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Reporting Survey Results

When your survey and analysis has been completed, the final step in the survey process is to present your findings, which involves the creation of a research report. This report should include a background of why you conducted the survey, a breakdown of the results, and conclusions and recommendations supported by this material. This is one of the most important aspects of your survey research as it is the key in communicating your findings to those who can make decisions to take action on those results.

eSurveysPro results can be displayed right from the software, or your data and graphics can easily be exported to a variety of applications like Excel, Word and PowerPoint. For a more powerful report, you should include descriptive text along with your charts, tables, and graphs to give added visual impact.

Provide a background

Before you start working on the details of your report, you need to explain the general background of your survey research. If you will be presenting the findings to your audience (the decision-makers), you will need to make the basis for your research clear, including what objectives were established, and the conclusions drawn from your findings.

Introduction to the survey research

List the factors that motivated you to conduct this research in the first place. By stating the reasons behind the research, your audience will have a better understanding of why the survey was conducted and the importance of the findings.

Identify research objectives

Itemize the goals and objectives you set out to achieve. Before you constructed your survey, you had a plan as to the information you needed to get from your respondents. Once you had those goals in mind, your survey questions were chosen. Did your respondent's answers give you the information you sought after when you designed the survey? Make a list of the objectives you set out when you started, those objectives that were met and those that were not, and any other information relating to the planning process.

Explain the data collection process

Specify how your data was captured. For the purposes of this article, we are referring to a survey for collecting the data. But be specific as what type of survey you used - online, telephone, or paper-based. Also consider who and how many it was sent to, and how the analysis was conducted.

Describe your findings

Explain findings discovered in your research, especially facts that were important, unusual, or surprising. Briefly highlight some of the key points that were uncovered in your results. More detail will be revealed later in the presentation.

Finalize your thoughts and make recommendations

Summarize findings in concise statements so that an action plan can be created. Your conclusions and recommendations should be based on the data that you have gathered. It is from these final statements that management will make their decisions on how to take action on a given situation.

Structure your report

The background information of your survey research may need to be fine-tuned into a structured report format for a polished presentation. Survey research reports typically have the following components: title page, table of contents, executive summary, methodology, findings, survey conclusions, and recommendations.

Title Page

State the focus of your research. The title should what the report is about, for example, "Customer Satisfaction in the European Market." Also include the names of who prepared the report, to whom it will be presented, and the date the report is to be presented.

Table of Contents

List the sections in your report. Here is where you give a high-level overview of the topics to be discussed, in the order they are presented in the report. Depending on the length of your report, you should consider including a listing of all charts and graphs so that your audience can quickly locate them.

Executive Summary

Summarize the major findings up front. Listed at the beginning of your report, this short list of survey findings, conclusions, and recommendations is helpful. The key word here is "short" so no more than a few complete sentences, which may be bulleted if you wish. This summary can also be used as a reference when your reader is finished the report and wants to just glance over the major points.

Methodology

Describe how you got your data. Whether you conducted an online, paper or telephone survey, or perhaps you talked to people face to face, make sure you list how your research was conducted. Also make note of how many people participated, response rates, and the time it took to conduct this research.

Findings

Present your research results in detail. You want to be detailed with this section of the report. Display your results in the form of tables, charts and graphs, and incorporate descriptive text to explain what these visuals mean, and to emphasize important points. eSurveysPro's charts are fully customizable so you can display your data in a variety of ways, such as bar or pie charts, or even tables. The chart legends can also be adjusted to suit your needs. This flexibility allows you to be creative when displaying your results. However you arrange your results, it is helpful to have a close correlation between the text and visuals so that your audience will understand how they are related. For example:

Survey Conclusions

Summarize the key points. This concise collection of findings is similar to the Executive Summary. These conclusions should be strong statements that establish a relationship between the data and the visuals. Remember that thoughts expressed here must be supported by data. You may also mention anything that may be related to this survey research, such as previous studies or survey results that may prove useful if included.

Recommendations

Suggest a course of action. Based on your conclusions, make suggestions at a high-level, as to what actions could be taken to help the survey project meet the research objectives. For example, if you concluded that customers are not satisfied with customer service from the support staff, you may recommend that management should monitor support staff calls to assure quality customer service standards are met.

Making a recommendation doesn't necessarily mean that action is going to take place, but it provides management with a baseline from which to make their decisions.

Presentation Media

In years past, formal reporting of research results was presented as a printed report, often very long and difficult to comprehend. In recent years, the convenience of word processing, spreadsheet and presentation software has streamlined and condensed this process dramatically.

Presentation software, like Microsoft PowerPoint, has become a standard in most industries. Used in a slide format, it can display your survey results in an organized manner. eSurveysPro data and graphics, whether exported right from the software package, or having been manipulated in Excel, can be inserted into this slide format easily.

To give an idea of how efficient this presentation media is, here's an example. A traditional text heavy report may contain 100 pages of text and graphics, and wading through this material can be time-consuming and hard to understand. However when organized in a slide format, this massive amount of information can be reduced down to a 20-50 page slide presentation, with concise bullet points and compelling visuals. Follow the tips below to streamline the look and feel of your presentation.

Tips on formatting your slides:

  1. Experiment with type styles, sizes, and colors. Don't be afraid to bold text, underline or italicize if you are trying to emphasize a point.
  2. Keep titles short. About 5-7 words will get your point across.
  3. Make good use of the space available in the slide. Enlarge the graphs and have the text large enough that it is easy to read across a room.
  4. Format your slides horizontally (landscape) and not vertically (portrait). You don't want part of your slide to be below eye level.
  5. Don't put too much data on one slide. One idea per slide is ideal. If you have many graphs and data in one place, the audience may lose interest. In addition, the increased amount of text will most likely require you reduce your font size, which will make it harder to read from a distance.
  6. Two graphs maximum per slide. This will make your data easier to understand. If you must have two visuals, make sure the text accompanying it is simple.
  7. Avoid using busy slide backgrounds. Multiple colors or gradients can make text hard to read.

Conclusion

Communicate your survey results effectively to your audience with a survey research report. Organize your survey findings with background information, detailed data and results, conclusions and recommendations. eSurveysPro gives you the flexibility to display your results as-is, or transfer your data to other applications to create compelling slide presentations. With eSurveysPro, you can rest assured that your data and graphics will have that professional touch.




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