Survey research at the time of the pandemic

Survey research has been a part of everyday life for more than 70 years. The understanding of the data, the way of asking questions and the selection of respondents have progressed immeasurably during this period, however, every research still has to solve two essential problems: a) how to reach respondents and why they would be interested in answering our questions and b) how to ensure that the answers given to us by the respondents are true.

We have dealt with the first problem in more detail in recent months. With the advent of health problems, the most accurate face-to-face data collection technique has been seriously questioned. Of course, the pandemic has not only affected our industry, but, in any way, the answers to specific questions related to business transformation must be sought thoroughly and in detail.

Therefore, we were forced to test some new models of communication and recruitment of respondents and, using the new resources of MSSLab, we got some answers that helped us a lot to adapt to the changes on the market. In this blog we want to share those answers with you.

The first question we’ve been thinking about for a long time is what’s the potential for switching businesses completely online. Recruitment of respondents is the basis of our business, so the main question we thought about is what is the potential of alternative ways of recruiting respondents? Can we rely on Viber, Facebook or other forms of online recruitment in the long run? No matter how thoughtful strategies we imagine, we can only get answers to these questions in one way – empirically.

In May 2020, we tried to do a complete survey by recruiting respondents via Viber messages. The test research went very well and we drew some great guidelines from it. Two questions interested us here – how many people can we recruit on weekdays compared to the weekend and is it better to send messages in the morning or in the afternoon? During the four waves of recruitment, we sent 12,500 messages per wave, where we randomly chose which potential respondents to send messages to in which wave. The idea of ​​this experimental design was to get roughly the same groups of people so we could tell if the day and time of recruitment affected the final response rate we have expected. To our surprise, we could not conclude with certainty that it was better to contact respondents on weekends rather than on weekdays. The number of respondents who responded to our invitation to complete the survey did not differ significantly between Monday and Wednesday, compared to Saturday and Sunday.

However, the second variation in our experiment was very significant. The contacts we made in the morning (11am) achieved a response rate of 25% higher than the contacts we made in the afternoon (6pm). The results we obtained guided us in the further planning of online recruitment and ultimately helped us to optimize the time spent but also the cost of the recruitment. In other words, they helped us improve our business.

This short demonstration is an example of a careful approach that we devise in solving all research problems. Using the capabilities of MSSLab, we can help you get answers to various questions you encounter in everyday business.

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