How Creating Surveys Helped Me Become a Better Researcher

Nov 20, 2018 · 3 min read

One thing I have learned this semester is how truly rewarding it is to give everything you have to a project and then see the results. As the Quantitative Research Director, I knew my biggest task would be building surveys.

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Brainstorming surveys with Dr. C during our immersion trip to Pineville. | Source: David Smith

I did not quite know how big of a task that would be.

When we got back to Morgantown after our immersion trip, my workload tripled. I got really great feedback from Dr. Colistra, but once I started entering the surveys into Qualtrics I began to realize how intense the process would be. A part of our research was to gather information on color and logo preferences from Pineville community members, as well as ATV riders. We decided to present each logo style on different swag. This was to showcase how each logo can look different depending on the product it is placed on. In order to keep the team from swaying the opinion of respondents, we had to make sure the logos were presented correctly.

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One of the images built for the survey showcasing a possible logo style.

Our Brand Manager, Sam, helped me a lot during the logo process. She taught herself (and then me) how to convert files. That was a big help! It took probably 10 hours of work, and I vividly remember a time when I got off the phone with Dr. Colistra, shed a tear and then got right back to work.

There is a lot that goes into making sure your research is sound. We had to ensure that every respondent was over the age of 18. It sounds like a simple task but it wasn’t. Dr. Colistra spent hours teaching herself a complex branch pattern to ensure that those who were not 18 were taken to the end of the survey, and were also not allowed to enter to win the incentive. My knowledge in Qualtrics grew a lot during this process, but I would not have been able to do it all alone. I am so thankful for Dr. Colistra for never hesitating to help me, but for also making sure I was getting better at Qualtrics every day. Without her help and guidance, our research would have really suffered.

We’re all going to encounter stressful times in our lives. Below, you’ll find my top three tips for producing quality work no matter how stressed you are:

  1. Stay organized!

My biggest tip for this is to use a planner. Being able to write down due dates and set deadlines for myself has been a huge help.

2. Don’t be afraid to ask for help.

Dr. Colistra was a HUGE help to me throughout this entire process. She was always happy to answer any questions I had, and we spent a lot of time brainstorming off of each other to really fine tune the surveys. I am a fiercely independent woman, but there was no way I could have done this on my own. Working with Dr. C really helped me grow as a person and as a research director. I can’t say enough how thankful I am for her!

3. Edit. Edit. Edit.

You’d be amazed at how many typos you can miss if you only look through something once. Read through everything multiple times. Have your boyfriend read through it (like I did…several times). Send it to your team. The more eyes the better!

My name is Carly Smith, and I am a research director and social media director for BrandJRNY’s #BrandPineville team. One time I made eye contact with Taylor Swift, and I’m still not over it. Follow me through our journey — @Carlyjo30

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