We can assist you with any or all phases of your online or offline survey or research project …
… so the “Obvious Question” then: Why not just use a free online service like “SurveyMonkey”?
At times free online services ARE the best option for a survey/study, (and we are happy to work with you on other aspects of the study if that is the case).
However there are situations where they are not the best choice:
- the study needs to be FIPPA/FOIPOP compliant (SurveyMonkey is not)
- a lack of “manpower” – someone has to create the survey, so depending on how much time you have on your hands it might be more cost-beneficial to have us put it together for you
- EVERYTHING is customizable as we build every survey from scratch (it’s not really that hard)
- our low survey creation costs are the same whether the survey is going out to 50 or 500,000 participants
- we can manage it for you (depending again on the cost/benefit calculation of what your time is worth)
Contact us for a free consultation and be happy to discuss how we might be of help.
The level of detail and attention paid during the design phase directly affects the success you can expect during the operational and analytical phases of a project.
With our extensive experience in research design, we can help you avoid potentially costly errors in sampling, instrument development and data collection.
Survey (Research Instrument) Design
Where a lack of funds (or time) make a pilot study impractical, retaining expert counsel such as Verita becomes particularly helpful in order to ensure the validity of design, quality selection of questions, and to further reduce the time and costs normally associated with the selection process.
Where it is appropriate – we can assist in administering a pilot study (or small trial run) to identify essential questions, determine whether several questions are evoking the same response, and to determine the subjects’ actual interpretation of the questions asked.
In addition, the physical layout of the questionnaire can be crucial for ensuring that respondents are able to effortlessly follow the sequence of questions and their corresponding response options.
In this area alone Verita personnel can, in essence, pay for themselves.
In all, Verita’s expert counsel can assist you with:
- The optimal choice of questions
- The choice of the most appropriate response scales
- The overall layout of the questionnaire or form
- The production of customized graphics and illustrations
- Pilot study design and implementation (where appropriate)
Sample selection therefore must be implemented carefully, and Verita would assist in making recommendations so as to best reflect the level of confidence you require in your results.
(Note: It is not uncommon for researchers to over-estimate the number of responses required to satisfy the research question – and money can be wasted in obtaining additional respondents when it would be better spent elsewhere on the study.)
Distribution and Collection Procedures (online and offline)
These choices are generally one or a combination of:
- Online or “Web-Based” (through an internet browser)
- Mail (through regular mail complete with pre-paid return envelope)
- Handed out as a paper form at a given location, such as at a doctor’s office or at a trade show
- Telephone survey (through a call centre)
- Focus groups and one-on-one interviews
Verita has experience within each of these methods and can help you make the right choice(s) based on the research question.
We can also implement these choices if desired – see “Implementation/Administration” below.
- What are the overall results as per the research questions?
- Are these results “valid“? (i.e. are they measuring the right thing?)
- Are these results “significant“? (i.e. are they accurate?)
- Are these results “representative“? (i.e. can they be projected onto a larger population?)
- What further information can be gleaned from the data?
Online Web-Based Surveys
Providing ease of access and a clear response format, web-based surveys often produce relatively high response rates for targeted sample populations – and may be the only way to survey a population “at large”.
In addition web-based instruments data entry is automatic and circumvents any issues of data-entry error (and data-entry costs), and further allows respondents to give relatively long and detailed responses without the constraint of paper forms. These responses can then be readily analyzed for content, themes, or other aspects of interest.
- at a doctor’s office (ex. treatment studies, medical trials, 360/MSF studies)
- for populations with limited access to a computer (ex. commercial fishermen)
- at the end of a seminar or presentation or at a tradeshow (ex. “utility and feedback” reviews)
- in a restaurant (ex. customer satisfaction form)
- at a road-side booth (ex. pubic opinion surveys)
Whatever the case, Verita can administer and track any mail-outs (complete with postage-paid return envelope), and provide the data entry services necessary to create the final data set.
Verita can also produce scannable “bubble sheet” (OMR) forms for this purpose that allow our inSIGHT 20 scanner to scan the form results directly into a dataset. Please contact us for further details.
Focus Groups and One-on-One Interviews
Commonly this takes the form of our assisting with the survey design and layout, creating the survey on our own servers, arranging for the administration of the survey by the call centre and developing survey filtering and administration protocols, keeping the client informed of the status of the survey making adjustments where needed, and then finally analysing the data and reporting the results when the survey is complete.
Following Up and Boosting Response Rates (targeted populations/known samples)
For example, in order to elicit an optimal response rate from members of a professional association, potential respondents would first receive an email from the association itself introducing them to the survey and describing the survey’s purpose, while “alerting” them to expect a follow-on email from Verita within a day or two.
This initial communication is critical and serves several purposes:
- it adds legitimacy to the follow-on email from Verita, and reduces the likelihood that members will delete it out of hand
- it prompts them to look in their “spam folder” if the follow-on email is not received within the given time period
- it encourages participants to ‘prioritize‘ the importance of responding to the survey
Verita would then follow up within a day or two with an email from us:
- introducing the company and providing a link to our website to provide “legitimacy”
- describing our arm’s-length association with the client (yourself)
- providing details in regard to confidentiality (if this is in fact a confidential survey) and data security
- and finally providing the link and unique sign in criteria (if any) to access the survey
Subsequently, one or more email reminders would be sent out to promote greater participation. These reminders could either be sent to everyone, or only to those who have not responded, depending on the nature of the survey (open or password/PIN) and the perceived confidentiality issues raised by our “knowing who has responded”.
Paper Form Data Entry
Analysis & Reporting
- Traditional textual reports and charts
- Custom graphic reports
- Analytical written reports
- Comparative statistics for examining change from previous administrations of instruments (pre-post studies)
Contact us for a free review of the type and depth of analysis that might be pertinent and helpful to your study.
Ad Hoc Research Consultation
At different points in a research or evaluation project, the investigators often just need a short-term “sounding board” – confirmation of a sample size, a second opinion on the validity or reliability of the use of a proposed instrument, some advice on the next analytic step, or even just some set of facts that need to be located quickly.
This is where we can help: a few hours of consultation with Verita can give you the additional perspectives and answers that often come from review by an outside party and a fresh pair of eyes.
Contact us for a free consultation … whether we will be involved in the final project or not – no strings attached and we’re happy to help!
We have experience working with researchers funded by Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) and Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research (MSFHR) grants.
“Turn Key” Service
Often clients have a general sense what they want to know and what questions are important – however may need assistance in answering those questions in a scientifically valid and reliable manner.
In such cases, Verita can supply a “turn key” survey research service that will take the “need to know” issues and turn them into fully interpreted survey results.
We will consult with you and your stakeholders and from those consultations develop the right questions and instruments to answer your needs, administer the instrument to the right population, analyze the results, and submit a report that is not only technically and scientifically accurate, but is concise and clear to the non-technical reader.