Overall, more-effective formatting and numerical conversion make a significant impact on the usefulness of a table. The general guidelines in Table 12.7 will help you create more effective tables.
In an online format, you can send the survey link to anyone in your contact list, including colleagues and customers. In other words, such software gives you greater access to survey respondents than was possible as recently as a few years ago. Furthermore, many companies specialize in helping you gain access to millions of potential respondents (called an online panel). When you conduct marketing or consumer research, these companies can help you get a large sample size for nearly any demographic of interest.
Source: Reprinted with permission of Survey Monkey, www.surveymonkey.com.
Another benefit of using online surveys is that the data is immediately dumped into a database or spreadsheet in a form you can quickly analyze. Some online survey software even provides immediate reports that include summary and crosstab statistics (although you’ll often want to manipulate the data yourself to dig deeper and get answers to particular questions).
As you use online survey software, keep in mind the following tips:
Apply the same careful and thorough standards you would to any form of business research. The ease of creating online surveys often leads business professionals to use them carelessly, not putting enough time into designing the survey questions.
Avoid overusing online surveys. Again, because of the ease of administering online surveys, employees in many organizations are bombarded with surveys. As a result, employees often suffer respondent fatigue and respond to surveys less carefully. The results of the survey are only as good as the careful input of your respondents.
In most cases, primary research is ideal. You can carefully tailor it to your specific business problems. Primary research, however, takes a lot of time and money. Even with sufficient resources, your organization may lack access to certain types of data. Generally, a far less-expensive approach is secondary research. One advantage of nearly all secondary research is that someone else already spent the time to conduct and write it up.