Throughout this series, we discuss the 12 most important questions you should ask yourself when assessing your company’s needs for a survey software solution. Our journey continues with post number 8 in our 12-part blog series: Find the Best Survey Software Solution.
Question 8: Do you want to develop paper surveys?
In this online world, paper surveys still find their place in the survey research industry. Paper surveys are the best mode of survey research when trying to reach an audience that doesn’t have easy access to the internet. Additionally, potential online survey responders are being bombarded daily with online survey opportunities when they access a web. Online surveys, especially pop-up surveys, are becoming more of a nuisance to users and may be less effective to certain online audiences. Paper surveys remain an alternative approach to these “over-surveyed” internet users.
Over the past 10 years, the survey research industry has certainly taken to online surveys, with a main reason being a low-cost solution. Yes, you can certainly generate some fantastic looking online surveys, but can you always rely on the accuracy of the results? You may receive 12,000 responses to your survey, but are those responses representative of the population you’re trying to research? With online surveys, the tendency is to use a shotgun approach – blast-out a survey over email or social media channels and hope for a good response rate. Professional researchers will be the first to tell you that online surveys don’t necessarily give you the best results, and may not provide the most accurate results. “Blasted” online surveys merely give you quick results. A follow-up survey(s) is still required if you want your targeted audience to complete your survey with the most precise and honest responses possible.
Paper surveys, however, do have their pitfalls. One of the problems with paper surveys is the need for coding. Paper surveys need to have their replies coded and entered into the computer before you can analyze the data and generate survey results. Many advanced survey software solutions have integrated scanning capabilities available in their software package. Scanning a paper survey can help ease the task of manual data entry. But, do be aware – it’s very much a case of developing your survey to suite the scanner, as few systems will scan surveys developed in other software programs such as with word processors.
Preparing paper surveys for data analysis can be very time consuming and labor intensive. There are a number of survey research agencies who provide the resources to conduct this work for you. These agencies will process and clean your data, and return it to you in a file usable for your internal system, ready for data analysis. Consult with survey software providers. Many of these software providers have an internal research team who you can take on your outsourced survey research work. Many can take on all aspects of survey research – from survey administration to data analysis.
Next blog post: Stay tuned for part 9 of this 12 part blog series. Finding the Best Survey Software Solution, Question 9: Do you want to develop mobile surveys?
Did you miss the first seven blog posts in the series?
Find the Best Survey Software Solution