At first, I felt like this was going to be an absolute nuisance… scrambling to find people to complete my dissertation survey. Worrying I was going to struggle to find a diverse group of people to take part. Asking myself questions like.. How many people do I actually need? What if I don’t get enough people for my research to be actually valid?
However, like anything I took my time, I researched the best possible methods .. and in actual fact, some of the ways I found may be quite useful to those still searching for additional respondents now and in the future.
- Social Media
Yea I get it, you are probably thinking “duh……. Obviously I’m going to post it on my social media”. Well, of course, you will, but doesn’t mean I am going to just leave it out.
The reason for this is because it is of utmost importance that not only have you posted to social media on your own feed, but you get your friends and family members to share the absolute…..out of your post. Reaching as many news feeds as possible means the more chance of gaining respondents… although that is sort of a given. I don’t just mean Facebook either, you are going to want to reach out on Instagram, Linkedin, Twitter and any other platforms you might feel beneficial.
- Make sure this isn’t a one-off thing, regularly share your social media survey posts to keep them up to date on everyone’s newsfeed for the people that may have missed it in the first place.
The Qualtrics software that Ulster University use for their surveys allows you to create an Email Contact list. Once the Qualtrics Survey email is sent out you will receive
notifications through the address of your choice to tell you when you have received an additional response.
This is useful if you have friends or members of your family that may have access to a large number of Email addresses. For example, my sister works at Google in Dublin and she was able to distribute my survey through Email within her department. Obviously not everybody has this luxury, however, it is still important to note it as a possibility for respondents.
In addition to this, generally through the years growing up you may have acquired a number of Email addresses, digging these out from the archives and including them in the Email contact list will do no harm.
- The Student Room / Reddit
For those who don’t know, The Student Room is the UK’s biggest student online community where you can discuss anything from student finance right through to personal issues.
Not only this however, they actually have dedicated forums called ‘The Survey Exchange’ within the website, this allows students to post their survey on the discussion board and other students
will complete their survey in ‘Exchange’ for doing theirs.
Reddit is an American social news and discussion website, I’ve no doubt that you have all heard of it.. So I won’t dwell on it too long. Similar to The Student Room however, Reddit offers a forum to post your survey, on Reddit specifically this is called ‘SampleSize’ and since this website is extremely active and majority American based, it is a chance for you to reach out further afield than the UK.
- When doing this, make sure like social media to ‘bump’ your thread on the forums so that it is regularly popping up on the website homepage for people to see. This can be done by reposting on your own discussion something along the lines of ‘Still in need of responses’. This will help to generate views of your forum post and in turn, increase survey respondents.
- The Survey Tandem
Honestly, I don’t speak for others who use this website but since stumbling upon it I think it’s great. It involves a ‘Survey Exchange’ nature like The Student Room, however this website runs on a currency called ‘Tandem Miles’. When you first sign up to the website, you are prompted to add the title of your Survey, provide a short description of your survey and declare who your survey is for (e.g. Age restrictions, social media users etc.) and then provide the link to your survey.
The catch however, is in order for your survey to stay active on the website and therefore receive respondents you have to earn Tandem Miles and in order to earn Tandem Miles you have to carry out other peoples surveys. Each time someone completes your survey you are charged Tandem Miles. Once your tandem miles rune low your survey becomes inactive and you have to complete more to earn more miles again. This then strikes the vicious cycle of the website, people constantly carrying out each other’s surveys in order for their own to generate respondents. Quite a neat idea if you ask me.
- Within a week, every morning I woke up I would take around 8 Surveys on the website to earn my ‘Miles’ and to ensure mine stayed active on the site for that day. Each night I would check my progress and often I had 4 or 5 extra respondents sometimes 7+. This may not seem like a lot, but for only taking up 15 minutes of your day, it is very useful and before you know it the respondents will add up.
I hope that for some of the people reading this, they were completely unaware of these methods and therefore found this useful. I hope that this blog post has encouraged you if you have not already to try out the methods and hopefully they will aid you with your dissertation research like they have done me! Good luck! 🙂
Matthew Johnston is a BSc in Communication Management and Public Relations final year student at Ulster University. He can be found on Facebook at: Matthew Johnston and on Linkedin at: https://www.linkedin.com/in/matthew-johnston-172055153/