Surveying is a key specialism of Pye Tait’s. Our approach typically commences with a discussion to clarify the specific aims and objectives of the survey, the intended target audience, information relating to the population and the confidence level required of the data. After identifying this information we construct a sample frame based on the most recent population data available. Where required, we also conduct surveys based on sample frames provided by our clients.
We have undertaken surveying – of customers, businesses, staff, educational establishments, students, etc – since 1991 and have completed literally hundreds of postal, telephone and online commissions.
Under our ISO 9001-2008 quality system we work strictly to the Market Research Society Code of Practice and to the additional quality standards of ISO 20252.
Responses to the surveys we run on behalf of our clients can be acquired via the post, email, online or via telephone. Each technique has its advantages and we usually advise our clients of the best approach based on a number of elements, such as, the resources available, the speed with which the survey results need to be known, timing issues, as well as any budgetary constraints.
We consider the characteristics of the target audience very carefully before determining the most appropriate method of conducting a survey. For example, in annual satisfaction surveys conducted with apprentices and employers for a major training provider in the building services engineering sector, we provide postal and online survey questionnaires. This enables apprentices to complete the survey on their PCs, smartphones or tablets, while tradespeople accustomed to more traditional communication methods receive a postal form for return to our freepost address.
Our comprehensive data cleaning procedures ensure we are able to provide our clients with anonymous raw datasets, as we have in recent years for organisations such as Ofqual and a number of Sector Skills Councils.
Just about every survey we design these days has a supporting online presence so that we can reach a greater number of respondents and enable them to take part in a survey at a time and via a medium most convenient to them – and, indeed, come back to the survey at a later time having saved the partially completed questionnaire.
Online surveys rely on valid email addresses so that the survey link can be distributed to the sample targeted. It is also possible to promote online surveys via clients’ and their stakeholders’ websites or any other communications material – but it is better to have an up to date list of email addresses.
There are no limits on how many individuals can complete an online survey – and the survey can include open and closed questions as well as multi-choice and Likert scale responses – in fact we often exceed our target sample.
Our telephone survey work has increased markedly over the past few years. The most recent of these resulted in over 3,000 extremely detailed responses.
The latter survey was highly stratified and segmented. The client wanted an exact number of responses, of an exactly specified type, for specific regions of the UK and for specified areas of London.
Exceptionally, this required almost 17,000 phone calls. All targets were met and two full reports generated within a very tight four-month deadline.
None of our telephone work is subcontracted. It is all carried out by full and part-time Pye Tait staff under strict in-house supervision.
A purely qualitative survey focuses on open-ended questions designed to elicit subjective feedback from carefully selected participants. It can be unstructured – very similar to an in-depth interview script – or it can be relatively tightly specified to cover a defined range of issues.
The interview usually takes place over the telephone or electronically, for example by email – but it can also be delivered in the form of an on-line survey or face-to-face.
Depending on the scale of the survey the data are usually coded prior to analysis. In some cases we will use content analysis to refine and identify key ideas and concepts.