If you allow plenty of time between the first discussions and the reporting deadline, it can improve the quality of the data, lower the chance of any gaps in the survey design, and increase the chance of insightful analysis.
Re-use Existing Surveys
Before commissioning a survey, go back to any previous research projects that have been commissioned. This gives you a good, knowledge-based grounding for how to plan your upcoming project. This step can draw attention to areas that you might want to compare or contrast, or it may just highlight the issues that you feel you can omit from the study.
Pass Your Objectives To The Research Agency
There are two main sets of objectives that every research project should have:
– Business Objectives – what are the business issues,
– and Research Objectives – what needs to be discovered
The design of the survey should be based on these issues with no more than four bullet-points each. The objectives (along with ‘background’, ‘current knowledge’, ‘target respondents’, ‘budget’, ‘deliverables’, ‘timescale’), should be put into a written brief and passed through to the research agency. This gives the agency more focus, and will ensure clearer proposals that suit your needs. For guidance on putting a research brief together, visit www.b2binternational.com/article17.html.
Never Cut Corners
An unrealistic budget or timescale can result in a compromise on survey design, or poor/small sample, which in turn could lead to invalid results. If you are commissioning a project, it is because you want solid, accurate results – cutting corners can put strain on the agency, yourselves and the final deliverables.
Demand and implement actionable results
The most valuable part of a research project is the fact that it helps you make decisions based on solid fact. Ensure that the agency you commission is going to provide clear, actionable results. Make sure before commissioning a project that you know you are going to act on the findings, otherwise what is that point of commissioning it?