Presenting the results of a survey is more than showing a list of questions and answers. Raw data from a survey can be complicated, and presented outside of context can be confusing for the viewer. Because of this, you should use the survey data to create a series of results reports. Create each report so it’s useful for specific audience types or at a specific points in presenting the information. In this way you present the survey results in a manner that gets the most coverage among the greatest number of people who would find those results useful.
Create a preliminary report that covers the general use for the survey. Include the survey objectives, the methodology used to get the answers for the survey, and a list of survey questions. Make sure that you report any definitive results from the survey and cover major dissenting viewpoints as well as any requested recommendations from those commissioning the survey. The preliminary report is a limited report for mostly internal use, and does not necessarily include definitive survey analysis.
Write an executive summary using the survey data. Condense and refine the information contained in the preliminary report for the summary. The summary contains finalized information including recommendations and analysis of the data. Do not concentrate on technical analysis, instead using the raw data to present conclusions from the survey. Include a generalized description of the survey process, list the steps taken and the methods used to come up with the report conclusions.
Create a technical report using the data. The technical report is the definitive survey report and contains all relevant information from the survey. Include the information covered in the executive summary, expanding on any minor results.
Create a section in the technical report detailing the actual survey process. Include a sample of the questionnaire used. Cover the sampling techniques and field process involved in taking the survey. Cover in detail the statistical analysis technique used, with particular attention paid towards how representative the sample population is of the general population.
Complete the technical report with a summary of the major survey results with a comparison of these results to other surveys covering the same information. Explain the causes of differences between your survey and others.
Add an appendix to the end of the technical report that includes the results in numerical form and any references used for the survey data.
Release the technical report to all those with authorized access, and be prepared to defend your results to questioning.
Larry Simmons is a freelance writer and expert in the fusion of computer technology and business. He has a B.S. in economics, an M.S. in information systems, an M.S. in communications technology, as well as significant work towards an M.B.A. in finance. He's published several hundred articles with Demand Studios.