of the sample, the more accurate the results will become. One tricky thing to remember here is that the rate improvement in precision goes down as the sample size is increased. There are various factors that must  be kept in mind while deciding the sample size. Factors such as available time, the budget allocated for the same and the target degree of precision desired from the research.  There are online sample size calculators available that help in deciding the sample size for a specific research with best results.

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