Once you get survey feedback, you might think that the job is done. The next step, however, is to analyze those results. Creating a data analysis plan will help guide you through how to analyze the data and come to logical conclusions.
So, how do you create a data analysis plan? It starts with the goals you set for your survey in the first place. This guide will help you create a data analysis plan that will effectively utilize the data your respondents provided.
What can a data analysis plan do?
Think of data analysis plans as a guide to your organization and analysis, which will help you accomplish your ultimate survey goals. A good plan will make sure that you get answers to your top questions, such as “how do customers feel about this new product?” through specific survey questions. It will also separate respondents to see how opinions among various demographics may differ.
Creating a data analysis plan
Follow these steps to create your own data analysis plan.
Review your goals
When you plan a survey, you typically have specific goals in mind. That might be measuring customer sentiment, answering an academic question, or achieving another purpose.
If you’re beta testing a new product, your survey goal might be “find out how potential customers feel about the new product.” You probably came up with several topics you wanted to address, such as:
- What is the typical experience with the product?
- Which demographics are responding most positively? How well does this match with our idea of the target market?
- Are there any specific pain points that need to be corrected before the product launches?
- Are there any features that should be added before the product launches?
Use these objectives to organize your survey data.
Evaluate the results for your top questions
Your survey questions probably included at least one or two questions that directly relate to your primary goals. For example, in the beta testing example above, your top two questions might be:
- How would you rate your overall satisfaction with the product?
- Would you consider purchasing this product?
Those questions offer a general overview of how your customers feel. Whether their sentiments are generally positive, negative, or neutral, this is the main data your company needs. The next goal is to determine why the beta testers feel the way they do.
Assign questions to specific goals
Next, you’ll organize your survey questions and responses by which research question they answer. For example, you might assign questions to the “overall satisfaction” section, like:
- How would you describe your experience with the product?
- Did you encounter any problems while using the product?
- What were your favorite/least favorite features?
- How useful was the product in achieving your goals?
Under demographics, you’d include responses to questions like:
- Education level
This helps you determine which questions and answers will answer larger questions, such as “which demographics are most likely to have had a positive experience?”
Pay special attention to demographics
Demographics are particularly important to a data analysis plan. Of course you’ll want to know what kind of experience your product testers are having with the product—but you also want to know who your target market should be. Separating responses based on demographics can be especially illuminating.
For example, you might find that users aged 25 to 45 find the product easier to use, but people over 65 find it too difficult. If you want to target the over-65 demographic, you can use that group’s survey data to refine the product before it launches.
Other demographic segregation can be helpful, too. You might find that your product is popular with people from the tech industry, who have an easier time with a user interface, while those from other industries, like education, struggle to use the tool effectively. If you’re targeting the tech industry, you may not need to make adjustments—but if it’s a technological tool designed primarily for educators, you’ll want to make appropriate changes.
Similarly, factors like location, education level, income bracket, and other demographics can help you compare experiences between the groups. Depending on your ultimate survey goals, you may want to compare multiple demographic types to get accurate insight into your results.
Consider correlation vs. causation
When creating your data analysis plan, remember to consider the difference between correlation and causation. For instance, being over 65 might correlate with a difficult user experience, but the cause of the experience might be something else entirely. You may find that your respondents over 65 are primarily from a specific educational background, or have issues reading the text in your user interface. It’s important to consider all the different data points, and how they might have an effect on the overall results.
Moving on to analysis
Once you’ve assigned survey questions to the overall research questions they’re designed to answer, you can move on to the actual data analysis. Depending on your survey tool, you may already have software that can perform quantitative and/or qualitative analysis. Choose the analysis types that suit your questions and goals, then use your analytic software to evaluate the data and create graphs or reports with your survey results.
At the end of the process, you should be able to answer your major research questions.
Power your data analysis with Voiceform
Once you have established your survey goals, Voiceform can power your data collection and analysis. Our feature-rich survey platform offers an easy-to-use interface, multi-channel survey tools, multimedia question types, and powerful analytics. We can help you create and work through a data analysis plan. Find out more about the product, and book a free demo today!