Mass marketing is so 1990's! Spend spend/waste wasteThis blog will take you in a different direction. It focuses on association recruitment and retention of members by using targeted methods and communications, and there will be an occasional sojourn into related topics of interest. Rather than discuss the broad, the general, and the "same old," the goal of this blog is to provide useful tools, fact sheets that answer specific questions, and inspiration to those looking to make their jobs more interesting and fun.Thank you for visiting and I welcome your feedback and ideas.

Posted By Leah Baker

Here are some tips to use when writing your next RFP for surveys or other research services. We like to divide our proposals into the following sections: Introduction and Goal; Questionnaire Design; Research Methodology and Sampling Strategy; Computer Programming and Data Entry; Final Report with Statistical Tables and Graphs; Schedule; Costs; and Company Background.


Company Background--At least one executive should have a college degree that included statistics courses. This can be a bachelor’s degree, but a master’s degree or Ph.D. with courses in research methodology is preferable.


Ownership--Be sure that your assn owns the results.


Costs--Ask for a fixed cost for the research services and it is usual to pay half to start and half at the end. The cost should include design of research methodology and any sampling strategy, q're design, computer programming, data entry, and final report with tables and narrative analysis. With mail surveys there will be additional costs for printing, postage, and mail-related services. With Internet surveys there may be additional costs for sending and hosting.


Schedule--After you cut-off the surveys, it should take no longer than 3 to 4 weeks for the company to produce the final report. In my opinion, if it takes longer than a few weeks they are wasting your time and money.


Final Report--The final report should include a methodology statement, tables, narrative report with analysis, graphs such as pie charts/bar graphs, and an Executive Summary. What if you want more crosstabs in the future? My company offers to produce any crosstabs in the future at no extra cost. The summary statistics at the bottom of each crosstab table should include chi square and mean and possibly more since these help guide the data analyst. Results for salary surveys can be reported by quartiles or every tenth percentile. The summary statistics (at the bottom of each crosstab table) for salary surveys should include mean, median, and mode as well as the lowest and highest salary.


For more info call 703-772-5263

Posted By Leah Baker

Please be an educated consumer and know that there are two kinds of research: scientific and un-scientific. You cannot make generalizations from studies if they were not done scientifically! Statisticians have known this a long time - remember the headline “Dewey Beats Truman” in the 1948 presidential election!


Scientific research follows the rules of statistics and randomness and includes a detailed methodology statement explaining how these rules were followed. It is especially important when selecting a random sample or a stratified random sample of people to be surveyed. If these rules are followed, then you can use the survey results of a sample to accurately predict the behavior of all your association members or other organizations, i.e. you can generalize. The person conducting the scientific research will be able to tell you the level of confidence – for example, “you can predict within plus-or-minus 2.5 percentage points at the 95% level of confidence.” They can explain how many people you need to survey to achieve different levels of confidence and they can also explain non-response bias.


Unscientific research or open-ended research does not rely on these methods and should never be used to predict the behavior of all of your association members or of associations in general. This type of research includes such things as interviews, focus groups, and any survey of a sample of people not done scientifically. When reporting the results of these projects, be careful to say something like “The majority of the respondents to this survey say that . . .” You cannot generalize about all members or all associations. There should be a statement at the beginning of the final report saying the survey was not done scientifically and generalizations cannot be made.


In a nutshell, with a scientific survey you can predict behavior with precision. You can say that all members do this . . ., or most associations do that . . . 


With unscientific research you cannot predict behavior with precision. You cannot say that all members do this, or most associations do that.


Bottom line is you want your researcher to have taken at least one statistics course in college or grad school!


My company has done scientific surveys for over 100 national associations. And yes, we have advanced degrees in research! For more info call 703-772-5263 or e-mail





User Profile
Leah Baker
Washington, ...


You have 1467029 hits.

Latest Comments

No Latest Comments at this time.