Survey Research: Project Costs

The cost of any given survey project depends upon a multitude of factors and can vary dramatically from project to project, ranging from the economical self-administered online surveys to the more costly in-person interview surveys. The expenses of a given project, however, extend beyond the implementation of the actual survey, but also involve pre-survey planning, ongoing data scrutiny during the course of the project, and post-survey data cleaning, processing, tabulation, and analysis.

Typically researchers approach survey costs on a per-interview basis, ie: the cost required to implement a single survey, which is influenced by factors such as the length and complexity of the process, the clarity of questions asked, and the ease of survey navigation. A poorly designed survey can affect a respondent’s willingness to complete the process, requiring additional time, effort and finances to meet the respondent quota required to produce high-quality data.

The data collector implementing the in-person survey also represents a significant project cost. The utilization of research staff for this purpose (particularly if the survey takes place across a number of disparate geographies) can incur prohibitive travel costs; obtaining staff from a temporary agency might reduce time in the field as well as travel expenses, but can require a significant additional investment in training and supervision. The use of experienced part-time survey workers from an agency dedicated to the research sector is frequently found to be an optimal solution, reducing the required costs for travel, training, and supervision.

Join us next week for: Survey Research: Data Quality

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