Survey Analysis: Reporting Your Findings

The final step of a survey project is reporting the findings. Reports should be informative, relevant to the target audience, and customized to the individual or organization’s needs. Reports can be presented as visual presentations, written, or electronic reports.

A comprehensive, formal report generally includes the following elements:

  1. Title Page
  2. Table of Contents
  3. Executive Summary
  4. Contextual Background of the Research and Purpose
  5. Survey/Research Population
  6. Research Methodology
  7. Conclusion and Recommendations
  8. Appendix
  9. Contact Information

Not all reports require each of the above elements. In fact, the method, scope, and type of project often determine which style of reporting is used. Other popular styles for reporting survey findings include:

Report Style Description Use
Transcription Convert the verbal of all participants into text
  • To present the information gathered through qualitative methods (Interviews, Focus groups)
Summary Include the results of the survey and tables, charts, and graphs representing descriptive statistics. Typically shorter than formal reports
  • To present the information gathered through quantitative methods (Paper-based Surveys, Web-based Surveys)
  • To present data succinctly; usually does not include recommendations or suggestions
Executive Briefly addresses methods and findings, including only salient information and quotes. While typically written in less than three pages, the length depends on the scope of the project
  • To present the information gathered through either qualitative or quantitative methods, or both
  • To make recommendations based on findings

Some factors to consider when writing a successful report include:

  • Formatting. Keep the report organized to make it easier for the reader to comprehend the findings by using color and headings.
  • Language. The language used in the report should be appropriate for the audience. Make the information understandable, define any terms that may be unfamiliar, and summarize the findings. The report writer can also use images or visual representations sparingly.
  • Voice. All findings, interpretations, conclusions, and recommendations should be written objectively. Similarly, if the data is off-putting, present it in an informative manner rather than a judgmental manner.