How Does a Market Research Survey Project Work?

If you are new to market research, the survey process can seem a little complex. That’s why in many instances, the organized will triumph in marketing research.

If you are new to market research, the survey process can seem a little complex. Our online survey company outlines the 10-step process to follow for collecting high-quality data.

There are various moving parts that must work cohesively to collect high-quality data. It might even be worth adding a few essential steps in your project management for best results.

These additional steps will ensure you put the work in up-front to produce a better outcome in the end. For example, non-traditional survey project steps include project work plans, checklists, and soft launches to start fieldwork.

Many organizations fly by the seat of their pants due to the ease and availability of cheap online survey websites but following a more rigorous approach outlined below will pay dividends.

As the famous saying goes, Rome was not built in an hour on a free internet survey site. Or something like that.

online survey project - explaining the research process

Step 1. Contact a Market Research Partner

To gather the most quality results, it is always recommended to partner with a third-party market research company. For more details on our reasoning, bookmark and read In-house vs. Outsourced Market Research later.

As you contact different online survey companies, you will share different details about your study. It’s helpful to share things like your objectives, timeline, budget, audience type, and more.

Step 2. Receive a Market Research Proposal

Shortly after contacting different companies, you’ll begin to receive market research proposals. The size and components of a proposal can vary based on the vendor and project size.

For example, if you are looking to conduct a short survey with 50 customers, you’ll likely receive a one-page document.

Whereas, if you are interested in conducting an online survey with 1,500 customers, follow-up phone surveys, and a focus group – then your market research proposal will be much more detailed.

In both instances, the proposal will outline the recommended methodology, the approach, the timeline, and market research costs.

This document and previous conversations with different firms will ultimately lead you to decide who you will continue working with for your survey project.

Step 3. Kickoff Meeting

Once you’ve signed on the dotted line, a market research firm like Drive Research will schedule an official kickoff meeting. It typically lasts anywhere from a half-hour to an hour.

The meeting is a great chance for you to meet your project team and discuss more details of the study.

For instance, the project team will ask questions such as:

  • What do you want from the research?
  • How will it guide future decision-making for your company?
  • What outcomes or findings are you hoping to uncover?

Step 4. Draft a Workplan

A workplan is similar to an agenda. It highlights key tasks, deadlines, and responsible parties to assure everyone is on the same page. A project workplan is helpful in assuring the study is streamlined and executed on schedule.

Step 5. Survey Design

Based on the conversations discussed in the kickoff meeting, our online survey company begins to write the survey.

All our surveys are custom-written. We do not follow a one-size-fits-all or cookie-cutter approach to market research projects.

It is important to our team that the survey results answer your must-know questions to a tee.

Plus, after writing the survey, our clients receive a copy to edit, add comments, ask questions, and more. We do not move forward to the next step in the market research survey project process until both parties are 100% satisfied with the questions asked.

Step 6. Program and Test the Survey

Once the survey is reviewed and approved, Drive Research begins programming the questionnaire online. We also test the survey to confirm skip logic, termination logic, validation, and more.

In addition to our internal testing team, Drive Research sends our clients a testing link where they can complete and review the survey as if they were a respondent.

Again, we will not launch the survey until both parties are happy (which is hardly ever an issue).

Looking for some online survey programming tips? Watch this short video below.

Step 7. Launch the Survey

This step is broken into two parts: a soft launch and a full launch.

  • Soft Launch: Our online survey company first sends the questionnaire to a small percentage of respondents to identify and uncover any issues with early responders.
  • Full Launch: Upon analysis of early responders, our team launches the survey to the remaining sample. During this stage we also monitor and audit completes as they roll in using a quality checklist.

Step 8. Close Fieldwork

Here’s where the real fun begins. After closing the survey, our team begins cleaning the data to look for duplicate or illegitimate responses.

For example, if using an online panel, some respondents speed through the survey without providing accurate answers. They are really just taking the survey so they can earn an incentive for completing it.

Our team reviews time to complete the survey, IP addresses, and red herring questions to assure the data is 100% legitimate.

Step 9. Write a Market Research Report

After cleaning the data, Drive Research begins our analysis. Based on the package you purchased (topline), the report can include different components.

Oftentimes, our clients choose from various reporting components such as:

  • Executive summary
  • Results snapshot
  • Question-by-question results
  • Recommendations
  • Infographics (standard and animated)

Step 10. Host a Debrief Meeting

Our market research company adds a level of consultation to every online survey project. We don’t just send a market research report and leave you to analyze the results.

One of our favorite parts of a project is the debrief meeting where our team walks through the report page-by-page to discuss the findings and offer our expert recommendations for how to use the results.

Complete a Survey Project with Drive Research

Drive Research is a national market research survey company located in Syracuse NY. We offer end-to-end project management services to assure all steps of a survey project are executed perfectly.

We offer services such as survey design, programming, fielding, reporting, and more.

Questions or need advice on an upcoming online survey, phone survey, or market research project?

  1. Message us on our website
  2. Email us at [email protected]
  3. Call us at 888-725-DATA
  4. Text us at 315-303-2040

Author Bio George Kuhn

George Kuhn

George is the Owner & President of Drive Research. He has consulted for hundreds of regional, national, and global organizations over the past 15 years. He is a CX certified VoC professional with a focus on innovation and new product management.

Learn more about George, here.

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