How To Conduct Cross-Sectional Surveys
Want to analyse a population by using non-experiment methods? If this is true, then the cross-sectional survey is the best technique to do this. It can provide the researchers with a wide variety of data at the same time. It does not matter whether you are analysing a single population or multiple populations at a time. This study can do it for you. However, there are many methods you can use to collect and analyse the data for this study. In today’s article, I will talk about the 5 steps to conducting this study. But before that, let’s explain this study a bit in more detail.
What is a cross-sectional survey?
A cross-sectional survey or study is an observational approach to studying different population groups at the same time. Many researchers use this study as it allows them to work on multiple variables at the same time. This kind of study has a pre-defined starting and ending point. As a researcher, you can predetermine what will happen next in this frame. It is also important to mention here that transverse and prevalence studies are the other names of cross-sectional surveys. Let’s look at some of the characteristics before jumping on how to conduct it.
Characteristics of cross-sectional surveys
From the discussion above, you know what it means by cross-sectional surveys. A brief description of its characteristics is as follows:
- As a researcher, you can conduct this study with the same variables over a specified period.
- Each time you conduct this survey, you observe a new set of subjects.
- The variables in cross-sectional surveys do not change over time. This study has a definite starting and ending point.
- These surveys allow the researchers to look at one independent variable and one or more dependent variables at the same time.
Hence, these are some of the characteristics of cross-sectional surveys. There are also some types of these surveys. I will not go into the detail of those types. They are listed below:
- Descriptive cross-sectional studies
- Analytical cross-sectional studies
- Repeated cross-sectional studies
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7 easy steps to conduct cross-sectional surveys
It is important to note that cross-sectional studies are non-experimental in nature. It is an observational study you conduct to analyse a population. This is the information that you know already. The one thing that you still do not know is how to conduct this survey. So, a brief description of the 7 easy steps is as follows:
Identify the target population for strong results
The first and the most important thing to do is identify the target population. As mentioned earlier, this type of study has a definite starting and ending point. Therefore, you must know what your population is and what variables you want to study in that population. Identifying the traits of the population that you are going to observe is also part of this step.
Formulate the research questions and hypothesis
From the step above, you know what your population is. You also know the variables that you have to study. So, in the next step of cross-sectional surveys, you need to formulate the research questions. Know that they should be targeted at explaining the variables. Also, formulate the hypothesis that you will be testing. Hence, it is the second step you need to follow.
Build a collaborative team to conduct the study
Observational surveys are difficult to perform. As you cannot observe the whole population and different populations at the same time, you must have a team. Make sure that your team is collaborative. Along with this, you must also make sure that each team member has the same instructions. It is necessary to avoid any data collection ambiguities during the research.
Design the research plan for better results
Mostly the cross-sectional survey is a study based on observation. But as it is non-experimental, sometimes the methods like questionnaires can also be used. It means that it can collect both quantitative and qualitative data. Now, it is up to you and your research study requirements which method you have to choose. The important thing is that you must design the questionnaires and observation studies based on those requirements.
Develop data collection procedures and commence it
The 5th and the most important is related to data collection. In order to collect the population-representative data, you must define the data collection procedures first. Define these procedures and send them to the research team. Once sent, commence the data collection. Ask the team to start taking responses to the questionnaires or observing the defined population.
Develop a plan and team for data scoring
To this point, you have collected the data. Now, what is next? The next step is to decide what kind of data scoring software you should use to extract valuable information from the collected data. You also need to develop a team that will do the data scoring for you. It is necessary because you have the data from different populations. To analyse the whole data, you have to have a team. Hence, decide on these two things before conducting the cross-sectional surveys.
Analyse the data and extract the information
Finally, the step you have been waiting for has come. After doing all the steps mentioned, you need to analyse the data using some kind of predictive model. To analyse the data, you can use any software like SPSS, MATLAB, or IBM. These are some of the analysis tools that can extract valuable information about the population from your data. S, use them and get the required information.
Cross-sectional surveys are a great way to collect a large amount of data in a quick and inexpensive way. They can help large organizations in extracting valuable information about their customers. Therefore, you must take the above steps into consideration and design your research based on them.