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How to Write a Survey Analysis


If you want to know what people think about a subject, surveys are some of the most useful research tools you could ask for. Surveys are relatively easy to conduct and, depending on the subject matter, can be fun for participants to complete. The more challenging part of survey research is the analysis component. Not only do survey results need to be computed and added up, they also need to be analyzed against the respondent pool's demographic information. This statistical evaluation process is the main challenge in writing a survey analysis, as the writing process is relatively straightforward.

Ask your front-end researchers to provide you with the survey data. Ask for basic data (the statistical breakdown on the percentage of questions answered in which way) as well as cross tab data (percentages of people from different demographic groups choosing certain answers). If you conducted the surveys yourself, retrieve them from your computer or paper storage space.

Take notes on the survey results. Look for general trends in the data. For example, if you notice that more elderly survey takers were generally more likely to be politically conservative, then write a note of that on your word processor or notebook. Make as many of these observations as you can, to guarantee an idea-rich paper.

Write an executive summary. Type up a one-page introduction that will tell your readers what to expect in the paper. Include a general overview of each section (your reason for doing the research, the types of questions, how respondents were selected, final results). Include a comment on whether or not the findings supported your research hypothesis.

Write a section on the purpose of the research. Write who has commissioned the report, what their objective was for the research and how the survey was designed to achieve this goal. If you did the research yourself for an academic paper, simply state that your purpose was to derive solid data on the subject at hand.

Describe the questions that were asked on the survey. Describe the survey sections (e.g., demographics, political party, voting history, plans for next election) as well as the types of questions asked (multiple choice, true/false and scaled answer questions). Write a paragraph on each question section and question type.

Type up a section where you describe the results. Divide this section into two subsections: raw results and cross tab results. In the raw results section, list the most popular types of answers to survey questions (for example, if most people responded by stating more or less conservative political preferences, describe this in one to two paragraphs). In the cross tab results section, break down the most popular types of responses for people of different demographics (for example, men, women, seniors, the young, Democrats and Republicans). Obtain raw data from the survey forms; obtain cross tabs data using statistical analysis software.

Copy and paste survey results directly into your analysis. Include these data as a separate appendix at the end of the survey. If your statistical analysis software does not let you copy and paste tables from it, obtain these images by clicking "Print Screen" on your keyboard, then selecting the table you want to extract in MS Paint (the basic image editor that comes with Windows). Once you have selected (highlighted) a table, click "Copy." To paste the table info your analysis, right click on your mouse, and then click "Paste."

About the Author

Based in St. John's, Canada, Andrew Button has been writing since 2008, covering politics, business and finance. He has contributed to newspapers and online magazines, including "The Evening Telegram" and cbc.ca. Button is pursuing a Bachelor of Arts in political science from Memorial University in St. John's.

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