What if I need to use a sample provider?

The steps to help a researcher integrate their Survature surveys with sample providers

If your project requires that Survature be used with purchased samples, you will require that Survature integrate with your Survature survey with a sample company, sometimes multiple sample companies.  The technical process include the following steps.

1. Finalize Your Survey

Even though this sounds straightforward, the caveat with using survey panels require that you make a few decisions.

Opening Page - In general the survey panel company will send an email to each of their panelist, in the email there is a link for the panelist to click on. Sometimes that email has already included project specific information and explained rules about participation, sometimes not. If it's the former, your survey's opening page may become repetitive. If it's the latter, then you still need to explain the nature of your study on the opening page. As far as Survature is concerned, you can elect to set the opening page to "display: no".  It's a setting that our user support will put in on your behalf.  All Survature surveys show their opening page by default.

Filter-Out / Disqual - When you set up your project with a sample company, during the account set up process, you should have provided the exact criteria about the kinds of samples that you would need, and your pricing of the samples depends on your criteria to an extent.

You can elect to add questions at the beginning of your Survature survey to further check whether the incoming samples meet your requirement. The pro is that this adds an extra layer of quality assurance. The con is that how many minutes your survey lasts also affect the pricing of your samples. In the end, it's a trade-off that you should decide.

"Require All?" - In general, we urge that Survature users put user experience above all, because that's the best predictor of high quality data based on our research.  However, sometimes, depending on the scenario, a researcher may want to require that all panelists answer every single question, including to place every single item in an AnswerCloud question into buckets. 

Survature's default system setting doesn't enforce that kind of "Require All". Upon your request, we can turn that on for you, even though it is still our opinion that user experience is the dominating driver of true quality. 

Qutoa / Sub-Quota - The most common setting on this is that Survature does not enforce quota, because that's a core functionality of panel providers' platforms, and that is usually very reliable.  However, if you feel we need to enforce quota, please let us know because this may require some extra time to setup and test.

2. Redirect links

The next step is to get redirect links from your sample provider's account manager. We typically need to get at least two links:

  • Completes
  • Terms / Dis-qual / Filter-Outs

Based on what we have seen, every sample company has a slightly different format in their links. The most important that you need to confirm your project's ID is on those links, especially the complete rediect; the most important for Survature's user support is to know the format of the panel provider's SID, PID or Transaction_ID. That is a field our system will automatically attach to the redirects.

Setting redirects would require our user support to do that on our server. It's faster than programming complex branching survey logic, usually.  Instead of a 24-hr turn-around, same-day turn-around is possible.

3. Panel-Integrated Testing

The testing phase of a panel-integrated survey is a bit different from non panel-integrated surveys.  We will provide a preview link of the survey with an example of how SID/PID fields are attached to the survey's entry link.  Starting the survey through that link, you can see various conditional redirects be triggered. 

Until your project actually goes live with the sample provider, those redirect links will get redirected again to an "Error" page on the sample provider's platform. That's normal.  Just provide that testing link to your account manager at the panel company, their internal testing can confirm that everything is proper and ready to go.

Please note.  After this point, if you take the survey via the regular survey links available on Survature platform, the redirect links will still trigger, and because there are no panel required information, those redirects will get redirected by the panel company to yet another kind of "Error" page. That's also normal.

4. Launching and Closing Down

Launching the survey on Survature platform can happen as soon as after Step-2, because no survey panelists will be taking the survey until the sample provider kicks off their emailing. Launching early also has the benefit of preventing delays in project management.

Closing-down the survey has no significance when sample panels are used. Based on our experience, panel driven traffic on a survey drys up after a 24-hr period typically. 

5. Using Multiple Panels

If your project targets a general population, quite often a single panel company can provide enough samples to meet your needs. However, if you have a specialized request, that may not be possible.

In those cases, you will have to use multiple panels to provide samples.  Our advise is to plan ahead with enough lead time.

That is because when running a panel-integrated survey, the redirect links can be changed out at any time. Say, you've used sample provider A and got 60% of the samples you need.  After provider A's traffic has ended, we can help you switch in provider B's redirects, so that you can try to get samples to fill your last 40% need.  If that's still not enough, you can switch to a 3rd provider C.

The above process can be extremely efficient. Finishing a tough project successfully in a matter of 8 to 9 days is quite common for researchers that use Survature. Planning ahead would be greatly beneficial, of course.

6. Using Mechanical Turk (MTurk)

Amazon's MTurk provides a real alternative to using traditional sample providers.  The difficulty with using MTurk system is that researchers are forbidden to have direct knowledge about the workers, not even their MTurk ID. The paying/receiving payment process is managed by MTurk with a rigid separation between the researcher and the workers. 

Hence the burden is on the researcher to provide a unique, reliable, and highly verifiable code to each worker upon completion of the survey.  Survature provides this support through a MTurk enabled survey theme.  If you have this need, please mention to our user support that your samples are coming from MTurk. 

When using MTurk, the process to program redirects is then replaced with programming in logic so that the per-completion code is shown for only valid completions. Again, our user support will manage the setup, testing, etc. on your behalf.