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Survey Design & Data Quality in a Mobile World

I recently attended the 2016 Cleveland American Marketing Association Conference and it did not disappoint. Like last year, there were a variety of speakers from different areas of the market research industry, each covering relevant and interesting topics. The first speaker, Bob Graff, Director of Cincinnati-based research firm MarketVision, caught my attention with his discussion of best practices and considerations surrounding mobile survey design.

Today, there are as many channels through which to launch a survey as there are reasons to execute one. And while the world has gone mobile in recent years, so has survey design and execution. This requires researchers to carefully consider their survey design in order to maximize sample representation and survey completion, as well as the quality and integrity of the data collected.

Why should you care? Graff cited research that found smartphone users are more likely to be young, affluent and highly educated. However, while mobile surveys have the potential of reaching a large population, it’s important not to abandon those who still primarily use a desktop or laptop computer; otherwise, a researcher runs the risk of skewing their survey data from exclusively targeting mobile users.

Furthermore, Graff noted the importance of considering how many different digital devices we use throughout the day - from smartphones, to desktops, to tablets. It’s critical that a digital survey is designed to render across various device types. By using a poorly designed mobile-only approach, a researcher could miss out on a lot of good information and could even potentially bias their data from the lack of a multi-channel approach.

To exemplify why the quality of the data we collect is important, Bob shared a funny, yet concerning example of how he was recently able to successfully track health and fitness data after affixing his FitBit to his dog. Fitness data and statistics were tracked, from a canine. Without issue.

Since day one as a researcher at Point To Point, my team and I always ensure we craft digital surveys with these considerations in mind. Aside from carefully developing survey questions to best address our client’s research goals, the digital considerations we take into account include:

  • Responsive design - to ensure surveys render appropriately across various devices
  • Buttonizing response areas - to provide answer options that are easily selectable
  • Appropriate response banks - to ensure the answer options available match what the question is asking

With both the audience and client goals in mind throughout the design of a survey and by using a multi-mode execution approach with digital best practices, my team and I are able to deliver concise and insightful results, every time.

Topics: General