Research: Young Adults & Charity – Part 2: Surveys
Welcome to the second instalment of the Reason Digital research blog, where we’re looking into young adults and their attitude towards donating to charity.
This week, I’ve been building on the background research from last week and constructing the survey that we’re using to help us with our project.
You’d be surprised at the level of thought that has to go into creating a survey. It’s not just a set of questions and some ‘yes or no’ answers. After completing the background research that I told you about in Part 1, I started to think about what I wanted to discover from this survey I was about to create. I had to work backwards.
Before I go any further, if you’d like to look at the Charitable Donation Patterns Survey I created (and even complete it) you can do. If you’d like to understand the processes behind it, keep reading.
After some deliberation, a fair amount of coffee, and a helping hand from the Social Research team, we picked out exactly what we wanted the survey to provide an insight on. We decided the survey should tell us the answers to three things:
- Who donates to charity?
- Why they do it?
- How they go about it?
It was recommended that I have a read of some literature by David De Vaus (Surveys in Social Research, if you were curious), one of the kings of social research methods, or so I’ve been told. The book was full of systematic procedures and general rules of question-asking. A lot of the text seemed intuitive, but there was a lot of interesting things that I have never thought about before.
For example, there are certain principles of survey design, and one of these is ‘Validity’ – making sure the question measures what we want it to. To demonstrate this, asking somebody how unhealthy they are would defy this principle, as this may render a response that is inaccurate and optimistic. Similarly, certain measurements, like an IQ test, may just report a reflection of social class, rather than intelligence. So rather than just asking questions in my survey, I have to paint a picture, and must be careful to only ask questions that will help me do that.
After discussing what we really wanted to discover from the survey, we decided to split it into three main sections, each to complement one of the insight areas that I mentioned earlier.
The ‘demographic’ section would help us discover who donates to charity – asking about age, gender, and student-status. Next, the survey turns to the participant’s ‘attitude’ about charitable giving. This is to try and gauge how important of a role they believe charities play in society, and how much of a priority donating is to them. And finally, the survey asks about ‘behaviour’ towards charity – focussing on what they donate, how they donate it, how often they do it, and who they donate to.
Having established the three sections, we came up with about 20 questions that we’re confident will give us a good idea of the who, the why and the how. The next step was inputting this online and formatting it correctly, so we can ask the right questions to the right people. And then, just like that, the survey was ready!
Now, here’s the sneaky part – I’m going to ask you to do my survey. Don’t roll your eyes, it’s in the name of research, and I’m guessing that, if you’re reading this anyway, the chances are you’re interested in the outcomes of the work we’re doing. So you can consider this a collaborative effort.
So, I’d be extremely grateful if you would take 10 minutes out of your day and take part. You have the chance to win £50 by completing it as well – £50 for 10 minutes, that’s not bad!
This link will take you to it: http://goo.gl/forms/PeOTEzAkwm.
If you take the survey, thanks for your time and good luck in the prize draw.
If you just came to read, I hope you’ve enjoyed Part 2. I’ll be back soon!