If you are in the Greater Cincinnati, Northern Kentucky area, we are holding a seminar this Thursday at 12 noon on “Successful Polls, Surveys and Questionnaires”. Registration is required and seating is limited. If you’re interested email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The first known straw poll was conducted by The Harrisburg Pennsylvanian in 1824 and showed Andrew Jackson leading John Quincy Adams by 166 votes. That began the process of polling.
The first national survey was conducted in 1916 by the Literary Digest and it correctly predicted Woodrow Wilson’s election as President. Then along came George Gallup, who developed a more scientifically based survey that predicted Roosevelt’s landslide victory.
By the 1950’s various types of polling had become commonplace, but had also begun to be looked at as biased and unscientific due to the selection process. However, finding out your target’s thoughts, ideas and opinions is still relevant today and can provide valuable information. Many organizations regularly conduct polls and surveys to elicit that information. It’s just important to make sure that the information you receive is valid.
A poll is a one-question quick survey usually conducted with a larger audience. The response category is typically pre-defined (closed-ended) and results in quantitative data.
A survey is the most commonly used tool in sociological, psychological and market research and can contain as few as 1-2 questions or as many as 100 questions. A survey asks specific questions, but then sophisticated analysis can be used to find patterns and relationships among the variables. The questions are usually open-ended.
A questionnaire typically contains closed-ended questions. Due to the closed-ended questions, the standardized answers make it easy to compile results without sophisticated analysis.
Polls, surveys and questionnaires are not the only way to gather information. You can also conduct focus groups and panels, as they are also a great way to gain valuable insight and data.
Of course, the questions that you ask are extremely important. They need to be simple, direct and easily understood. You want to avoid nuances and be sure to offer a reasonable and consistent number of rankings. Avoid negative phrasing, stereotyping, emotionally loaded language, technical terms, jargons and acronyms.
This blog is just the tip of the iceberg as far as the types of questions to ask, bias, sampling, random selection, expected response rates and methods you can use to increase those response rates. But, hopefully you will find it a starting point for your own research on how to conduct successful polls, surveys and questionnaires for your organization. www.multi-craft.com.