Surveys are how we learn what people think, they’re an essential tool for developing an understanding of public opinion and how to take action based on feedback. But regardless of how strong your survey is, if you don’t fully understand how to analyze and contextualize the raw data your efforts may have been in vain.
In this article, we’ll show you how to make sense of your data by learning how to write a survey report. Being aware of their structure and recommended content is a surefire way for you to make sense of your data and present it in a comprehensible fashion.
What is a survey report?
A survey report is a write-up of the results of a survey. It describes the survey, the results obtained, and the patterns and trends that the data reveals.
How to write a survey report
Here are some tips for the best way to write a survey report. The following guidelines were gladly provided by academic essay experts from SmartWritingService.com; a professional writing service for college and university students.
1. Use headings and subheadings to break up the report
Using headings and subheadings to break up the report will make it easier to follow and also help your audience to find the information they need quickly and efficiently.
While there is no set list of heading standards for a survey report, you will typically want to identify your executive summary, background, methodology, results, and conclusions. Audiences will expect to be able to find these easily.
Then package all these headings together with their page number to create a table of contents. Making it easy for stakeholders to navigate and reference.
2. Begin with an executive summary
Your report should start with an executive summary that summarizes the entire report in 1-2 pages. The executive summary is a brief breakdown of everything you will cover later in the report.
By the time your audience finishes reading the executive summary, they should be able to predict the content of the entire report. Be sure to include a discussion of your methodology, key findings, and conclusions.
Don’t hold important facts back for the full report just because you think it will entice the reader. Be upfront instead.
3. List your objectives in the background section
Be sure to let the reader know why you conducted the survey. Explain what you hoped to find, the hypotheses that you used to answer the question, and how you envision the results being used in the future.
The goal of this section is to explain the purpose, aims, and limitations of your survey.
Why is this important? Well, the context of a student survey, an employee feedback survey, and a net promoter score survey are all entirely different. Each type of survey has different goals and purposes. This section prepares your readers for the context of your own research and helps manage their own expectations.
4. Compare your survey to past work in order to provide context
Look for other surveys that have touched on similar areas. How are their results similar or different? What accounts for any differences?
What gaps did you find in prior surveys that your own survey fills? Explain to the audience how past work connects to your own work.
5. Explain how you conducted the survey
The methodology section should give a complete overview of how you conducted the survey. You need to explain in detail:
- how you developed your questions
- how you selected a target audience
- the methods you used to contact your survey respondents (e.g. paper questionnaire or online survey tool)
- how you encouraged responses during data collection (e.g. did you offer an incentive)
- your process to analyze data
The more specific you are about your methodology, the better. Ideally, the reader should be able to recreate your entire method just by reading what you’ve written.
There’s also an opportunity here to discuss any response bias your survey may have been exposed to, what measures you took to avoid it and what bias was unavoidable.
6. Don’t put the questions in the methodology
It can be tempting to simply list all of the questions in the methodology section, but that is not where they belong.
Instead, you should place the questions in an appendix as part of a copy of your survey instrument. Typically, this will be Appendix A of your survey report.
7. Separate the results and the analysis
The results of the survey should be reported in their own section. In that section, you will go through the questions, explain the results, and provide an overview of the data you obtained from the survey. It’s a good idea here to include pie charts (and other chart types) so your readers can easily visualize your results.
While it is tempting to also use this section to tell the audience what the results mean, your data analysis should be placed in its own section so you can separate the factual information from the inferences and conclusions drawn.
8. Identify trends in the results section
The results section should indicate trends in the data, showing the reader what the survey question responses indicate.
For example, are there demographic trends in the data aligned to age, gender, race, or political affiliation? Did some questions receive more uniform answers than others? What might this mean?
9. Include recommendations based on survey results
Be sure to explain to the reader what the survey results suggest should be the next step, whether that is a policy change, a change in marketing strategy, or a change in outreach efforts, etc.
Think about your audience and what they need to do based on what you’ve learned. What needs to change? Why should it change?
10. Consider professional writing services
Writing a survey results paper can be challenging, and having a professional help college students like you to write academic papers can make a major difference.
You can find survey report samples and writing examples on the internet. But help from paper writing services allows you to devote energy to developing and conducting your survey, knowing that you’ll be able to offload the report write-up to an expert custom writing service.