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Polco News & Knowledge

Achieve Greater Representativeness With Online Survey Auto-Weighting

auto weighting

Get data that reflects the demographics of your entire community with auto-weighting. 

Research from Polco shows males, young people, renters, and racial and ethnic minorities are often less represented in survey responses. This means survey results may not alway always reflect a community as a whole. But most local governments seek representative data, information that speaks for their entire community’s demographics, when it comes to decision-making and planning. That's because decision-makers make choices that affect the entire community, not just more civically engaged respondents.

An excellent way to achieve better representativeness with surveys is through weighting–statistical adjustments to improve the accuracy of results. Weighting amplifies survey responses that are underrepresented and tones back responses from groups that are overrepresented. 

polco representativness example for auto weighting

Example of representation on Polco. See if respondent demographics are proportionate to your community's makeup. 

Polco has always weighted longer-form scientific community surveys like The National Community Survey (The NCS). This type of survey undergoes a more rigorous process. For instance, in some cases our data scientists send tangible paper surveys in order to reach under-heard groups. The rigor behind scientific survey methods leads to more representative results. But these types of surveys take longer and are a little more expensive. 

Polco offers quicker online surveying through the Engage Module, Polco’s suite of online engagement tools, as an alternative to scientific surveying. Online-only surveying allows local governments to reach verified residents faster and is more affordable than a large-scale scientific survey effort. However, it’s difficult to collect data from under-heard groups with this type of survey.

polco auto weighting toggle button

Button to turn on auto-weighting on Polco

To combat this issue, Polco’s Engage surveys now offer an auto-weighting option for better representativeness. A simple button allows local governments to see the difference between the raw, unaltered survey results next to the auto-weighted data. 

It’s important to know that scientific surveys are the gold standard when it comes to representativeness. But online surveys with auto-weighting are still highly beneficial and can help you collect fast feedback that better reflects your community. 

Get Representative Data Faster With Auto-Weighting 

If you’re a new or current Polco customer who is interested in automatically-weighted surveys, reach out to one of our experts.

Talk to a Polco Expert

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