Community surveys are a form of quantitative research where feedback is commonly collected from a general population. A general population means all are eligible to take the survey if they reside or are a part of the community. In market research research terms this means the incidence rate is 100%.
These types of surveys come in many forms. They include phone surveys, mail surveys, and online surveys. However, online surveys are typically the common choice for 3 reasons. First, online surveys are budget-friendly and cost effective. Second, online surveys can be completed fast. This can be as little as a few days to a few weeks compared to phone and mail versions which take much longer. Third, the data quality is strong. Decades ago not all populations were comfortable online but this has largely changed.
Community surveys are an excellent way to gather feedback from a general population. Learn more about the 4 steps involved in helping you start a community survey.
Before you get started, your first goal is to better understand your objectives. Why do you want to conduct the market research? What do you need the market research to answer? How do you plan on using the results? What are some other benefits of conducting the market research? These and other questions should be addressed as part of the initial meeting with your internal stakeholders at your organization.
After your objectives are defined, your next step is to create an outline of your survey questions. The good news is your objectives should translate directly to survey questions or a series of questions. Structure your questions as a way of creating actionable next steps.
Ask yourself: What? So What? Now What? These 3 simple questions we learned from a Burke Institute session at The Market Research Event a few years back is an insightful approach to survey writing. This helps your team break down survey questions tactically to ensure next steps can be taken with results.
For each question you write, ask yourself what the data might look like? Okay, if 55% of the community is aware of us, so what? Well, how does that 55% breakdown by age, gender, ZIP Code? Say you find out awareness is lowest among females under 50 years of age. Now what? Your team decides to design some strategies around targeting younger females on social media including Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest.
What? So What? Now What?
If you plan to conduct the survey online, you'll want to find a survey software or work with a community survey firm. Working with a community survey firm can add some expertise to the process and they'll likely have tools and systems in place to assist with your project. Market research companies like these will guide you.
Now you are ready to go live. Always start with a soft-launch of fieldwork. This involves reaching out to a small sample and testing the survey. Test it for question comprehension with respondents, to eliminate issues, and to understand respond rates.
Once the soft-launch is complete, move to the full launch. Not sure how to reach out to the general community to obtain feedback? Our digital research experts offer the ability to target a random or highly specific audience on social media or use panels.
Panels are essentially rented email lists of respondents who have agreed to participate in market research. Social media is an excellent and affordable way to collect data. Results are close to representative for each because both methodologies can reach a fairly random population in your geography.
Aim for a minimum of 100 responses. If you can obtain 400, this is considered the industry standard because it offers a +/- 5% margin of error at the 95% confidence level. If budget allows, 1,000 responses is considered the gold standard in market research. This is a +/- 2% margin of error.
Complete a Report
The final step in the community survey process is the report. This is when you review all of the data and feedback that comes back through your fieldwork. You'll first want to check your results for quality. Once you have a final set of responses, your analysis can begin.
The format of the report is completely up to you based on your objectives and the team you are working with. Our community survey firm typically puts together a PowerPoint report or PDF so it can easily be shared with our clients. We include an executive summary of themes and recommendations with simple action items. Our goal is to make the results digestible so next steps can be taken. Community surveys lose value if nothing can be done with the results. We aim to change this.
Contact Our Community Survey Firm
Drive Research is a market research company in New York State. We specialize in a variety of qualitative and quantitative market research projects. These vary from online surveys to focus groups and many more.
Questions about an upcoming community survey project and need assistance?
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