News & Events

November 19, 2014

Keith Neuman presents Five Good Ideas on Survey Research: Asking the Right Question

In the latest in a long-running "Five Good Ideas" lunch and learn series hosted by the Maytree Foundation, Environics Institute Executive Director Keith Neuman presented to an audience of more than100 on November 19, 2014 about survey research and asking the right question.

Surveys, polls and market research are ubiquitous in today’s world, a predictable response to the ever growing pressures to better understand audiences, customers and stakeholders. Everyone is doing it, but doing it effectively is often a challenge, especially for non-profits which typically lack the internal expertise and financial resources of governments and corporations.

Today, collecting survey data has never been easier, thanks to the many inexpensive online tools now on the market. But these tools do not help address the more important questions about determining what information to collect, how to effectively reach target populations and how to make sense of the data collected.

Keith's Five Good Ideas about survey research:

  1. Number 1: Ignore the political polls, as they present a distorted picture of what survey research is about and what it can do.

  2. Number 2: The unique contribution of surveys comes from their power to combine many individual stories that together tell an important collective story.

  3. Number 3: The primary task of survey design and analysis is “translation”: Transforming your organization’s questions into a language that is meaningful to those you want to hear from, and then reinterpreting what they tell you to answer those questions.

  4. Number 4: Numbers are an important component of survey research, but survey research in the end is not about the numbers but the story behind them.

  5. Number 5: Survey research is all about give and take: It should be as valuable to the participants as it is to the researcher and sponsor.

Watch the full video presentation.

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