Congratulations on finishing your survey with SurveyPlanet. Now that you’ve gathered the responses, it’s time to analyze them. Whether it’s been a few weeks or a few months since you last revisited the survey, it’s always a good idea to refresh your memory of your survey’s goals and purpose. Look for the most valuable result you are trying to find the answer to and keep this in the back of your mind as you analyze. If you come across relevant data, you will recognize it much sooner.
To start analyzing your survey, click on the export results button to export your survey results into your favorite format like Excel. SurveyPlanet Pro offers several other export options as well if you would prefer to view them as a pdf, word file or something else. These 5 survey data analysis tips will help you glean better insights from your survey.
1. Review Top Research Questions
The first step to survey data analysis is reviewing the top research questions. This step allows you to calculate results from what you deem as your top questions.
Let’s say you gave a survey to people who attended a recent charity event. One of your top questions might be, “Would you attend this event next year?” Take a look at your top questions to see how respondents answered. Your results will show both percentages as well as raw numbers. The raw numbers are the actual amount of people who answered a certain way, while the percentages reveal the percentage of people who responded that way. Looking at both the raw numbers as well as the percentages is an easy way to see an overview of your top questions.
Once you gather the basic results, you can then analyze them further to find correlations, trends and other comparisons.
2. Use Cross-Tabulation and Filtering
Think back to the goal you set for your survey. To assess this goal, analyze different subgroups and compare them to derive conclusions. For example, let’s say you want your survey about the charity event to compare responses from the various job professions of people who attended the event. Use cross-tabulation to see how doctors, lawyers and nurses responded differently to the question.
Cross tabulation gives you insight into how subgroups answer certain questions. It can also help you draw insights from your survey by adding context to the numbers, like how different subgroups behave or how different factors influence the outcome.
With this method of survey data analysis, you can begin to learn more about different subgroups. Once you gather enough information from cross-tabulation, you can then start to look for why subgroups answer a certain way and how you can make improvements with this data.
In addition to cross-tabulation, using a filter is also useful for narrowing down your data into subgroups. Filtering allows you to view one subgroup’s results and eliminate other groups. You can also combine cross-tabulation and filtering to compare and contrast different subgroups to each other. Remember, your sample size changes each time you add or subtract a group from your filter. Keep this in mind when drawing conclusions.
3. Look for Trending, Benchmarking and Comparative Data
Once you’ve evaluated the overall results of your top questions and used filtering and cross-tabulation to evaluate individual groups, it’s time to dive deeper. One way you will want to evaluate your survey data is by comparing it to past surveys. This will allow you to see if this year did better or worse, if there are any trends and how any changes you made this year changed your results from previous years.
Going back to our charity event example, if you ran a similar survey last year or years prior, start by comparing past answers to your current ones. Your results will show you how satisfaction has changed over the years. Perhaps your satisfaction level increased 30 percent since last year, but people were 10 percent less satisfied with the dinner this year than two years ago.
Comparing past surveys to current surveys will give you an idea of occurring trends. For example, perhaps doctors show a higher satisfaction every year for your charity event, but lawyers are showing a decrease. Recognizing trends can help you pinpoint the problem and use this information to make future improvements. You can also compare subgroup data to past years to see subgroup trends and benchmarks.
If you don’t have any prior surveys to compare your results to, it’s important to start collecting feedback for all future events. This year’s survey will be your benchmark, or your starting point or baseline. You will then compare all future surveys against your benchmark survey to look for improvements. Collecting this type of data for years to come gives you longitudinal data analysis. Establishing a benchmark gives you a way to make sense of data and work out what different percentages actually mean.
4. Look for Statistical Significance
Your next tip for survey data analysis is to look for statistical significance. This is where you determine if you can trust the answers from your survey to confidently make future decisions. Looking at the quality of your data will let you know if you can rely on it for statistical significance.
First, determine whether your audience reflects the overall population of people you want to draw conclusions about. Do they represent the population as a whole, or are they different than your ideal population? For example, if you want to draw conclusions about men because they made up 90% of the event, but only 10% of the survey respondents were male, you might not feel confident to draw conclusions from this small sample size.
When the sample size is too small, it can lead to a margin of error – meaning the results won’t carry much weight. When there’s a margin of error, you probably don’t want to use this data to inform future decisions.
Second, if you ask your survey respondents questions with number answers, you can use their answers to determine the average, median and mode. For example, let’s say one of your survey questions was, “how much did you donate?”
The average is the total number divided by the number of responses to give you the average amount donated by each participant.
The median gives you the exact middle point. When you lay the answers out in numerical order, the median is the number in the middle.
The mode, on the other hand, shows you the most frequent response. This will show you the number that respondents gave most often. For example, perhaps the majority of respondents donated $10.
Using these different calculations can help you find statistical significance in your respondent’s answers. You can then use this information to make confident decisions for improvements or other changes.
5. Review Open Text Responses to Learn More
If your survey included open text responses in addition to multiple-choice, it’s important to review these manually so you can compare them with other responses. Open text responses will give you more insight as to why certain subgroups answered a certain way. When drawing conclusions, make sure to keep track of similar answers within each subgroup. This will help you back up your claims and gain more in-depth insight into each question and answer.
Open text responses are the best way to determine the correlation and causation of your other answers. Causation is when one factor causes a direct change in another factor, while correlation is when two variables are different and move at the same time. It’s important to note that just because two variables move at the same time, it doesn’t mean they correlate with each other.
For example, in the winter, heaters, blankets and warm beverages increase in sales. Since winter products are variable dependent on the season, they correlate with each other. This example is not causation because winter products do not cause winter.
Look through your open text responses to find correlations and causations with your other answers to draw conclusions.
Create Your Own Survey
Now that you know how to complete survey data analysis with our 5 tips, why not create your own survey to start drawing your own conclusions? Sign up for a SurveyPlanet account to gain access to dozens of pre-made questions, beautiful survey themes and unlimited surveys and responses. Upgrade to a Pro account to get your hands on survey result export tools, question branching and lots of other unique tools to enhance your survey creation and analysis experience.