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Surveys: A underappreciated tool for development

We are fans of surveys and questionnaires around here. When constructed and applied correctly, they provide valuable data and insight and with only a light burden being placed on the survey-takers.

Surveys and questionnaires are a frequent, and important, part of conferences and symposia. As a planner of these events, surveys provide meaningful feedback on format, agenda, speakers, and content. We get valuable insight into the topics and issues that our target audience is interested in as well as advice to creating a format that works best for that audience (teachers, manufacturers, chemists, etc.). As attendees of conferences and symposia, we appreciate the opportunity to let them know how to make the experience more valuable for us and other attendees.

That said, this assumes that the survey has been designed with the end in mind – that the survey developer is asking questions that will actually generate the feedback they need to make improvements. A well-designed survey asks questions that helps a planner evaluate the whole experience without demanding a lot of time from the survey-taker. Check marks, multiple choice, and fill-in-the-blank make surveys an easy tool to complete. We also appreciate a notes section so we can free-form some input.

Surveys are also superb tools with which to collect anonymous data in an organization that has trust issues. Here, the target audience must have some warning that the survey is coming and their participation is expected. The technology that is available now for surveys — Google Forms, Survey Monkey, and others — makes it easy to design and collect valuable information.

Lastly, surveys can be useful tools for marketing and messaging your organization. You can create a dialogue that will yield engagement between you and your target customers and build on your existing relationship. Give us a call if you’d like to know more.


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