Thursday, March 05, 2009

Fixing Broken Surveys

I came to the realization today that about 90% of my survey clients engage me after the fact. What this means is that they have completed the survey, have the data and do not have the ability to analyze and interpret the meaning of the data that has been collected. In some cases the survey or design was flawed from the beginning and conclusions about a research hypothesis simply cannot be made appropriately.

I've had some success breaking surveys into two groups and then providing analysis. In other cases we have had to augment a survey with further sampling in order to get meaningful results.

This fall I worked with a PhD candidate on her dissertation research. We were able to salvage the work that had been done, but the thinking up front could have been better.

If at all possible get someone to review a research design prior to execution. Even if you do not get someone to review it BETA test the instrument and the analysis to make sure you can analyze the results successfully and that it is meaningful toward your hypothesis. BETA testing sounds like something simple enough but it is almost always overlooked.
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