General Surveys

We can assist you with any or all phases of your online or offline survey  …

Design
Implementation/Administration
Analysis & Reporting
Ad Hoc Research Consultation

… 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.

 

Design

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

Question design and selection is critical to the validity and value of a study.

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 Design

Whether a survey is to a “target population” or open to the general public, sample size and sample composition greatly affect the extent to which the results can be considered “valid” and/or “representative” of the population of interest.

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)

Verita can assist you in determining the best method of survey or research instrument implementation or distribution.

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.

Analyses Design

We can help you determine the best and most applicable statistical methods to answer the questions:

  • 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?

Report Design

If the results are to be reported to an “outside party” such as a decision-maker, an organization/association, within a journal or a scientific paper, or to the public at large, we can assist in determining the best reporting methods in the way of clarity of information and layout.

 

Implementation/Administration

Online Web-Based Surveys

The Web can be a very cost-effective research medium, and Verita has been creating and administering online surveys for over 17 years on our FIPPA-compatible servers.

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.

Paper-based Surveys

At times it’s necessary and beneficial to use a paper-based survey – either on its own, or in conjunction with its web-based counterpart where internet access is limited or where a survey needs to be completed “at point of contact”.  For example:

  • 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

Correctly administering research-related focus groups and one-on-one interviews can be surprisingly complex and extremely difficult to standardize.  We have the experience and insight needed to understand the research question(s) and then build and/or administer the instrument accordingly in order to obtain the most valid and defensible results.

Telephone Surveys

Though Verita itself doesn’t administer telephone surveys, we are happy to team up with a call centre or telephone research firm to implement and administer a survey on your behalf. (We’ll even help you find the one that works best for you.)

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)

While a web-based survey instrument is an excellent mechanism where your target population has access to the Internet and is relatively clearly defined, web access alone does not of course guarantee a high response rate. Cognizant of this, Verita advocates the use of a ‘survey awareness campaign’ to ensure an optimal response rate and therefore a sufficient sample size.

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:

  1. it adds legitimacy to the follow-on email from Verita, and reduces the likelihood that members will delete it out of hand
  2. it prompts them to look in their “spam folder” if the follow-on email is not received within the given time period
  3. 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:

  1. introducing the company and providing a link to our website to provide “legitimacy”
  2. describing our arm’s-length association with the client (yourself)
  3. providing details in regard to confidentiality (if this is in fact a confidential survey) and data security
  4. 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

If the survey or research study data is on paper, Verita can arrange to collect results and provide data entry from either standard paper or custom-designed scannable (OMR) forms.

 

Analysis & Reporting

Data Analysis

Verita can advise on the most suitable analyses for your project, providing almost any level of data analysis – from simple descriptive statistics to bivariate and multivariate analyses (e.g. correlation, regression, reliabilities, factor analysis etc.).

Professional Reports

In addition to traditional numeric reports (such as tables and crosstabulations), Verita can also produce graphical reports allowing you to visualize overall trends, and written reports supported by careful data analysis. Our reporting services include:

  • 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 consultationwhether 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.