You have content expertise – not research expertise.
Maybe you’re a consultant of some kind, or a freelancer. Perhaps a business owner or manager who does not have a research department.You might work in an HR function, conduct training, or be a professional speaker, who runs workshops or facilitates and coaches as well.
I’m going to show you how to use surveys in some different ways than you may have used them so far. You’ll learn how to write better questions that give you better data. What I am not going to do is tell you what to write a survey about, or how to interpret the results. Because you are an expert in your area, and you know a lot about that topic already.
This book is for business people who are not research professionals.
This book will not make you a research expert.
But it will give you some survival skills and save you from making the most common errors that I see all the time in surveys and questionnaires.
If your world is anything like mine, you need information that is crisp, well-organized, and focused, because you are constantly on a deadline. And short. I hope I have delivered exactly that.
You can check out the Table of Contents here, or at the bottom of this post.
Other reasons you might be interested in this book:
- Checklists to use when writing your survey questions, and before you launch
- A worksheet to develop objectives -- the same approach I use on every project I do
- Nine creative things you can do with a survey
- A case study that illustrates some creative ways I used simple online survey tools in a facilitation and innovation project
- Where to find "sample" - people to answer your survey questions
What you get:
- A 42 page PDF
Buy it here using any credit card:
Buy it here using PayPal:
Just added: To give you an idea of what's in the book, I've made the pre-launch checklist available as a "pay-what-you-want" item. Here's the link to download.
You aren't a researcher, but you do surveys. Would you like to do them better? By the end of today?
You're a consultant, not a researcher. But you probably need to do research anyway. There's lots of reasons for this:
- Your clients have no data and they need some
- Your clients have no data and YOU need some to advise them
- You want to figure out what's going on before you start the project
Actually, there's about a dozen reasons.
So, you find yourself doing surveys. Or maybe you're here because you need to do a survey, and would like to do a good one.
Professional speakers and trainers do surveys, too. Facilitators do them.
Now that there are so many great online survey tools, anyone can do a survey. Just like other power tools, unfortunately the tool is only as good as the carpenter. This book is like a survival guide to the power tool we call the survey.
I used to get annoyed that a lot of people without training were out there making a hash of things. But the reality is, many projects just don't have the budget for professional help. And there are a lot of things you can do with a survey that are not really in need of professional help -- they could just be a lot more effective.
I actually included a whole section about creative things that consultants can do with surveys that have nothing to do with "marketing research." And there's a pretty detailed case study on one that gives you examples of four of these methods.Research Tools for Consultants: The Survey
You could take a course, but you probably don't have the time right now
There are some excellent courses available in how to construct surveys and questionnaires.
Here's one, offered by The Resource Center for Customer Service Professionals. It's three days of classroom training, offered in major cities for $2,495.
Here's another one, offered by MRIA, the Canadian marketing research association. It's an online course that is broken into 20 minute modules with a total of 6 hours of instructional material, for $409. (I took a very similar course from MRIA more than a decade ago, when it was only offered in the classroom.)
There are a ton of books, and even some free PDF's that cover elements of this topic.
As a consultant myself, living in a project-driven world, I know what one big problem with this is. You probably don't have the time right now, because you are working. You need instant learning, not something that will take six hours in 20 minute modules.
And you sure can't wait a few months and fly to another city for a three-day course. Not right now, anyway. Not when you probably need something this minute.
You need very practical tips and tools that you can use right now. I wrote this for you.
If you decide you are going to make survey research a regular part of your projects, then of course you want to develop higher level professional skills in this area. Read some textbooks, do a more detailed course, or even get a research designation.
Right after you finish this project. Hey, we've all been there.
The buttons take you to Gumroad, a secure place where you can buy the book using any credit card. It's a nice seamless process, and you will get an instant download.Research Tools for Consultants: The Survey
You know what to do with data, you just need some
You're a consultant because you have expertise. You know what to do with information. That's why someone hired you in the first place.
So this book has very little about what to do with the data.
It's about how to get the data. And let's be honest here -- you probably don't need to do a factor analysis, or latent class analysis, or cluster analysis, or any other sophisticated thing. You need some charts and graphs, you need some indicators, you need some averages, medians and means. And you know how to do that.
More importantly, you bring your professional expertise to data. Whether that expertise is coaching, customer service training, motivational training, project management, or any of a thousand other professional skills that consultants, speakers, trainers and facilitators have.Research Tools for Consultants: The Survey
Or you might just want some publicity - from a survey
As consultants, trainers, facilitators and speakers, we all need to raise our professional profile. Maybe you want some information for an article you are writing, or want to issue a news release with new survey data.
Maybe you want to show prospective clients why something is a problem, and some survey data would help you.
Another excellent idea!
So you find yourself thinking about doing a survey. You are wondering how to pick from the many survey tools out there, and how to get this thing organized.
So I put in a checklist of what to look for in survey tools. How to compare.
Short, on-point, useful information
I offered this as a three-hour workshop a couple of years ago. I gave a version of this material as an afternoon workshop to the Canadian Association of Professional Speakers in Toronto. It was called "Getting the Scoop: Research Tools for Speakers. People paid $60 to attend, and the session was pretty full. I got a lot of great feedback, but I left the material on the shelf. (Of course I wasn't the one getting the $60, because I'm a member, and we do this stuff for free for our colleagues. You know the deal, I'm sure.)
Typical consultant, I got busy on projects, and didn't do anything with it, after investing a lot of time writing it in the first place!
Then Sherry - a consultant who had been at the workshop -- got in touch with me.
"I hope you're doing well and that business is booming. I was wondering if you have soft copies of the research material that you taught us at that afternoon session. I need to write an electronic questionnaire and I can't find my notes from your session."
In that instant, I realized that I really had something quite useful here, and that it needed to be buffed up and polished up and sent out into the world.
The material is better. It is updated. And it only talks about surveys. (Other research tools need their own book -- something for secondary research, something for group discussions and interviews -- all that has to come later. I wanted this to be laser focused on one topic that you need right now.)
But there are good surveys available online, aren't there?
You will find libraries of sample surveys available free inside many of the online survey tools. If your client wanted to do that, they wouldn't need you would they?
More important, these things are so standardized, I don't think they are all that much use. So even if you start there, you should customize.
And even more important than that, you are using someone else's idea of your objectives. But you actually need to set your own research objectives. I tell you how to do that in Chapter 1.
Your clients have the right to expect that you will do more than launch the standard survey from the Survey Monkey (or whatever tool you decide to use) library. They deserve customized work. This book will not make you an expert, but it will get you well down the road.
Table of Contents
Chapter 1: Making a plan
- Practical reasons to create a research plan
- The four step research process
- How to set objectives, and what kind of objectives to set
- Setting objectives worksheet, and examples
- Identifying the target group to survey
Chapter 2: Creating your survey
- Six things that are wrong with most surveys you see today
- Stop the torture: survey fatigue and what it means for you
- Instant workshop in how to write good questions
- 7 key tips on wording questions
- 4 key tips on response options
- 8 questionnaire crimes you should avoid
- Real examples of poor and better questionnaires
Chapter 3: Survey tools and sample
- Finding the right survey tool checklist
- Finding people to answer the survey (aka "sample")
- Things that will affect your costs
- How professional survey researchers find sample
- Omnibus surveys as an option
Chapter 4: Before you launch
- What motivates people to participate in surveys
- Incentives for participation specific to business audiences
- 15 point pre-launch checklist
- Research ethics and standards that everyone needs to know
Chapter 5: Creative ways to user surveys
- 9 things a consultant can do with a survey
- Case study illustrating 4 of these methods
Chapter 6: Look like a pro
- What you need to think about when you get your data
- Avoid these two big mistakes in your analysis
- Keep learning - resources on specific topics
That's it. A total of forty-two pages, graphical and easy to read. You can keep the e-book in electronic form, of course, and it also works well to print and bind so you have it handy on your shelf.
We need to end the survey torture. It starts here. Be part of the solution -- only write great surveys. Start now.