Online Surveys 101


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A quick how-to for survey research.

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  • 06/03/09 07:23
  • Online Surveys 101

    1. 1. Sam Ladner, PhD 2008 Online Surveys 101
    2. 2. What is survey research? Online surveys Telephone surveys Structured face-to-face interviews Asking structured questions
    3. 3. Surveys versus other qualitative methods When a you want to know… … you need <ul><li>What are users’ opinions of the site? </li></ul><ul><li>What is the demographic profile of our users? </li></ul><ul><li>What kinds of beliefs or attitudes do our users have about our… </li></ul><ul><ul><li>brand </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>customer service </li></ul></ul><ul><li>How can we be sure that design changes changed users opinions of the site? </li></ul>A survey How usable is our Web site? What do our users generally dislike about our Web site? What kinds of features should we include in our new Web site? Qualitative research method
    4. 4. Is a survey the right research method? <ul><li>I know a lot about the topic </li></ul><ul><li>I need to summarize the findings in numerical format </li></ul><ul><li>I don’t need a lot of detail and nuance </li></ul><ul><li>I need to generalize the results to the population </li></ul><ul><li>I need to predict the likelihood of a certain thing happening </li></ul><ul><li>I want to measure incremental change </li></ul><ul><li>I don’t really know much about the topic </li></ul><ul><li>I don’t need to summarize the findings in numerical format </li></ul><ul><li>I need to communicate a lot of detail and nuance </li></ul><ul><li>I’m interested in case study information </li></ul><ul><li>I’m not planning on predicting the likelihood of anything </li></ul><ul><li>I don’t need to measure any change </li></ul>Yes No
    5. 5. Is it time to do a survey? Yes No Discovered questions and answers through Qual research? Clear idea of all possible questions and answers? Yes No Formulated all questions and possible answers? Do a survey Do more Qual research Yes Pilot test the questions No
    6. 6. Asking good questions <ul><li>Mutually exclusive and exhaustive </li></ul><ul><ul><li>No overlap between answers </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>All possible answers </li></ul></ul><ul><li>No double-barreled questions </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Wrong: “What do you think about our response times and customer service?” </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Right: “What is your opinion of our response time?” </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Focus on opinions or beliefs of participants </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Wrong: “How usable is our Web site?” </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Right: “What are users’ opinions of the site’s look and feel?” </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Close-ended is best </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Cuts down on analysis time </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Demographic questions at the end </li></ul>
    7. 7. Sampling and its implications <ul><li>You can predict the likelihood of any single person being selected to participate </li></ul><ul><li>Has some randomized element to it </li></ul><ul><li>Allows for you to compare your findings to what you would expect with pure random events </li></ul><ul><li>Allows for prediction of accuracy </li></ul><ul><li>Allows for generalizing to the population at large </li></ul><ul><li>Can use inferential techniques </li></ul><ul><li>You cannot predict the likelihood of any person participating </li></ul><ul><li>Has no random element to it </li></ul><ul><li>Cannot be used to predict future likelihood of anything </li></ul><ul><li>Cannot be used to generalize to the population at large </li></ul><ul><li>Still provides some insight, particularly if you ask everyone in a group the same question </li></ul><ul><li>Does not allow to estimate the accuracy of the results </li></ul><ul><li>Cannot use inferential techniques </li></ul>Probability Sample Non-probability Sample
    8. 8. The lay of the land: descriptive statistics <ul><li>Summarizes the responses </li></ul><ul><li>What is the most “typical” response? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Mean </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Mode </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Median </li></ul></ul><ul><li>How much variation is there between responses? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Standard deviation </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Inter-quartile range </li></ul></ul>
    9. 9. Predicting behavior: inferential statistics <ul><li>Infers or predicts future behavior </li></ul><ul><li>Which respondents are more likely to… </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Cross-tabulation </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Which factors most influence </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Behavior </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Satisfaction </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>etc </li></ul></ul>
    10. 10. The tools you need Online Survey Tool Statistical Analysis Software
    11. 11. The skills you need <ul><li>Knowledge of the topic </li></ul><ul><li>Ability to write good questions </li></ul><ul><li>Familiarity with the survey tool </li></ul><ul><li>Some basic knowledge of statistics </li></ul><ul><li>A framework for writing the report </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Important to write the outline of the final report before you start! </li></ul></ul>
    12. 12. The payoff you’ll get <ul><li>“ More men are dissatisfied with the checkout process.” </li></ul><ul><li>“ Younger users are much more unhappy with customer service that older users.” </li></ul><ul><li>“ Higher-income individuals are the most unlikely to recommend this site to friends and family.” </li></ul>
    13. 13. What you won’t learn… <ul><li>Why aren’t people coming to our site? </li></ul><ul><li>How can we innovate on our current design? </li></ul><ul><li>Why don’t people finish the checkout process? </li></ul><ul><li>What are the main characteristics of the people who don’t come to our site? </li></ul>