A well-thought-out data analysis plan enables for effective market research to be conducted. A data analysis plan can help organize and analyze your survey data. Below are steps often implemented to ensure an effective plan is being developed.
Step 1: Validating/Editing
Validation is often considered an integral step in the data processing stage of a market research project. The objective of validation is to verify if the survey was conducted as intended. Validation helps detect any interviewer fraud or failure to follow key instructions.
To validate these online surveys, a certain percentage of each interviewers’ respondents are re-contacted to determine:
- Was this the actual person interviewed
- The person interviewed qualified the screening criteria
- Interview was conducted in the required manner
- The questions in the survey were adequately addressed – Questions were programmed correctly
Through the validation process, it can answer whether or not the correct demographic data was provided, data consistency, and whether the entire survey was completed. A researcher can determine if the survey addresses its target demographics. The editing process enables a researcher to check for incomplete answers, especially in regards to open-ended questions.
Step 2: Coding
This process involves grouping and assigning numeric codes to the various responses to a particular question. “Coding is defined as marking the segment of data with symbols, descriptive words, or category names”(Johnson). Coding helps process data to address certain objectives. Close-ended are pre-coded prior to fieldwork, which means numeric codes have been assigned to the various responses on the questionnaire. However, open-ended questions will be tougher to code because the questions were phased in a manner where the research either had no idea to expect or wanted a richer response.
Coded Open Ended Responses Process
- List Reponses
- Consolidate Responses
- Set Codes
- Enter Codes
Step 3: Data Entry
The next step is data entry and begins when questionnaires have been validated, edited, and coded. Data entry will enable researchers to convert received information to a form that can be read by the computer. Researchers perform data entry through means of intelligent entry systems. These systems are programmed to prevent certain errors at the point of entry. These errors include invalid or wild codes and violation of skip patterns.
Step 4: Logical Cleaning of data
Once all the data has been entered and stored, Researchers must do final checking before proceeding to the tabulation and statistical analysis. Logical cleaning of data will provide a final computerized error checking of data. Cleaning will be executed through error checking routines and marginal reports.
Step 5: Tabulation and Statistical Analysis
Researchers will begin its analysis with a one-way frequency table. This tables shows the number of respondents who gave each possible answer to each survey question. In addition to generating frequencies, the table will be able to indicate the percentage of those responding who gave each possible response to a question. One issue that arises with one-way frequency tables is choosing a base to use for the percentages for each table.
- Total respondents
- Number of people of asked the particular question
- Number of people answering the question
Next step is cross tabulations. Cross Tabulations provide an “examination of the responses to one question relative to the other responses to one or more other questions” (McDaniel, C., & Gates, R.). Cross Tabulations will provide researchers the ability to analyze relationships between two or more variables. Cross tabulations should incorporate research objectives and hypothesis. Through cross tabulations, results can present an entire group of respondents or can be presented in sub-groups. Cross tabulations will provide researchers the ability to customize result findings to present to executives.
McDaniel, C., & Gates, R. (2013). Marketing research essentials (8th ed.). Hoboken, N.J.: Wiley
Johnson, B. Retrieved from http://www.southalabama.edu/coe/bset/johnson/lectures/lec17.pdf