Fielding the Survey
Fielding is the industry jargon for conducting the actual survey.
The soft send
In online surveys it is good practice to conduct a soft send once the survey has been programmed and tested. This involves sending enough invitations such that, say, 50 to 100 interviews, are completed. The resulting data is then used to test and check various assumptions about the research design. In particular:
- Does the resulting sample appear to be sensible (see Checking Representativeness).
- How much effort will it take to achieve the desired number of interviews (e.g., how many people will be invited to participate).
- Will it be possible to achieve the desired number of interviews.
- Is the resulting data sensible and useful. Generally this can only be assessed by creating and reviewing a summary report.
Checking quotas and sample size
Additional interviews are conducted until the sample size and the specified quotas have been achieved. Where there is a particular problem filling some of the quotas this means that either there is a problem with the list being used, or, that the quotas are wrong. Either way, it is important to carefully review any difficulties in achieving quotas rather than to continue to collect data until the quotas are all filled as a difficulty in filling a quota can indicate that the resulting sample has a coverage bias.