Using Survey Research To Evaluate Communications Campaigns
This paper outlines the questions you need to ask in the design stages of a communications campaign to make sure you are doing survey research only when you need it. It includes a brief overview of the different types of survey methodologies and their advantages and disadvantages.
According to the paper, these are the three main requirements for a survey to produce meaningful results:
- You have a targeted, identifiable audience whose attitudes can be measured.
- You need to know more about how your media or other outreach affected an audience’s awareness and feelings. (Unlike attitudes, behavior can be measured in other ways.)
- High levels of resources are spent communicating to a narrowly defined audience.
Some further questions explored in the paper should help you decide whether survey research is an effective and practical choice, as opposed to e.g. content analysis (measuring quantity and quality of media exposure), or counting website hits or signatures on a petition.
- Can you clearly define your audience for communication? Can you find
the audience members?
- Is your audience targeted enough for you to reach with available resources?
- Do you have a definite period in which your audience is receiving
- Is there a more direct way to evaluate the audience and its response to your communication? Are there alternative measures that make more sense?
The paper goes on to discuss briefly three types of survey and their methodologies:
- Benchmark polls define where an audience stands in order either to inform a communications strategy or to set a marker for future polling of the same audience.
- Pre and post polls are taken just before your campaign begins and just after it ends to measure recall of your communications: both whether the audience recalls it at all, and, if they do, what they specifically remember.
- Tracking surveys are polls that take place during campaign activities involving roughly the same number of interviews every day for a given period, in order to discover which message or type of media breaks through.