Research: Young Adults & Charity - Part 3: Survey Update | Reason Digital

Research: Young Adults & Charity - Part 3: Survey Update | Reason Digital

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Research: Young Adults & Charity – Part 3: Survey Update

Here's the latest from Josh and his progress on the 'Young Adults & Charity' research project, this week we learn what's next for the data.

young adult writes

If you follow us on social media, you’re probably well informed that our survey is live. And if you don’t follow us on social media – what is wrong with you? Our survey is live – click here to do it!

The more responses we get, the better the results will be, which means our research paper will be even more exact with its findings. So it’s really in your best interests to share and complete the survey if you’d like to know more about young people and charity (and be in win a chance to win £50 too).

As a teaser, here’s some things we’ve learned since our survey went live:

  • 91% of our respondents have donated money to charity in the past year.
  • 50% of our respondents have volunteered for charity in the past year.
  • “Care for the homeless” has been selected the most times to be in our respondent’s top three charity sectors they are most likely to support.

It will be interesting to see if this is still the case when we close the survey next week.

Now, in this week’s research blog, I’m going to talk a little about what happens with all your answers after you hit the ‘Submit’ button.

When you complete the survey, all your responses are automatically added into a spreadsheet. This spreadsheet doesn’t really tell us what we want to know though, it just logs each individual response anonymously.

The problem is this data is quite hard to work with when we’re trying to see the bigger picture. The majority of questions in the survey ask you the extent to which you agree with a statement, or whether a scenario applies to you. And, we’ll be honest, because of the wordy nature of a survey, when the answers come through onto the spreadsheet it’s pretty unclear to read and very messy!

In order to make interpreting the data as easy as possible, for every answer to every question, we assign a numeric value, and input this into a database. For example, if I was to ask you “do you like pancakes?” and gave you the option to answer ‘yes’ or ‘no’, these two answers would appear in the database as ‘1’ and ‘2’ respectively. If we want to see the total amount of people that answered ‘no’, instead of me literally counting how many people answered ‘no’, our database can instantly tell us how many times the number ‘2’ came up for that question. This is a lot quicker and, given natural human error, a lot more reliable.

I hope that all makes sense…

When the first few responses came in, I checked the spreadsheet, and went about inputting the responses into the database. There are 29 variables that we measure in the survey, and I inputted the answers for these 29 questions for about 20 different respondents. Lots of typing “1,1,1,2,2,1,2,1”. When I informed the rest of the research team of the progress I had made with inputting the data, they looked at me strangely and then told me that there is a way to automatically transfer responses from the survey spreadsheet into the data software, and that I didn’t have to type it out myself. Whoops – I’m here to learn, I guess!

Our next challenge is publicising the survey. In order to test our assumptions as robustly as possible, we need the survey to be completed by as many people as we can. We’re being very active on social media and I’ve been bugging my friends and family too. And I’d like to take this moment to bug you as well.

It’s fascinating how connected the world is, the internet gives unlimited opportunity for communication in every corner of the globe. So far, a whopping 100% of our respondents are Facebook users, which is an interesting insight as the majority of respondents completed the survey by seeing it through an email. Of this users, 60% are also active on Twitter! We want everyone, everywhere, to tell us what they think about charity’s place in society.

As I mentioned earlier, our intention is to use the results from the survey, as well as other sources of information, to write up a research paper about our results. We want this paper to tell us, and you, how young adults and students feel about the role that charities play today, and how important they are. Therefore, it’s crucial that as many people complete this survey for us as possible. Even if you don’t consider yourself a young adult or you’re not a student, we need you too! If you want to gain from these results, it’s up to you to join in.

I hope that you will help us get our survey out far and wide. I’ll let you know how we get on in the next post. If you can hold on until then!