How to Collate Survey Results

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While the Internet offers many online survey options, sometimes you need to use a good, old-fashioned written survey. They are easy to send in the mail, stick in an event program or pass around the room. When dealing with a stack of survey responses, it can be difficult to draw conclusions from your findings by simply reading through each survey in the pile. Using a filter system to break up responses by particular criteria can save time and effort when analysing data.

Determine the underlying purpose of your survey. Without this information, you cannot choose the correct lens through which to examine your survey results. If you are a business conducting a customer survey, you might look for feedback on your customer service, additional products your customers would be interested in or areas in which you can improve an existing product. If your group runs a follow-up survey after an event, you'll want to check the results to see how you did, what you can add and what you can improve upon. Of these commonly requested feedback areas, identify which is most important to you, whether you simply want to see if people would use your service again or you are actively looking for new features to add.

Identify which, if any, questions on your survey directly address your purpose. If you want to focus on customer satisfaction, look for a question such as "would you buy this product again or recommend it to a friend?" If your survey includes several questions related to your purpose, determine which is the most simple statement of your purpose.

Divide your survey results based on respondents answer to your most purpose connected question, as identified above. For multiple-choice questions, simply separate the results into a different pile for each answer choice. Short answer or long response questions should be divided into categories based on the general theme of the answer--positive, negative or middling--or by different suggestions if you are focused on new products or features.

Identify the demographic division that bears the most weight on the purpose of your survey. It can be related to age, income or geography, or an issue more specific to your product or service, such as whether the customer is a first-time or repeat user.

Find a question related to the demographic of your survey audience on your survey. This is often the first question of a customer or event attendance survey: asking respondents whether this is their first or a repeat experience. Otherwise, you may find demographic questions grouped at the end of a survey, asking respondents to choose a box for their age or income range or city or state of residence.

Subdivide your first set of piles by responses to the demographic question identified in the previous step. This allows you to see whether a particular set of respondents overwhelmingly fall into a certain response category for your main purpose-oriented question.

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