Telephone Surveys

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A telephone survey is a systematic collection of data from a sample population using a standardized questionnaire. A telephone survey is a method of public opinion polling where telephone numbers are used to contact potential respondents, either from the general population or from a known sample (for example, license buyers or members of an organization). Of all the methods employed in public opinion polling, telephone surveys are the preferred choice to maximize response rates, as well as to maintain control over the quality of the data. Telephones are an effective method for obtaining public opinion because nearly all residents of the U.S. have access to a telephone. Also, telephone surveys allow for data to be collected in a complete and accurate format at the time of the interview by trained professional interviewers.
Telephone Interviewing Procedures and Facilities
High-quality data collection is critical to survey research. With this in mind, Responsive Management has designed a telephone interviewing facility that stresses the importance of highly-trained telephone interviewers who work under the close supervision of Responsive Management's senior staff. Responsive Management's telephone interviewing facilities are staffed by professional interviewers with experience conducting computer-assisted telephone interviews on natural resources and outdoor recreation. Because Responsive Management specializes in researching natural resource and outdoor recreation issues, our interviewers conduct surveys only on these topics.
To ensure that the data collected are of the highest quality, interviewers are trained according to the standards established by the Council of American Survey Research Organizations. The project supervisor conducts in-depth project briefings with the interviewing staff prior to their working on the project. Interviewers are instructed on survey goals and objectives, type of study, handling of survey questions, interview length, termination points and qualifiers for participation, reading of interviewer instructions, reading of the survey instrument, reviewing of skip patterns, and probing and clarifying techniques necessary for specific questions on the survey instrument. Methods of instruction include lecture, role-playing, and video training.
Supervision over the interviewing process is performed by the survey center managers through extensive interviewer training, monitoring, and interviewer review. The survey center managers randomly monitor telephone workstations without the interviewers' knowledge as to which interviews will be monitored. Random interviewer monitoring allows the survey center managers to maintain strict quality control over the data collection process. The survey center managers and statisticians edit each completed survey to check for clarity, understanding, completeness, and format.
Questionnaire Design & Pretesting
Responsive Management assists in developing telephone survey questionnaires, providing guidance, expertise, and professional survey writing services throughout the survey instrument development process. Responsive Management designs the survey questionnaires collaboratively based on close consultation, discussions, and reviews with the client. Responsive Management conducts all phases of survey development based on client input and our past experience with similar studies.
After the design of the survey questionnaire, the survey instrument is pretested to check for proper wording, proper answer sets, and logistical clarity. Revisions are made after the pretest to the survey instrument before the actual implementation of the survey. Many research firms cut costs by failing to rigorously pretest their survey instruments, which results in poor data collection. Responsive Management always conducts full evaluative pretests of questionnaire survey instruments.
Questionnaire Programming Language (4.1)
Responsive Management conducts telephone surveys using Questionnaire Programming Language 4.1 (QPL). QPL is a comprehensive system for computer-assisted telephone interviewing that provides complete capabilities for designing, administering, and managing telephone-based research operations. The survey data are entered into the computer as the interview is being conducted, thereby eliminating any potential subsequent data-entry errors. The survey instrument is programmed so that QPL automatically skips, codes, substitutes phrases in the survey based upon previous responses, and edits data upon entry to ensure the integrity and consistency of data collection. Any respondent-specific data provided to an interviewer may be programmed to appear to the interviewer as part of the text of a question or as a branching control or skip pattern. This feature enhances the flow of the interview and enables the interviewer to either validate/update sample information or eliminates the need to ask some questions.
Data Analysis
All telephone survey data are processed and analyzed using Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS) for Windows software, which is specifically designed for data analysis. SPSS software is used to perform straight tabulations, cross tabulations, statistical significance tests, and nonparametric analyses of how survey responses relate to demographic, behavioral, and attitudinal characteristics. Data processing and analyses includes coding, cleaning of data, preparation of straight tabulations, computer processing with cross tabulations, and preparation of study printouts.
Responsive Management provides a wide variety of statistical methods that are tailored to the purposes of the study. Descriptive analyses are used to examine the characteristics of the sample, while inferential statistics are used to project these analyses to make statements about the population as a whole. Non-parametric analyses are generally performed on data that are entirely categorical (e.g., gender) or entirely ordinal (e.g., increasing levels of support of a statement). Parametric analyses are generally performed on interval data (e.g., age). Univariate procedures are used to examine relationships and differences among individuals on a single characteristic. Multivariate procedures examine these same relationships and differences among individuals using multiple characteristics.
Responsive Management Experience
Responsive Management has extensive experience in the use of quantitative research on natural resource and outdoor recreation issues. Responsive Management has conducted almost 1,000 quantitative and qualitative projects over the past 18 years. Clients include the federal natural resource and land management agencies, most state fish and wildlife agencies, state departments of natural resources, environmental protection agencies, state park agencies, tourism boards, as well as most of the major conservation and sportsmen's organizations. Many of the nation's top universities use Responsive Management for data collection because they recognize the quality of Responsive Management's data services. Responsive Management's success in the quantitative research field, and in telephone surveying in particular, comes from our expertise and strong efforts in survey design, methodology, and survey implementation. Because Responsive Management specializes in researching only natural resource and outdoor recreation issues, our senior research staff, research associates, and interviewers conduct surveys only on these topics and understand the nuances involved in conducting such research.

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RM Conducts:
Telephone Surveys
Mail Surveys
Focus Groups
Personal Interviews
Park/Outdoor Recreation Intercepts
Web-Based Surveys
Needs Assessments
Programmatic Evaluations
Literature Reviews
Data Collection for Universities and Researchers
RM Develops:
Marketing Plans
Communications Plans
Business Plans
Policy Analysis
Public Relations Plans

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