In the first and second installments, we talked about establishing objectives, assessing available resources, collecting data and executing your approach. In this final installment, we will walk through some considerations for using and presenting your data.
Remember, you can approach anything in your association, chamber or non-project using research principles, whether HR, events, or client relations. Data is more than just your finances and budget forecasting.
Step 5: Using Your Data
There are many different ways to use or present your data, including graphs, quotes, averages, etc. Consider ways that will resonate with your audience while also staying true to the data. For example, you may have designed a survey that now allows you to graph quantitative member satisfaction, as well as present follow-up qualitative quotes to better describe the findings for actionable next steps:
To better understand why females were more dissatisfied, we asked them to describe their experience:
“When I call the main office, the receptionist is not always friendly and doesn’t know who to direct me to.”
“I cannot find up-to-date event information on your website and emails are often not returned quickly.”
Possible conclusions and next steps:
Overall a majority of participants were satisfied. The organization may address some challenges clients are facing by providing better customer service and regular updates to our website. The staff will create sample responses for common questions to use on the phone and in email, and designate someone for regular website maintenance.
One popular research saying is “correlation does not equal causation,” or in other words, when two things are associated it does not necessarily mean one caused the other. So be mindful of the conclusions you are drawing given the limitations of your data! For instance, do you have a sample size or number of participants/data points to draw that conclusion? Remember interpretation is a bias activity; so be thoughtful about what your findings could mean as well as any unintended consequences.
- It is important to use your findings to inform decisions within your organization. Consider creating an action plan to implement what you’ve learned from the findings.
- When presenting your data, it is essential to watch confidentiality and be mindful of any private information that may be interpreted in different ways. Could a business or individual be inadvertently identified from the context of their response?
- Behavior and responses can change overtime, so presenting information continuously may be helpful. There could be findings later that you did not anticipate—maybe successes from your initial “Get-to-Know New Businesses” efforts are now identifiable 4-6 months later instead of within the first 2 weeks.