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Non-Profit Research Tips (5 of 5): Data Collection and Analysis

The final steps in a research study are data collection and analysis.  There are many tools and organizations available to assist you through this process, but following are some keys to keep in mind.

 Like so many projects, after long and exacting preparation, you are finally ready to get to the “good stuff” – talking to people and turning their feedback into answers for your organization. 

 Data Collection.     Regardless of your contact method, there are many companies that can help you with data collection if you choose not to do it yourself.  Some tips for successful data collection:

  • Create supporting materials – incentives, pre-notification letters, reminder notices,
  • If you are using interviewers, train & monitor them!  You will want consistent execution of your questionnaire and any dialogue between the interviewer and the respondent.  Let them know what you want and work with them to ensure you get it.
  • Build a database of responses – track your population’s demographic information along with their responses for analytical purposes

 Data Analysis.         Once data collection is complete, revisit your analysis plan to start processing the results – turning lots of raw data into something that easy to understand and usable.  Charts, graphs, tables, cross tabulations, ranking – there are many tools available to assist in this process and get the most information out of the data you have collected.

 Honest feedback is a gift and in today’s increasingly busy world, more and more valuable.  However, the real value in any study is the solutions and improvements you can make using the insights gained.  If the data is not acted on, the study process has little value.  Share the results with your respondents.  Let them know you are incorporating their feedback into your organization.  In that scenario, everyone wins.

Posted in Client Satisfaction, Market Research, Quality Improvement.

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