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What is 100% keyverification? For maximum integrity, always insist that data is 100% keyverified. This process involves double-keying all responses. The survey responses are entered once, then again by a second, independent entry operator. The verifier is informed of any discrepancies, and corrects any errors. The process is not perfect, but typically yields an extremely high accuracy rate of 99.7%. Does my questionnaire have to be formatted in a certain way for data entry purposes? Pre-assignment of column locations (or "precoding") was the rule for many years. Today, with the use of computer data entry programs, the operator can be prompted on screen with question text, field names, or other prompts to guide them through a complicated survey. Printing of column locations is generally no longer necessary, and surveys can be produced without any strict formatting requirements. However, we always recommend having us preview a survey draft before final printing or fielding. There may be minor modifications we can suggest to facilitate the data entry process. What types of respondent errors are typically corrected in the editing process? The primary goal in editing is to prepare the surveys for data entry. Responses given in terms like "75-100%" or "most of the time" when asked for a single numeric response are typically caught and dealt with in the editing phase. Stray comments written in the margins of a survey may have important consequences on the interpretation of responses. Sometimes action items, such as "please call me about my bill" or "change my address", need to be immediately communicated back to your company. There are some tasks best suited to humans, and some best left for computers to handle. Complicated skip patterns and instructions are often dealt with in later processing. Computer cleaning instructions can be objectively applied to all surveys based on a few simple rules. How are open-end questions coded? The coding process usually begins with a "comment summary" (a list of paraphrased verbatim responses from a portion of completed surveys). From the comment summary, numeric codes are assigned for the most frequently occurring response categories. Client input is always an important facet of the coding process. From development and approval of the "codebook", questions about technical terms used, or any other questions about respondents' comments, we are always in contact with you during the coding stage. Our goal in coding is to provide thorough, informed interpretation of responses, while remaining objective through the coding process. What are marginals? Marginals (also known as "straight-tabs", "frequencies", "freqs", "top-line", "hole-counts") are simple frequency distributions of your data. They are generally unlabeled, except for references to data locations (cards and columns). Typically, they are a preliminary step used to verify quotas, check data for errors, or provide counts and percentages for the total sample. If your budget is tight, you may choose to stop here, and use the marginals for further analysis. What are crosstabs? Crosstabs (also know as crosstabulations, data tables, banner books, etc.) present your results in a familiar table format. Results are shown for the total sample, as well as "crossed" or sorted by various sub-groups (i.e., demographics) for analysis. The "banner" is the set of column headings across the page. Each "banner point" is an important sub-group of your sample. Banner points may be demographics (Male vs. Female) or based on a response to any survey question (Users vs. Non-Users), or any combination of responses ("Male users who live in the Northeast). Crosstabs are typically fully-labeled, showing your survey results in a concise, yet easy-to-read format. If you prefer, we can take the initiative and provide you with tables following a format that, based on our experience, our clients find most useful. Or we can follow your specifications to the letter. Please feel free to visit the Reporting section of our website to see examples of crosstabs.
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