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Polco News & Knowledge

How To Know if You Can Trust Your Survey

how to trust your survey

Transparency is key when it comes to survey methodology you can trust

Many local governments invest in resident engagement surveys because they want to make data-driven decisions to improve their cities. But decision-makers may not know how to tell the difference between good and bad survey data. Without complete confidence in survey processes, local governments risk purchasing surveys that deliver inaccurate and misleading data. And bad data can lead to bad decisions.

So how do local governments gauge the quality of survey data? An important indicator of a high-caliber survey is transparency.

23 aapor ti member logoThe American Association of Public Opinion Research (AAPOR) Transparency Initiative (TI) promotes full disclosure of research methods for survey companies. Polco is happy to announce its acceptance as a TI member for 2023 for reaching AAPOR’s standards. TI membership means that Polco publicly discloses basic research methods for public inspection. The membership acknowledges Polco’s commitment to openness and transparency. 

While methodological disclosure alone does not indicate the quality of the survey, open research by its nature is often superior because it is subject to public scrutiny. Disclosure can also help respondents feel more comfortable sharing their details by knowing how governments plan to use their responses.

Research methodologies kept in the dark, on the other hand, are a giant red flag. Is the survey sponsored? How were the questions worded? How many people were in the sample? Providing these details allows local governments to make a judgment call on the quality of the survey on their own. 

Leaders look to community surveys so they can improve outcomes through data-based governance. Why risk acquiring sub-par and misleading data when the purpose of data collection is to make informed choices? To avoid making that mistake, seek out transparent companies as a first step. From there, make sure the research methodologies live up to the highest standards of validity. Only then can you feel confident in your survey results. 

Polco Is AAPOR Certified

Polco is proud to be one of the few AAPOR certified community engagement and analytics companies available to local governments. Polco assessments are created by survey science experts and have set the bar in the field. Connect with one of our engagement experts to learn more so you can feel confident in your engagement efforts. 

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