Choosing a collection methodology for your survey

There are three methodologies available for your survey data collection. If you are using the free Snapshot survey, you can choose one of these. The Essentials and In Depth packages allow you to choose multiple methodologies.

Below is a guide to help you choose which methodology will work best for you and your organisation

Face to face (interviewer-led) surveys

Face to face surveys can be a good approach for organisations who do not have email addresses for their audiences and need to collect survey responses on the day of a visit/event. This approach works well for organisations that have a steady flow of visitors, while it may be less appropriate for events where audiences arrive and leave at the same time.

They require you to recruit and manage your own fieldworkers to carry out the survey.

For a representative sample, the survey responses should be collected consistently across your programme.

Good sampling practice is important to ensure a representative sample and minimise bias; we have guidance available and can provide training for your fieldworkers on request.

i) Interviewer-led exit survey via paper questionnaire

We will create a pdf version of your survey which you can print and use to collect responses.

Responses will need to be manually entered into your Audience Answers dashboard; this can take longer than you expect and will need to be allocated a reasonable amount of time.

ii) Interviewer-led exit survey via tablet

Audience Answers has an integrated survey app that allows you to collect survey responses both online and offline. As it’s a browser-based application, you don’t need to download or install any specialist software. All you need to do to get started is click the survey link provided during your set-up when in Wi-Fi range. As long as you have accessed the link online once, via your tablet’s browser, you will then be able switch to offline data collection.

All responses are stored securely within your browser’s cache. Once the tablet is back within Wi-Fi range, responses can be uploaded to Audience Answers.

Post visit e-survey

This methodology is worth considering if you collect email addresses from your audience, e.g. through ticket sales. It’s likely to be the best approach for organisations where the type of event may make it difficult to conduct face-to-face interviews, e.g. a theatre where audiences arrive and leave at the same time.

We would recommend sending surveys to your audiences monthly or quarterly, or (if capacity allows) immediately after their visit. This helps ensure respondents remember their visit clearly and give more meaningful responses. It also allows you to analyse your data more regularly – which when used alongside your other data sources, such as ticketing data, web analytics and social media data, helps you to be as audience-centred as possible.

We would advise against only surveying your audiences annually. This likely involves surveying many visitors who attended over 6 months ago, meaning the visit is less familiar and the data gathered is, therefore, less robust. This strategy also limits your ability to quickly interpret and use insights.

When using box office information to send out the survey, you may want to consider sampling your audience to avoid survey fatigue from regular attendees.

The pros and cons

Pros Cons
Face-to-face (paper, tablet) Gives good quality data
Most likely to provide a representative sample
Can provide staff/volunteers with useful transferable skills
Response rates are known during the event
Fieldworkers require research and interviewer training
Not appropriate for all events
Data entry can be time-consuming
Post visit E-survey Cheaper to resource as no staff are required to administer the survey
Can include a higher number of questions than the face-to-face survey
No survey response data entry required
Low response rate (max 20/25%)
Sample likely to be biased, unless completion of the e-survey is incentivised
Time required to set up email send out

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