How accurate and trustworthy are surveys actually? Ways to increase the relevance and reliability of the survey

Data quality is measured by VARP:

Validity

Accurate Survey
Researchers with 2 girls

Accuracy

Reliability

Precision

To make sure that we fulfil all the requirements of a trustworthy survey, we should check VARP. In order to do that, we should ask some questions.

Data should first be valid to measure what the researcher wants to measure. Are we aiming the right target? Are the questions still on time and relevant to the subject? Is the data adequate to reach conclusions? Accuracy is achieved if the answers to questions don’t have errors. It means when you ask a question in a survey, the respondent gives you his honest opinion. Reliability increases with the sample size, the more respondents are surveyed, the more reliable answers the researcher will collect. However, all the answers can be wrong, therefore inaccurate. The target or the might be incorrect, therefore invalid. Although a survey is reliable, it can still be invalid or inaccurate.

Precision is the detail provided. For example, someone can say that they like ice cream or they like Ben&Jerry’s ice cream, where the latter more precise.

The ways to increase trustworthiness come from VARP. Asking these questions, the researcher may analyze their survey’s validity, accuracy, reliability and precision. Choosing relevant questions to the sample which is representative (as we will explain more in detail in Choosing the right sample article), ensuring to gather error-free and precise data will help achieve VARP. The more questions are asked, the more reliable it will be.

The more the researcher is close to reaching VARP, the higher quality data they will have.

Author

Just a member of the lovely Survey Expert Team.

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