Whether you’re in marketing, advertising, or public relations, chances are you commission research to gain accurate intelligence that will help you make the best decisions for your company or your clients. Since, even in its simplest form, survey research is a detailed process requiring technical expertise coupled with informed command of, and hands-on access to, the tools of the trade, a knowledgeable survey consultant plays a crucial role in helping you get what you need.
Research that misses the mark on your objectives can result in missed business opportunities, and research that is inaccurate can lead to destructive business decisions and misdirected resources. Another requirement is a level of speed and cost-effectiveness that doesn’t compromise quality and reliability when research objectives are being converted into actionable information. This is especially important with online omnibus research, which can generally be done with less time and cost than custom research projects.
Effective survey research design and execution requires specialized skill and knowledge of a number of processes. An experienced survey consultant should have full command of each of the following and be able to confidently guide you through the particulars:
- Questionnaire design: Writing an effective questionnaire calls for the ability to translate business issues into a succinct set of questions that lets respondents cleanly and comfortably answer without creating bias. It matters that the survey has a logical flow, that question text and instructions are clear, and that the set of responses in each question align with the question text and provide all reasonable possibilities for response.
- Sample design: It’s important to understand where the sample for a survey comes from, that a sufficient amount is drawn, and that there’s enough representation in key groups to ensure that the required number and balance of completed interviews will result. It’s also important to be able to act when conditions aren’t optimal.
- Field: Key components of survey fielding that require special tools and expertise include: being able to verify quickly that a survey is going into the field correctly, with no content or programming errors; monitoring progress in field to be sure that completes are coming in sufficient numbers and balance in order to conclude on time, and understanding how to make adjustments on the fly if needed while the survey is in field.
- Deliverable design: Being able to organize the results into useful form is central to successful research. A knowledgeable survey consultant can design data deliverables that efficiently address the objectives of the research, and make sure all data are properly weighted, present and in place. Data tables should have correct analysis points, netted information and rank-ordering so the client can make the most effective use of the results. Data files should include all needed variables – including demographics and weighting – in a well-organized fashion. Analyses should be complete and concise, and provide insights that enhance the client’s understanding of their research objectives.
When you engage the services of a well-run online omnibus survey company, you’ll benefit from working with a survey consultant who can organize the entire research process in a logical and comfortable way. This will result in valuable and reliable results delivered in a manner and form which will allow you to make well-informed, timely decisions without breaking your budget.