While surveys vary widely in how they are conducted and used, there are a number of components that are common across nearly all surveys. Many of these common features have been studied in extensive detail by survey methodologists, psychologists, statisticians, and many other fields of research. The general process of survey research is outlined in the figure below.

It’s never a good idea to write false information on your paid survey account or sign up for paid surveys that don’t match your characteristics. For example, if a paid survey is looking for a NASA aerospace engineer who is also a competitive food eater and has won the tour de France twice it isn’t a smart idea to claim to match those parameter (unless you really do). Paid survey companies often share information and if you have taken paid surveys for another company under the pretenses that you are a newly graduated software developer in Brighton, chances are that they will notice the discrepancies and you might be penalised for it. There have been a few cases of people having their paid survey account banned and all their hard earned money revoked for providing false information on a paid survey. It’s also not a good idea to register two email accounts for taking paid surveys because many paid survey panels frown upon this sort of behavior and may even ban you from taking their paid surveys.
What’s more, it’s time to get those list-making muscles in working order. Without face-to-face communication, it’s easy to let things slip through the cracks, so you’ll need to find ways to be as organized as possible. You might find that you like to write things down in a notebook, or perhaps you prefer calendar notifications. Find what works best for you to keep you organized and on task.
Kwik Surveys lets you fully export your results in multiple file types, meaning you can analyze your results in Excel or statistics software of choice. Why does this matter? Instead of just seeing your overall results, you can manipulate the data and get useful insights by testing for significance or putting related questions together in crosstabs. Kwik Surveys will clear your data after six months, so exporting is key if you want to keep a record of the surveys you’ve already run.
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Perhaps the most important part of the survey process is the creation of questions that accurately measure the opinions, experiences and behaviors of the public. Accurate random sampling and high response rates will be wasted if the information gathered is built on a shaky foundation of ambiguous or biased questions. Creating good measures involves both writing good questions and organizing them to form the questionnaire.

Design and pre-test questionnaires: Designing the questionnaire carefully and then pre-testing it before fielding it to your entire sample is crucial to getting data that are valid and reliable. For example, careful questionnaire design and pre-testing can help reduce the chance that respondents may interpret the meaning of questions differently. Future posts in this series will tackle these important steps in much greater detail.