How to Ensure High-Quality Survey Results

Explore what quality really means in online survey research, why it matters, and how you can improve the quality of your research.
11 January 2022
quality panel survey research
chris stevens

Head of Quality, Profiles Division

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There are many components that go into putting together survey research. One of the biggest focuses is often getting high-quality results, but how is this done? Furthermore, what does “quality” even mean when it comes to survey research?

What “quality” really means

The quality of your survey is dependent on how reliable the final data is. Fraudulent, dishonest, or uninterested respondents can leave you with results that aren’t trustworthy.

High-quality survey results will give you actionable steps to improve your business by better understanding your audience.

Why quality matters in survey research

In most cases, surveys are conducted as a means to research a specific market, explore a topic, and better understand the market around you.

A number of companies rely on survey research to create the next steps for their business. For example, a food company might survey their target demographic to learn about potential new flavour combinations to try in future products.

With high-quality survey research, the results will be more meaningful. This turns into higher return on your research investment (ROI) and better business decisions.

Low-quality survey results can waste your time and money and lead you down paths that won’t support your business growth.

How to ensure quality in your survey research

If you’re looking to gather insightful data, it all starts with ensuring quality occurs at each step of the research process. Luckily, there are a few ways for you to achieve this. Here are some of our top tips:

Better Respondent Sourcing

Sourcing your respondents entails finding the right group of engaged people to complete your survey. At Kantar, we own the world’s largest network of online respondents, comprised of vetted and approved suppliers and our exclusive LifePoints panel.

All sources within our network must meet our rigorous quality standards. This means that you get access to these respondents via one touchpoint and ensure the highest-quality participants for your survey.

Often, more than one respondent source is required to fulfil a market research survey. Regardless of the sources you use, make sure the project managers sampling your work have the knowledge to blend your ad hoc and tracking studies with consistency. It will ensure you have the most meaningful results over time. Remember, sourcing your survey is a critical step. A lapse in quality here will impact subsequent quality checks that you set up in-survey.

Furthermore, transparency is key. Make sure your sample provider is being upfront with the blends they use so you can trust your results.

Anti-Fraud Technology and Pre-Survey Checks

One of the biggest ways to ensure quality survey results is to keep fraud at bay. This means making sure only honest, real people are answering the surveys.

Failure to do so will lead to dishonest answers, skewed data, and eventually actions that were misinformed.

This might mean ensuring your supplier uses validation checks like:

  • Anti-fraud technology: Machine learning and AI designed to detect fraudulent activity and poor behaviour. Qubed, Kantar's propriety technology, catches 4x more fraud than any other technology.
  • IP Address & Browser Validation: Checks the user’s IP address in an effort to avoid fraudulent servers and respondents from unexpected locations.
  • Unique Responders: Ensures there are no duplicate responders on your survey which will skew the final quality of the results.

In-Survey and Post-Survey Checks

You can also perform checks within and after the survey to gauge the reliability and engagement level of respondents. This can be done through:

  • In-Survey Engagement Tests: In-survey trap questions and speeding tests can ensure the surveys are being completed honestly by the participant.
  • Honesty Detector: Kantar’s proprietary assessment tool that detects over-reporters (or those likely to lie in a survey). It can be added custom to any project.
  • Post-Survey Engagement Questions: After the survey, ask satisfaction questions that score survey feedback, help you optimise your surveys, and benchmark them for the future.

With more quality checks along the way, you’ll receive higher-quality research results.

Engaging respondents through survey design

You’ll notice that our in-survey and post-survey checks revolve around engagement. Cultivating a group of engaged respondents from start to finish is paramount when it comes to the calibre of your final results.

An engaged group of respondents is akin to a classroom of attentive and eager students, looking forward to their next task.

Within a survey, it’s easy to lose out on quality with participants that get uninterested midway through. Write shorter surveys with engaging questions to catch and hold a respondent’s attention.

Optimise for mobile

One way to ensure you’re reaching a representative, quality audience is to meet users on their preferred devices. This works best when your surveys are optimised for mobile. At Kantar, we continuously execute research on research and collaborate with others in the industry to produce best practices.

It is important to note that more than 70% of survey recruits join through a mobile device, so mobile integration is critical – especially if you’re targeting a younger demographic.

We advise that the programming tools you use are not only compatible with all devices, but specifically optimised for every screen size and orientation. You risk poor engagement or unrepresentative audiences otherwise.

Our mobile-optimised programming tools are built from the same platform that Facebook and Instagram use. They also follow Google’s award-winning guidelines and methodology for Material Design. What does that mean for you? The best possible mobile-based results, further improving your survey’s quality.

Fieldwork Design

Another consideration for improving quality is the overall fieldwork and sampling design. This is most critical when executing brand tracking or other longitudinal research, but also important for ad hoc research requiring representative audiences or critical quotas.

It’s important to trust that your fieldwork managers blend different sources with consistency and fill quotas evenly. Ensuring your fieldwork is executed by experienced managers will support quality results over time.

Getting the surveys controls right is another critical step in fieldwork management. If the controls and quotas in place are not representing your audience, then this can produce misleading results.

Ensure Quality Survey Results with Kantar

A great way to ensure you’re achieving high-quality results every step of the way is with a successful survey partner. These were a few of the best practices exercised at Kantar for all of our clients. If you want to maximise the results from your marketing research surveys, reach out to our experts today to get started.

We also understand that an online approach may not be the optimal approach for every country. We know that the coverage through online can differ greatly across the markets across the world. It is important to understand how impacted the research could be in a particular market with an online approach only, and ask for guidance on this as necessary.

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