When it comes to carrying out a survey, there are a lot of different factors that those leading the survey need to keep in mind. After all, surveys are meant to glean important information on a huge number of topics.
If those conducting the survey do not feel as though the responses that they end up receiving actually represent the demographics that they are targeting, then they will likely have to come to the unfortunate conclusion that their survey is overly skewed and basically offer no useful information that can be turned into actionable results.
So, what are the ways that population and sample size can impact the overall results and efficacy of a given survey? It turns out there are a lot of different things that survey conductors should keep in mind. If you don’t know how to estimate your population and sample size, click here to find more.
Let’s get started.
The completion rate is crucial
One really important thing to keep in mind is that the completion rate – or the ratio of the number of completed surveys compared to the number of surveys that were distributed in total – is something that has to be kept in mind from the very beginning.
Moreover, it is important to recognize that the completion rate and the response rate are actually two different things. While the response rate is the percentage of surveys that were returned, the completion rate refers to the number of turns in surveys that were actually completed 100 percent. Typically, this refers to about 70 to 80 percent of the total surveys that were turned in.
When it comes to the population and sample size that you are working with, you should be aiming for a percentage of at least sixty or seventy percent when it comes to your completion rate. Anything below 50 should be a signal that you need to carry out the survey again and try to aim for a higher overall completion rate.
Accurate representation of your sample population
Population size is absolutely crucial to making sure that you are getting a wide breadth of responders to send back in your survey, but that is not the only thing that you need to think about when it comes to your population. Of course, unless you are distrusting your survey to a totally homogenous sample population, you are going to want to look beyond simply the completion rate to make sure that the response rate is enough for you to draw conclusions from.
Overall, you want to make sure that you can be confident in the fact that your completed responses are coming from a portion of the population that accurately represents the demographics that you are looking to learn more about.
Looking at things like ethnic background, gender ratio, population size, and more and deciding whether or not your completion rate reflects a given population that you are looking to learn more about is important.
Instead of focusing simply on the identity of the people within your population of sample size, you are also going to want to think about the nonresponse bias – which considers the identity of people who have, for one reason or another, chosen not to respond to your survey at all. This can become a fairly crucial issue when the survey that you have sent out deals with potentially embarrassing or sensitive topics.
If there is a specific segment of your target demographics that you are noticing has not responded in large numbers, it can introduce a bias into the final results that you end up collecting. The importance of such a bias in your survey will increase when the nonresponse is common among a segment of your sample population and when that segment could have a rather large impact on the overall results if they were to respond.
From here, your job is to find a way to measure the overall extent of the potential nonresponse bias. To do that, you are going to have a really solid understanding of the characteristics of the sample population that you sent your survey out to.
How population and sample size can influence response rates
When it comes to trying to glean crucial information through the use of a survey that you send out to a certain segment of the population, there are a lot of very important factors that you have to keep in mind. Obviously, the sample size is very important, but there are so many different considerations that you have to make about your sample size to make sure that you are getting useful and actionable results from it.
Hopefully, this quick breakdown has helped you better identify some of the most important factors and considerations that you have to keep in mind before, during, and after sending out your survey and receiving your responses.