Tips For Receiving Survey Respondents!

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.


  1. 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.


  1. Email

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.


  1. The Student Room / Reddit

MJ12For 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.


  1. 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: 

Social Media Crisis Management

Social Media Crisis Management

Having recently completed the dissertation aspect of my MSc qualification, it seemed timely to revisit the crux of the subject area which I explored, for the purposes of an initial blog.

My area of study focused specifically on social media crisis management, and the technicalities of proactivity, prevention and management.

I set out to analyse, collate and form information (and practical tactics) which could help businesses/organisations/public figures minimise risk and protect reputation during (and in advance of) social media crises.

As a communications consultant I work (on a daily basis) with various clients who operate within the digital sphere. Providing digital consultancy is part of my daily routine, and having worked on large scale crisis projects with commercial clients, I became fascinated by this area of

The hand of business has, in many ways been forced into the age of social media. Businesses are now well aware of the market potential within social media and, with research showing that 82% of people are more likely to trust a company which engages on social media, businesses are left with little choice but to communicate on digital platforms. Trust aside, social media is increasingly geared towards sales, thus, to avoid such a lucrative channel would be to limit market potential.

Despite the fact that social media has been growing steadily for over 10 years, my findings concluded that many businesses are (to this day) ill-equipped to deal with adverse social media situations, with many of the practices ad-hoc and reactive.

Members can comment on your brand, and there’s not much you can do about it. The marketing channel is reversed- rather than top-down, things now move from the bottom up. Now that your customers can talk back, it pays to listen to what they have to say.”

There have been countless instances of social media crises at both a local and international level, and, interestingly, “during 2016, 19% of PR crises broke on Twitter, more than Facebook (16%), YouTube (4%) and blogs (4%). Brands appear more likely to receive criticism on Twitter than they are on other social networking platforms, with users being 17% more likely to send a negative tweet than a negative Facebook post.

As noted by many voices of authority in this sphere, “a social media crisis can (in certain cases) be something that occurs offline and is then brought to social media channels, or it can begin on social media channels, and then spread.”

One notable, worldwide example of the former was with Volkswagen, when what started as a product feature, spiralled into a social media storm and created subsequent reputational damage. Volkswagen’s manner and speed of response was strongly criticised “with video apologies from respective CEOs the only posts addressing the crisis after more than a week.”

With social media, your reputation can be completely eradicated in 48 hours, so you don’t have the luxury of time that you once did to methodically put together a step-by-step process.”

To conclude, here are 5 tactical recommendations for business (more to follow in next blog)

  1. Be prepared, a social media crisis can happen at any time- audit your social media channels to ensure you are equipped
  2. Create and implement an organisational crisis policy (particularly for organisations with multiple users)
  3. Make speedy decisions on action. Consider whether to reach out publicly (in a crisis situation) or take the conversation off line, and out of the public domain
  4. Tactics like disabling or reviewing posts (via Facebook) from visitors can be a useful first step in crisis situations. Also, think about how ‘boosted’ posts can take content out of your control and place it into (for example), previously banned page users and ‘non-likers’ of page
  5. Hide/delete unwanted or dangerous comments/posts/messages where necessary

John McManus graduated from Ulster University in December 2016 with an MSc in Political Lobbying & Public Affairs. He is a consultant at Turley PR & Public Affairs in Belfast. John can be contacted on Twitter @JohnPolMcManus and on LinkedIn: