Demographics are characteristics of a population. Characteristics such as race, ethnicity, gender, age, education, profession, occupation, income level, and marital status, are all typical examples of demographics that are used in surveys.
When designing a survey, the research needs to assess who to survey and how to breakdown overall survey response data into meaningful groups of respondents. Both assessments are based on demographic considerations.
Who to Survey
Deciding who to survey is based on the main topic of the survey itself. For example, when designing a customer satisfaction survey for a luxury country club, the survey researcher may determine that only summer guests will be surveyed. Or, perhaps the researcher would like to narrow the focus and surveys only those guests who use the health club or golf facilities. These examples display clear-cut decisions that determine exactly who will receive the survey.
Once the survey data is collected, the data can be divided into various data groups based on demographic information gathered from the survey. Once again, using the same customer satisfaction survey for a luxury country club, the researcher can group the responses from an individual guest with others who used the health club, the golf facilities, or both. The researcher can also create data analysis in the form of cross tabulations to compare survey data across multiple demographics. When planning and developing the survey, it may also be important to know if the respondent is a first time guest, repeat guest, or a regular member of the country club. Other useful demographic questions for this study may include: age, gender, golf experience, and the number of times the guest has visited the club. Each of these demographic questions – services used; first time guest, repeat guest, or member; age; gender; golf experience; and number of visits – can all be included as demographic questions in the customer satisfaction survey.
Collect Meaningful Data
Given the opportunity to collect meaningful data from guests, it may be tempting to ask many demographic questions. However, asking too many questions can backfire. Some respondents may become concerned or aggravated by having to answer a large number of demographic questions. Additionally, they may feel that they will compromise their confidentiality, and others may perceive the questions as an invasion of privacy. Thoroughly review all survey questions during the design process. Decide which guest demographics are the most critical to your study. Choosing the proper demographic questions will truly give you actionable and meaningful results to assist in making better business decisions.