Online surveys were introduced into market and opinion research ten years ago with unprecedented success. Today they are the most commonly used form of survey. The reasons for this development are easy to identify: online surveys allow data to be collected quickly and relatively cost-effectively. Web-based survey solutions are now used in a variety of areas.
The ESC’s range of services extends beyond simply generating and publishing web-based questionnaires. The ESC is an efficient project management software for online feedback processes that allows all manner of survey projects, regardless of complexity, to be managed swiftly and effectively.
- Team administration and project management
- Content and design of online surveys
- International surveys
- Routing and filtering
- Recruitment of survey participants
- Import and management of survey participant data
- Survey monitoring
- Data quality maintenance
- Results analysis, reporting & data export
Team administration and project management
In the ESC, all processes for organizing, implementing and evaluating online surveys can be controlled from a centralized administration console that features user administration within a rights management system for team members. Content that can be used for multiple projects, for example frequently-used standard questions, invitation texts and questionnaire designs can be stored in libraries. Each survey has individualized participant administration, questionnaire content and design, field monitoring and reporting. The project management functions of the ESC increase the long-term processing efficiency of survey projects – regardless of whether an individual user or an entire team is operating the software.
Content and design of online surveys
More than 25 different question types with closed or open response options are provided for creating engaging survey content. They can be inserted into survey pages and flexibly combined with one another. The design of the questionnaires is flexible. The survey design – the layout, questions, page setup or navigation elements – can be adapted to any design specifications on a survey-by-survey basis. Once a template has been created, the questionnaire layout can be applied to any future survey project. The ESC also provides wide-ranging options for using multimedia content in surveys. Images, video material and sound clips can be used to create an innovative survey design.
The ESC was developed with international surveys in mind. The software facilitates the translation of questionnaire content into several languages and provides interfaces with common translation software solutions. This feature eliminates errors caused by manual manipulation and translating the survey content into multiple languages. The survey itself can be carried out in just about any language – even complex characters such as Chinese or Cyrillic are displayed without errors.
Routing and filtering
Sophisticated logic and branching capabilities within the ESC help participants navigate through the questionnaires. The software uses filters, triggers and hiding conditions to guide participants through the questionnaire as quickly as possible. The software reacts to response behaviour and only shows users questions that are relevant to them. The ESC also supports complex filter processes: for example, questions can be linked to user-specific information.
Recruitment of survey participants
The ESC supports different recruitment methods for survey participants. Anonymous surveys, such as those conducted on web sites, enable any respondent to participate in the survey. A special function integrated in the ESC readily facilitates for this purpose, making it possible to randomly invite website visitors via a popup or layer window to participate in the survey. In the event that a survey is to be administered to a known list of respondents, a personalized survey can be quickly and easily created within the ESC. Contrary to an anonymous survey, a unique web link is generated via which each invited user can access the survey.
Import and management of survey participant data
The corresponding participant data can be imported into the ESC. Once in the system, the participants are invited to take part in the survey with a click of the mouse. The ESC’s participant administration makes it possible to not only personally address the participant and send HTML or text e-mails, but also to check whether someone has already participated in the survey. The system can remind non-participants to participate in the survey and thank those that have completed the survey. The ESC has an e-mail dispatch system that can be used to control the flow of dispatched invitations and reminders as well as the duration and target sample size of the project.
During the survey process, the key data on feedback and results can be monitored. This makes it possible to view the answers to both closed and open questions in real time. The ESC has comprehensive functions to ensure the quality of the results. Before the start of the survey, the software helps the project team to test the survey design. Testers can enter comments and suggestions within the survey layout. Furthermore, it is possible to check the consistency of the questionnaire with automatically generated test data sets. During the survey, plausibility checks can be performed to verify whether the response behaviour of the participants is consistent.
Data quality maintenance
The ESC also enables sophisticated participant quota control. If the required number of participants has been reached in a given target group, additional respondents will be automatically rejected from the survey. After the survey, automatic data cleansing is possible. For example, participants who have answered the questionnaire too quickly can be excluded from further analysis of the results. In the ESC, diagnostic information – for example screen-outs and break-offs – is maintained for subsequent analyses.
Results analysis, reporting & data export
The ESC has extensive analytical options. Data sets can be restricted, split into dimensions, augmented with statistical information and aggregated. The results are displayed in tables and graphics which are summarized in reports that can then be exported as Microsoft Excel or HTML files. The raw data sets can also be exported to a number of formats, such as SPSS, Microsoft Excel, Quantum, CSV and fixed format files.