How to Write Survey Summaries

You have your survey written and you've analyzed your results--now it is time to write a summary. Survey summaries are useful tools in communicating important survey data in a simplified manner with various members of an executive team. Follow these guidelines to writing an effective survey summary!

Look at the survey results. Take some time to look it over and get a feel for the outcome.

Determine the results of the summary. Let the data speak for itself. Don't choose what you feel is important or unimportant. Simply present the information as it stands. Remember, surveys are meant to be objective.

Decide how you will organize the summary to follow a logical flow of information. This includes where graphs and illustrations will be inserted.

Summarize the purpose, goals and objectives of the summary. What inspired the creation of the survey? What was hoped to be learned by conducting the survey?

Write a brief synopsis on the individuals being surveyed. Are they customers, partners or employees? Also, include the atmosphere in which the survey was taken. Was it posted to a timecard? Was it given through an email? Was it a mail-in survey or a phone survey? Give a general idea of the environment of the survey and participants of the survey.

State the question and then give an efficient summary of the answers. Do this for each question in the survey. Percentages are a great way to efficiently show the types of answers given. For example, "10 percent of surveyors indicated that they were not pleased with the hotel room service."

Summarize any comments added to the survey by survey participants. If there is a general feeling that some participants have, try to sum it up in your own words. Only include specific quotes when they are significant or when they are phrased in a way that would be most effective to leave "as is."

Write a conclusion paragraph. This is where you can tell what was learned from the survey. Also, indicate if the overall goals and objectives were met and if there will be follow-up surveys in the future.

Edit your summary. Walk away from it for a few hours to a day or two before returning to self-edit your material.

Have a third party who is privy to the information read the summary to be sure it follows a logical thought pattern and is written in the most efficient manner possible. Be sure to have grammar, syntax, punctuation and spelling checked by someone else!

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