Paper surveys end up being a part of many programs. Managing the influx of paper surveys is a key to making sure they do not bog down your ability to do analysis, though. There is nothing worse than entering 500 surveys in two days before a project closes. There are a number of steps that can be taken to reduce the burden on your team when it comes to manual data entry.
Standardize survey shipping
The first is probably the simplest, but also the one that will save you the most hassle in the long run. Send teams the survey packets yourself.
You can include a single, large return envelope for every ≈ 50 surveys. With the ease of just dropping a package in the mail, survey administrators are much more likely to ship surveys back to you frequently, rather than holding on to them and sending them in bulk at the end of the program.
This also has the added benefit of making it easier to track how data collection is going in each market over the course of the program.
Stagger the survey data entry
Second, enter the results as you receive them.
The fatigue from entering a few hundred surveys should not be underestimated. While, to some degree, you can fall into a rhythm where entering goes quickly, this will only last for so long.
Additionally, by entering results as they arrive, you can monitor for any issues that may be occurring in the data that you might not otherwise notice, such as a market getting too many control results, and not enough test.
Assign an “ID” to every survey
Third, have a unique identifier associated with each survey result.
This will allow you to go back and review the paper version should any data be called into question. It will also help you with regard to the ensuring data integrity.
Enter all results twice
This is more of a data quality issue, but it is relevant to data collection with regards to paper surveys. Double data entering paper surveys can ensure the quality of your results.
There are increased risks for error when transcribing your paper results into whatever you plan to use for analysis. If you have two people enter the data, then compare results, you can better ensure that no errors have slipped through the cracks and that the data is ready for analysis.
Paper surveys add to the amount of time a project will take, but with forethought and the right methods, you can ensure that they don’t inhibit your ability to report and that you get data from markets or events you might otherwise not be able to.
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