Reasons to Use Demographic Questions in Surveys
Characteristics of a population are called demographics. In context of a survey, these characteristics may include: race, ethnicity, gender, age, education, profession, occupation, income level, and marital status.
At survey designing stage, a surveyor / research generally needs to assess who to survey and how to breakdown overall survey response data into meaningful groups of respondents. Both assessments are based on demographic considerations.
Who to Survey
Deciding who to survey depends on the main topic of the survey itself. For example, when designing a customer satisfaction survey for personal care products of a hypermarket, the survey researcher may determine that only female shoppers will be surveyed. Or, perhaps the researcher would like to narrow the focus and surveys only those females who are between ages 20 to 35. Similarly if a chain of restaurants decides to measure employee satisfaction survey only of the chefs. Then the main respondents will be chefs only rather than the whole staff which would include accounts, marketing and sales or customer care people.
These examples display clear-cut decisions that determine exactly who will receive the survey.
As soon as the survey data is collected, it can be divided into various data groups based on demographic information gathered from the survey. Once again, using the same customer satisfaction survey for a hypermarket, the researcher can group the responses from an individual shoppers with others who used, skin care / hair care products or they picked particular brands, or a general overview. The researcher can also create data analysis in the form of cross tabulations to compare survey data across multiple demographics. When planning and developing the survey, it may also be important to know if the respondent is a first time user of certain products, repeat users, or a brand conscious regular user.
Other useful demographic questions for this study may include: age, gender, experience, and the number of times the shopper has visited the hypermarket. Each of these demographic questions – services used; first time guest, repeat guest, or member; age; gender; experience; and number of visits – can all be included as demographic questions in the customer satisfaction survey.
Collect Meaningful Data
Given the opportunity to collect meaningful data from shoppers, it may be tempting to ask many demographic questions. However, asking too many questions can backfire. Some respondents may become concerned or aggravated by having to answer a large number of demographic questions. Additionally, they may feel that they will compromise their confidentiality, and others may perceive the questions as an invasion of privacy.
Surveyors must thoroughly review all survey questions during the design process. Then decide which demographics would be most critical the study. Choosing proper demographic questions will truly give researchers actionable and meaningful results to assist in making better business decisions.
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