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Research Blog 2 October 2019

Top 10 Tips for Creating Common Standards for your Team

Collaboration and consistency of objectives within your team, department or organisation is often a vital ingredient in conducting successful research. Not only do common standards ensure that everyone is working to the same guidelines, it also conveys a strong message to the outside world. Here are our 10 top tips on creating common standards and attitudes using Demographix tools:


1. Develop a "trusted brand" look: Get your team to develop a look and feel for your surveys that respondents can learn to trust. Your surveys should reflect the research ethos you are trying to foster and convey. And remember trust can be earned not only through the visual style but also through the tone of words and by showing respect for respondents.

2. Share that developed style internally: Get all your survey designers to share that house style by using the "stylesheet import" tool in the Appearance menu in Demographix. Surveys are no different than print or TV ads in conveying a brand message through style.

3. Test thoroughly before deployment: Go out of your way to test your survey thoroughly – check for conditionality errors such as blank pages; test it on mobiles; check for ambiguity in the questions; does it flow in a logical thought pattern? Above all, ensure it is grammatically correct and spell-checked.

4. Encourage group sign-off on surveys: Use the PDF maker to share the survey content and structure with other team members so they can cast an eye over it. All conditionality is shown in our PDF-maker, so that logic can be checked, and the content of drop-down menus and all other settings will be made visible.

5. Ensure your language connects: Develop a questioning style and conversational tone that is unique to your organisation and appeals to your target market. This can be reflected in the wording of your questions, or by using standardised answer sets. For example, asking a gender question with just Male/Female options will not get accurate data these days, so develop a more inclusive answer list.

6. Get inside the minds of your targets: Adapt your tone to your target market or respondent group and use question types to enhance this. For example, using smileys, star-ratings and card sort questions will appeal to a younger mobile-oriented global audience. Older users may find them flippant or non-serious.

7. Develop a more longitudinal perspective: Run regular surveys with similar content to track changes of thought or opinion over time. You can re-use an existing survey simply by duplicating it and then making any changes that reflect market/social movement since the last survey. This can build up a serious repertoire with regular respondents who want to give ongoing feedback.

8. Share complex question wording with colleagues: Use our Scrapbook and Answer list features to share commonly used questions with colleagues. This can help you standardise demographic breaks (age brackets, location lists, occupations) across your organisation and over time. You can also share typical questions about your brands, or the wording of terms and conditions or explanatory texts.


9. Publish and check the data: As a final part of your survey building process, publish your survey and get your team to add test responses. Look at the data in the Analysis to ensure you will get the results you need. Can you cut the data in the ways you want? Don't forget to unpublish, to clear the test data, and republish before you actually deploy the survey.

10. Plaudits spread the best practice message: Finally, give feedback and accolades where due! Has someone created a stand-out survey with clever routing and creative ideas for better engagement? Let the rest of the team know – that's how to spread the knowledge!