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Student Research: A Guide To Achieving Better Research

A student research project is a big part of every student’s life and carrying out good research is an essential part of the process. If you have to complete a dissertation as part of your degree, then online survey software could be the tool you need to score top marks!

Student research projects raise important concerns, such as:

  • Where will you find the most useful information for your research?
  • What is the best method for collecting the information?
  • How do you handle and analyse the information once you have collected it?

Nowadays, online survey software lets students gather the data they need for their research projects in easy to manage formats.To help you get started, we have put together some helpful guidelines on the basic process of survey research:

students-infront-of-laptop Student Research

Define your student research objectives

One mistake that is easy to make with student research surveys is asking too many questions. This often happens from not fully analysing the survey objectives. One of the biggest issues in survey research can be poor response rate. Clear and concise questionnaires will greatly enhance the chance of getting the best response.

Identify your target audience and sample size

A common response rate for external surveys can be around 15% to 20%, depending on who your target audience is. The completion rate has historically been viewed as a significant gauge of the quality of the survey. When selecting your target audience, be aware of survey fatigue. It is preferable not to send surveys to selected groups who may have been targeted with surveys recently, they may not wish to participate again.

Decide on distribution methods

Design the questionnaire to suit your needs and describe to the target audience the benefits of taking part in the survey. Explaining this well can improve the response rate. Where the questionnaire is sent by e-mail, it is usual practice to provide an introduction that explains what the questionnaire is about and the value in completing it.

Design your questionnaire

Online survey services are an increasingly popular way to create, distribute and analyse questionnaires. You can create your survey by selecting from a variety of question types, such as drop-down menus, customised matrix tables, and multiple choices. Options available allow you to control the flow with custom skip logic and even randomize answer choices to eliminate bias.

Carry out a pilot survey

If possible, and time allows, test the questionnaire on a small sample of your subjects first. This can help identify any flaws in your questioning and give you chance to correct them before sending out the main survey.

Survey distribution

Decide on your deadline for distribution, with allowances for sending out reminders or carrying out any follow up. For added promotion and improved response rates, it can be beneficial to publicise your survey in various ways such as via social media, articles in suitable magazines and announcements on appropriate websites.

Analyse the data

With most online survey plans, you can turn your results into custom graphs and charts or extract the data into spreadsheets for further analysis. Download or print your reports, or share access with others by sending them a password-protected link so that they can view the results for themselves.

This help article outlines basic guidelines for using online surveys as a tool for carrying out student research projects. Students are usually allowed to conduct research via online platforms, provided that they abide by the Terms of Use as stated by each individual service provider.

Please remember that potential survey participants must be given sufficient information to allow them to decide whether or not they want to take part in a research study. Ask respondents to agree to a consent statement which outlines your data transfer practices, privacy policy, or any other relevant information. Read our blog on a Guide to creating GDPR compliant surveys and remember, respondents should be given an option to withdraw from a survey if they so choose.

We hope this guide has been of use. Students can use SmartSurvey's free Basic Account or sign up to our Student Account at a discounted price. This exclusive Student Account is fully loaded with all the features and benefits of a Professional Account but discounted by 50%.


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