If you have created a questionnaire, interpreting data trends will soon be the next step. In fact, most would say that this is the most exciting and important step of all. After you have rolled out your online questionnaire, interpreting data trends is what will allow you to find the trends that you were hoping to find – or those that you never expected. It is now that you will start to see all the important relationships that you needed to move towards making better decisions on a strategic level.
However, once you have completed your questionnaire, interpreting data trends also means you have to take a step back first. What is the big picture? What did you try to achieve when you decide to survey respondents? Did you manage to meet those objectives with the tools you had available to you? Have you got the right sort of data and, most important of all, do you have enough data to go beyond statistical probability?
For some people who have written a questionnaire, interpreting data trends is the period where they decide to completely rewrite their instruments, thinking they have done it all wrong. However, no matter how much or what kind of data you have collected, it will be useful in some way. There are a few mistakes that you should avoid though. After all, once you have written your online survey, interpreting data trends means that you have to work with what you were given. The common mistakes include:
• Reading between the lines
• Answering questions that weren’t asked
Remember that you only know if you asked, that you should never change data because you made design mistakes and that you should never think your data is applicable to those who didn’t respond. Keep those things in mind and you will have a great time interpreting the data you have collected and working through the meaning of the results.