The Results Are In! (Surveys Continued)

I must say, for someone who began last week’s lesson with a complete lack of interest in creating surveys, I sure monitored this one a lot!  It was really exciting to see the results trickle in and even more interesting to watch the “ratios” of the answers either remain constant or slightly change.  I can speculate that the “snowball” was noticeable when it reached my mother’s friends as the demographics began to change and the answers ration shifted in a different direction.  All sorts of implications can be made from this survey and it was only 5 questions!  So let’s get to some of the findings (remember, I was attempting to survey the perceived affordability and accessibility of higher education):

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I had a total of 94 people respond to the survey all from various backgrounds.  My age demographic for participation was pretty interesting and almost looked like a bell curve.  Most of my participants (30 out of 94) were between the ages of 45 and 54 and the other groups gradually got smaller as we work our way away from the middle of the curve.  Further, most of my participants have earned a bachelor’s degree.  I found it interesting that 15% of my respondents had already earned a graduate degree as well.  I don’t know many people that have earned a graduate degree, so I wonder if this is one of the examples of a question being misleading.  Maybe people from my graduate program answered this question as “graduate degree” even though they are in progress (there is a difference).

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At a ratio of nearly 2:1, most people from my survey felt that higher education is not affordable for most people.  The word “most” I suppose is a potential misnomer from this question and I also think that people can apply their personal situation too easily to the question, but I still found the results to be interesting either way.  Especially when looking at the next question:

ImageAs you can see from this question, a LARGE majority of my respondents feel that higher education is accessible in the United States for most people.  I did use the words “United States” in this question compared to the other and I wonder if this had anything to do with the results.  There really are so many implications these surveys COULD have.  As I go forward, I am not sure I am eager to explore the conceptual possibilities within reading the results of a survey professionally, but I certainly found the survey to be a worthwhile investment in my time (apparently just like higher education):

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How could I have re-worded any of these questions to maybe get better results?

Have I changed your thoughts on surveys at all going forward?  Have you worked with surveys at all?

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5 thoughts on “The Results Are In! (Surveys Continued)

  1. I think you may have misread (or mistyped) your interpretation of that first question you posted. It was 2:1 in favor of people who do NOT feel higher education is affordable for most people. In relation to the next question, it is interesting. I recall now that as I took the survey that “accessible” was the key word there. Accessible and affordable are two different things, to me. In the Qualtrix tutorial they said something about making the questions as straightforward as possible and trying to minimize any confusion or interpretation of words. It’s fascinating how changing one or two words might drastically alter the results of a survey.

  2. I had literally zero interest in surveys before, had never administered one (with the exception of a previous job that involved many dreaded focus groups), and pretty much avoided taking them at all costs. However, I did enjoy creating the survey for my store, and surprisingly enjoyed taking everyone else’s surveys as well. I took every survey that was posted in our social media Facebook groups. Not only was I interested in my own results, but I am looking forward now to reading everyone’s results.
    I saw a snowball in mine as well when I presented it to other graduate students. It took the survey out of the realm of real customers of The Pink Petticoat and outside of the state of Florida as well. I think next time I will add a qualifying questions to continue on in the survey.

  3. I have made surveys previously for undergrad work, but I was never particularly interested in the results. This time, I felt like I really cared about the results. The most interesting part of your results for me was in comparing the results for questions 3 and 4. I think that adding the ‘United States’ into the wording of the latter probably made a difference in the results. Your use of the word ‘most’ did not confuse me though when taking your survey, I think it was appropriate in that situation. It’s great that 94 people took your survey, that’s a great snowball sampling! I think that since there were so many respondents this survey is very useful. I was glad to see that most people thought that a higher education degree is a good investment because obviously we all do too! Do you think that opening our surveys up to so many of our Master’s seeking peers could have shifted your results particularly, as apposed to a truly random sample?

  4. Thanks for the great responses everyone! It was difficult coming up with the right words for everything and it makes you realize how complicated language can be when trying to be as understandable as possible. I agree the United States part was an inconsistency on my part that could have a negative impact on the responses. I don’t know that one was was better than the other, but I should have been consistent. Finally, I think your question is very compelling Wendy and think the answer is yes, my results probably were skewed and it points out the importance of distributing over various mediums as well, such as paper mail. Thanks!

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