Research is an essential aspect of starting and maintaining a business. It’s used for everything from distinguishing a target market to ensuring its employees are happy at work. One of the hardest parts about conducting research is determining which method is best. For example, there are several different methods of research to choose from including experiments, case studies, correlation, interviews and lastly, surveys and questionnaires. Unfortunately, not all methods of research are the best for every situation.
Online surveys and questionnaires are one of the most popular methods of research and for several reasons. If you’re considering going down this road, it’s important to determine if surveys are the most appropriate method of research for you first.
Topics That Use Surveys as an Appropriate Method of Research
Although online surveys have multiple uses aside from conducting research, there are a few niches that regularly use them to collect insight. One of the first ways to determine if an online survey is the right method of research for you is if you want to gain insights into one of the following topics:
One of the most common uses of online surveys, market research, is a crucial step to launching a successful business, maintaining that success or determining the success of a new product. Companies use market research to understand their audience’s needs and preferences in order to make important business decisions.
On the other side of the business, companies use online surveys to better understand their employees. An employee satisfaction survey provides the necessary insight to improve workplace satisfaction and retention rates.
Although an employee satisfaction survey can help improve the workplace, this doesn’t mean every employee will stick around for life. When it comes time to part ways with an employee, an exit interview survey will identify reasons why the employee left and draw insight into which improvements the company should make to prevent others from leaving.
Employee retention is crucial and so is customer retention. It’s much easier to nurture customers to become repeat buyers than it is to find brand new customers. With a customer satisfaction survey, companies can find out what it takes to keep their customers happy and coming back for more.
Are people aware your brand exists? Use a brand awareness survey to find out what others think of your brand and how it compares to others in your industry. This insight helps companies stay ahead of competitors and enhance brand awareness.
How well did that event go? Using an event evaluation survey gives event planners insight into which aspects of their event went well and what they need to do to make future events better.
If you want to research any of the listed topics, a survey is a smart place to start. There are also several other reasons why a survey might be the most appropriate method of research for you.
Surveys are an Appropriate Method of Research if You Want to:
Collect Quantitative Data
The purpose of a survey is to understand a large group by using statistics to make generalizations. Quantitative data is a value of data to answer questions that ask “how.” For example, the main questions your survey will answer relate to “how often,” “how many?” or “how much?” Each set of questions will have a numerical value associated with it to draw generalizations. For example, 60% of survey respondents reported they would buy a product from your company again in the future. If you have questions that ask “how” you want answers to, a survey can help you collect the data needed.
Understand a Larger Population
Surveys are also the most appropriate method of research when you want to understand a large population at once. Not only is it most convenient to send a large group an online survey, but it provides more accurate results than if you were to send a survey to a smaller population. The larger a population you sample, the less likely you will run into outliers that can draw bias conclusions. The smaller your sample size, the larger the margin of error you can potentially encounter. Conducting survey research is only effective for drawing conclusions for large populations.
Draw Insight From a Specific Group
Just like selling a product, you need to know exactly who your target market is. If you aren’t directing your survey to your target audience, your questions won’t relate to them and you won’t end up with the insight you need. Surveys are an appropriate method of research if you want to draw insight from a specific group of your target audience.
Before creating the survey, make a list of demographic requirements your survey respondents need to meet. If you want to understand similar questions to different demographics, you can create your survey using question branching to put your survey respondents down their correct path of questions. For example, if you want to collect your results based on gender, the first question you can ask in your survey can ask about the respondent’s age group. Based on how the respondent answers can determine their next set of questions and so on and so forth.
Draw Generalized Conclusions Fast
If there’s a burning question you need answered quickly, there’s no time to make phone calls or arrange for an in-person focus group. Online surveys are the most appropriate method of research to collect data to draw conclusions fast. As long as you have a clear goal for the survey and know exactly how you will analyze the data, the survey will provide you with the answers you need in record time. Sending a short survey can prevent you from second-guessing your choice and can help you feel more confident in a business decision.
Ask Little to No Open-Ended Questions
If you aren’t looking for answers to open-ended questions, a survey is the most appropriate method of research. The more open-ended questions a survey contains, the less likely respondents will complete it. Plus, it also takes more time to analyze results. If you must ask any open-ended questions, consider capping it at two to three at most. Although open-ended questions are a good way to gather additional insight into a particular topic, they’re more cumbersome for participants to answer. Instead, consider asking more specific multiple-choice questions to find out the answers without forcing participants to think as much.
Make Your Audience Feel Special
Not only are online surveys a good research method for collecting market insight, but they also provide a great opportunity to make your audience feel special. When a company reaches out to a customer and specifically indicates why they want this person’s opinion, it will make them feel special. When customers feel like they have a voice and that their voice makes an actual impact, they will feel more inclined to fill out future surveys. When sending the survey to your audience, make sure to include a snippet about how you will use their responses. This small tip can help engage your audience and increase the number of responses.
The last reason a survey might be the most appropriate method or research is if you’re working within a tight budget. With an online survey platform like SurveyPlanet, you can create and send an unlimited number of surveys entirely for free! This means you don’t have to pay anything to collect insight. Even if you decide to upgrade to a pro account for additional features, it’s still more cost-effective to send an online survey for research compared to conducting in-person focus groups or experiments.
If you’re searching for a cost-efficient, fast and effective way to complete research, an online survey is the perfect research method. Sign up for an account with SurveyPlanet today to create your first online survey.