Survey Systems Blog

Magenta® for OMR Form Design

Posted by Jackie Jones on Apr 10, 2014 11:42:00 AM

Image Scan vs. OMR Scan Technology

In the past, I have touted the value of the Concord® software by Data Blocks as a cost effective and easy-to-use tool for creating and scanning surveys or questionnaires. It is a great tool for creating image scan documents. However, image scanning may not always meet the needs of your data collection project. Image scanning is cost effective for smaller projects where limited amounts of data are required. The design requirements for image scanning (such as 1/4” between bubbles and 3/8” between any bubble and text) limits the number of questions that can fit onto a page.  

If the survey or questionnaire has a lot of questions or information fields, OMR (Optical Mark Recognition) scanning is a more desirable format to use. OMR format allows for more content (questions) on a single sheet, reducing the printing costs and increasing the speed of data capture. OMR scanning uses timing marks along the side of the form to identify the position of response bubbles. 

Magenta software, Scantron form design

 

The form design must be very precise because if a timing mark and a response bubble don’t align properly, the response will not be recorded. This is why form design is so critical in the OMR process. Great news:

Magenta Software, Scantron form design software

Magenta® for OMR Form Creation

Data Blocks has a great tool for creating the OMR scannable forms: Magenta. In Magenta, the EZ Form Design Wizard adds the timing marks, links the required fields, and adds the response bubbles for you. It is very intuitive software—takes the work out of forms design, because it does the work for you! Magenta knows all of the rules and standards, and applies them as you create your form. Questions can be either entered directly into the Wizard, or cut and pasted from other word processing programs (uses real Windows” commands). Editing is just as easy, for example, if you find that questions have not been entered in the order desired, simply click and drag the questions to the appropriate place—that easy! Or, using the control button and the arrows, items can be moved a pixel at a time to the desired position. Magenta even automatically numbers the questions for you! It’s so easy. Within a very short time, you can have a very professional looking OMR form ready for printing. These forms can then be printed on a laser printer. Using the Magenta software, your survey/questionnaire can be ready to distribute within a day, rather than weeks.

 This tutorial video shows how EZ it is!

The Magenta software is integrated with Remark® Classic OMR scanning/reporting/scoring software. After the form design is completed and saved, a scanning template can be generated in Magenta for the Remark Classic. If you have not done so, verify that the output order is in the order that you want. You are now ready to scan the completed surveys or questionnaires and collect your data. The Remark software offers a number of report formats to present your data; and the ability to import the data to various other programs (Excel, Access, SPSS, etc.) to create your own reports. The Magenta Suite (which includes the Remark Office OMR software) is a very user-friendly tool for your data collection project.

Organizations looking to design and/or print their data collection forms in house should consider the Magenta Suite. Click the button below to download a free demonstration copy of Magenta. You will be amazed at how easy it is to create your own scannable forms!

 

Download Magenta Demo

 

 

Topics: scantron form, survey form, omr scanner, form design software

OMR Form Design...Let's Get Graphic!

Posted by Lynn Cunningham on Jan 3, 2014 12:59:00 PM

Custom Scan Form Design

Go for the Sharpest Image on Your Survey Form

One of the best ways to give your survey form a polished, professional look is by adding a logo or other graphic image. When adding a logo or graphic, it is very important to use the right kind and quality of image. A fuzzy, low resolution image will produce the opposite result, giving your form an unprofessional look and feel.  

Join the Resolution Revolution!

The quality of graphic images depends on the image resolution, or the number of dots per inch (dpi). The more "dots" the better the image quality, so it is important to start with an image with more dots per inch. Resizing or scaling your graphic image will likely degrade the quality appearance of your logo or graphic.  

Survey Form Printing      Scan Form Design      OMR Form Printing

As you can see from the examples above, these images get fuzzier as they are enlarged. You can always zoom in on the image on your computer screen to get a better idea of the quality of your image. (An easy way to do this is to hold the Control Key down on your keyboard and hit the "+" key several times. To zoom out, hold down the Control Key and hit the "-"symbol.) If an image looks fuzzy when you zoom in, chances are it will look fuzzy when inserted onto a printed form.

OMR Form Printing–What Graphics Format Works?

If you are creating your own OMR survey form using a software such as Data Blocks Magenta or Scantron's DesignExpert™, you can add images or logos to your design as long as the image is in a bitmap image format. In the printing industry, there are two basic types of graphic images. The first type is a bitmap, also known as a "raster" image. A bitmap could be one of many file types (.bmp, .jpeg, .gif, etc.) Bitmap images are:

  • Made up of pixels in a grid. Tiny dots of color come together to form the image. When you zoom in on a bitmap image, you can see the dots as squares of color hooked together.

  • Always square or rectangular. If your logo is an oval shape, it will be an oval within a rectangular frame when it is in bitmap image format.

  • A solid block of color (or white). No part of a bitmap image is transparent or see through. For printing purposes, a bitmap cannot be color separated. This means it must be printed in one color (i.e., all black, all red) or converted to grayscale. 

The other format of graphic image used in the print industry is a vector image. A vector image is made up of individual shapes and/or text. Each shape in a vector image can be edited independently. A vector format image will usually have an .eps file extension. Vector images are:

  • Made up of individual elements, such as shapes, lines and text. Each element can be edited by without affecting other elements.

  • Can be any shape or size and is not resolution dependent. This format of graphic is always very sharp looking and is not confined to a rectangular shape.

  • Most important from a printer's perspective, a vector or .eps image can be color separated for printing. Elements can be assigned exact and multiple colors.

  • Vector images can be converted to bitmap format for use on web surveys or for use in form design software.

Click here to see examples of a graphic in different formats.

 

Getting Graphic–Summing it Up

In my opinion, a bad or fuzzy graphic image should never appear on your form! Only add images that are high quality and that enhance the appearance and effectiveness of the document. Most OMR form design software has severe limitations when it comes to adding good quality graphics to the forms you design. Always use the highest resolution graphic image you can get your hands on. For even better results, have your OMR form printing company help. A printing professional can use graphics software to really make your survey form sing! 

OMR Form Design, Form Printing, Scantron Forms

Topics: scan form design, customized survey form, OMR printing, form design software

Is your Conference Evaluation Form Yielding Meaningful Results?

Posted by Lynn Cunningham on Nov 19, 2013 11:57:00 AM


What Are You Asking For?

Is your conference evaluation giving you actionable data that helps you plan your next meeting, or is it just giving you a warm, fuzzy feeling and a nice "pat on the back."

What can you do to ensure that your evaluation form captures meaningful information from your attendees? It could depend not only on what you ask, but also on how it is asked! 

Often, the most constructive and helpful information gathered from event evaluations are the negative responses. 

Isn't that what surveys are about? Letting other people provide input into the process rather than just validating the planning decisions of your committee?

5 Ways to Get Meaningful Feedback

Ask the right questions - focused questions will target key areas of your meeting and return more meaningful responses. Stick to the things you need to know, as opposed to those things that you want to know.

Ask questions in the right way - avoid leading questions that point respondents to the answer you "want" to receive. Make sure each item has an appropriate response scale that is applicable to what is being asked.

Timing - conduct session evaluations while details of the speaker and session are fresh in mind of attendees. Ideally, allow a short period at the end of each session for attendees to evaluate the success of the presenter in communicating his or her content. Overall evaluations that rate registration, location, amenities, etc. should be done as close to the end of the conference as possible.

Use the results - if you don't act on suggestions and comments, they are not meaningful! By acting on the results of your conference and speaker evaluations, you will encourage feedback at future meetings and improve the success of your conference.

Share evaluation results - with speakers, stakeholders, and meeting planners. A report showing feedback results for specific speakers that is shared with those speakers can help them see how they measure up against other presenters at the same conference. Overall meeting evaluation results shared with attendees demonstrate that you value their opinions and input.

 

Conference Evaluation Sample, Scantron Forms

 

 

Exploring Other Avenues

Surveys are a great feedback mechanism, but social media can also be a powerful tool for gathering feedback from your conference attendees. Post questions on Facebook or Twitter and spark more discussions, both internally and externally. Use QR codes posted around your meeting venue to direct attendees to your meeting's Facebook page or website. Use impromptu video-recorded interviews with attendees to measure various aspects of the overall conference experience or to share as testimonials on social media sights.

Plan of Attack

Planning the evaluation process well in advance of your conference or meeting is important if you are trying to gain meaningful insight into the effectiveness of your event and presenters. 

Meet with your planning group specifically to discuss the evaluation process. What do you need to know in order to accurately measure the effectiveness of your conference logistics? Was the registration process functional? Was the conference site adequate? Did the program meet the conference objectives? What information do you need to gather to measure the effectiveness of your speakers?

Review results from past conference evaluations. What changes can you make in light of the information from your last survey or evaluation? 

When your conference evaluation results become a playbook for arranging your next event, then you have attained meaningful, actionable results!

 

 

Download Our Conference Evaluation Planning  Guide and Start to Measure Your Success!

 

 

Topics: scantron form, session evaluation, conference evaluation

Bullying—Everybody loses!

Posted by Jackie Jones on Oct 25, 2013 2:37:00 PM

Bullying QuestionnaireBullying—we all talk about it, what it is, why we need to assess it, how to stop it, how to prevent it, etc. We all know why we need to stop it—our kids deserve to feel safe—in school, in our community, etc. “Bullying impacts the school and the community.” I have made that statement before, as I am sure many others have. But, seldom have I taken the time to think that statement through. Granted, bullying impacts the child, (the victim), other children (the by-standers) and of course, the bully and his/her followers; but the school or the community?

Impact on Schools

Bullying impacts schools in a number of ways— discipline problems, increased suspensions, truancy, all resulting in increased costs and missed goals. The school climate survey is a very important tool to start determining how these aspects truly impact each individual school, and its students. 

  • The bully is capable of disrupting the entire classroom, wasting the time of the entire class as well, until the teacher gets things under control again. If this goes on, educational goals for that class may be missed. In addition to the time lost reining the class back under control, it is difficult to learn/concentrate “when you are scared.”

  • The bully/victim may continue outside of the classroom, requiring disciplinary action, which adds to the staff time required.  Often the victim, as well as the bully, is disciplined, leaving the victim feeling unfairly treated as well as unsafe in school. 

  • If suspensions, whether in school or out of school, are a part of the disciplinary actions, students are now missing classes-educational opportunities- and falling behind the rest of the class. The results are negative all the way around—the student faltering or failing and the school missing academic ratings because of students’ not meeting minimum requirements.

  • Truancy increases for a number of reasons—victims feel unsafe, so simply don’t show up; suspensions have caused student (bully or victim) to be behind, so they skip, and students who are not the bully or the victim feel unsafe or uncomfortable and skip as well. For some students, the poor attendance leads to poor academic performance, which eventually leads to dropping out of school completely.

  • School district costs are increased on several levels: it is more expensive to educate truant students; disciplinary costs are increased; but most of all, funding (which is based on attendance) is lost. In the United States, the average attendance per day is less than 80%! One in five students is missing school on any given day! Since funding is based on attendance, this correlates to a lot of funding lost in absenteeism! Statistics vary, indicating anywhere from 8% of all middle school absences to 58% of the higher grade absences are the result of bullying. (Younger students are less likely to be truant because they have less opportunity to “skip;” they have more supervision, and are normally dropped off and picked up at school.)  Therefore, no matter what the actual statistic is, stopping bullying and thereby eliminating the portion of truancy that is a direct result of bullying would have a positive impact on school finances. 

Impact on Community

The impact on the community can be similar, also negative.

  • Bullying causes truancy to increase. Truants may be additional customers to businesses, or they may be shoplifters. Keeping kids in school, keeps them off the street—reducing the opportunity for juvenile crime, therefore reducing juvenile crime. Juvenile crime adds to law enforcement costs, court costs, and business loss. Two thirds of the boys that bullied in school had three or more criminal convictions by age 24. 

  • In addition to the increased tendency of the bully and victims being truant, the "by-standers of bullying" are also more inclined to skip school. It has been said that 95% of school success is just showing up; and it is a fact, that if a student is not in school, he/she is not learning. A community needs an educated work force for its businesses.  In addition, businesses tend to be more successful if they have a well-educated customer base.

  • As stated above, truancy leads to dropping out; studies have proven that high school dropouts have lower earning potential, higher unemployment, poorer health and are more likely to be incarcerated. All of which also have a negative economic impact on the community.

Start in School

School is the primary place to start to measure and correct the bullying problem. This is not to say that bullying is only the school’s problem—it is a parental problem, it is an educational problem, it is a community problem, it is a workforce problem. But, we need to start somewhere. A school climate survey (or bully survey) is a good place to start.  Meaningful, proactive school reform/changes need to be defined from the results of the school climate survey (or an bully survey). Attention needs to be directed to the results of the survey—address the specifics issues of your school and community.  

Each and every one of us can no longer say “bullying does not affect me,” or “my children are not involved in or impacted by bullying”—everyone is affected in one way or another.

Bullying Prevention Survey

 

 

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Topics: bullying questionnaire, School climate surveys, bullying surveys

Avoid Survey Fatigue!–Best Results from Conference Evaluations

Posted by Lynn Cunningham on Oct 16, 2013 2:32:00 PM

Are Your Respondents Exhausted from Survey Fatigue?

YES! Every day we are inundated with requests for feedback. As customers, as shoppers, as students, as employees, our opinions are sought after, begged for, over and over everyday when we leave the house or browse online.

As a meeting or event organizer/administrator, it is important to make your session evaluation tool stand out from the background noise of continual requests for feedback that are thrown at us. Like you, the folks attending your meeting are probably tired from survey inundation. There are a few best practices that can help you improve your response rates and get good, honest feedback from your survey-weary meeting participants. 

 

Communication is Crucial

The best way to improve the engagement of your respondents is to communicate at every step of the process. 

  • Why are they being asked to complete a session or speaker evaluation?

  • When do you expect them to fill out the rating form?

  • Who is going to have access to the results, and will confidential information be secure?

  • What will be done with the results? How will the information be used to improve future meetings?

  • Where can results be viewed? Will tabulated results and comments be accessible to attendees?

The more information you can share regarding your intentions and what you need from them, the better your chance of getting honest, engaged responses.

 

Make Your Conference Surveys Simple, Relevant and Accessible

Simplicity is key in getting good response rates and heart-felt feedback from your attendees. The fewer questions on your evaluation tool, the better. One organization that we worked with had only one item per speaker on their session evaluation.

Session Evaluation Rating Scale

How simple is that? The "five-star" rating systems has worked great for organizations such as Amazon.com or YELP. These folks took keeping it simple to heart! You may need more than one item to gather the feedback you need from your respondents, but simplicity is key. Hand your attendees a two page, densely packed speaker evaluation form and watch their eyes glaze over and their brains shut down. 

Another key factor in the success of your session or speaker evaluations is accessibility. Are you using a paper form and allowing time at the end of sessions for completing it? Are you using a web survey or conference app to gather feedback? Give your attendees more options, and you will gather more quality responses! It is important NOT to assume that everyone has a mobile device or that everyone will take the time during the session to complete an evaluation form on paper. The more access you can provide to your evaluation tool, the better. Using a paper form that has a QR code for quick access to the same evaluation online is a great way to give your attendees options.

Conclusion–Apply the K-I-S-S Principle!

When creating content and designing a session evaluation or speaker evaluation for your next meeting or conference remember your respondent. You want to gather as much actionable data as possible, and your respondent group is weary from the day in, day out requests for feedback that we all encounter. For best results, communicate thoroughly and "keep it simple stupid!" 

 

Session Evaluation with QR Code, Scantron Forms

 

Topics: session evaluation, Customer Satisfaction, speaker evaluation form

National Customer Service Week--Are your Internal Customers Happy?

Posted by Jackie Jones on Oct 7, 2013 10:54:00 AM

 

customer satisfaction

October 7 through October 11 is National Customer Service Week—a week dedicated to boosting morale, awarding the “front line” service representatives, educating “the rest of the company” on the importance of customer service, and thanking “other departments” for their contributions and ongoing support, and, of course, letting (external) customers know how important they are. A lot to do in a week—and too bad we only spend a week doing it!  

Most employees can readily recite the company's customer related goals and objectives—but do they live them? The phrase “a happy employee means a happy customer” comes to mind. An executive I once had the pleasure of working with, and working for, always said that— “if I keep my employees happy, they will keep our customers happy.”  And, he was right. It was a service company, and a unhappy employee was exposed to many customers every day—unhappy turned to rude which could very quickly equate to lost business.

 

Happy Employees=Happy Customers


How happy are your employees? Are you sure? When was the last time an employee satisfaction survey was done? Asking an employee face to face does not necessarily provide the same information that a confidential employee survey would. Employees may feel uneasy or even threatened truthfully answering questions with a potentially negative response when asked face to face. But when they are allowed to answer anonymously, they find the courage to say what they are really feeling. Another vice president I once worked for was always confident that morale was high, and employees were happy—the total opposite of the truth. But, he was sure because he walked around once a month and asked the entry level employees questions. Imagine, an entry level employee, usually at their first job, being questioned by a Sr. Vice President—most of them could barely get a nervous hello out of their mouths when he came, to say nothing of reporting their feeling of being undervalued, or that there wasn’t enough light to do their work! So, of course everything was wonderful, when indeed it was not! A confidential employee survey could provide the information needed to improve employee satisfaction which would, inturn, improve customer service to the level desired, improve productivity, reduce turnover, improve morale, etc. 

Employee Satisfaction Surveys

Employee surveys, whether paper or on-line should not be voluntary. A random group of employees should be selected, (or the entire work force), to assure a good sampling of results. If done on a voluntary basis, only the very happy and the very disgruntled may respond, skewing the results. 

Employee satisfaction surveys should include some generic employee satisfaction questions, some questions specific to your company, as well as questions that might be considered your corporate weakness questions, or questions targeting issues that may exist within the corporation. Extreme care should be taken in the wording of the questions to assure that the questions are not biased or leading, or misleading, or even viewed by the employee as “trick” questions. Virtually all of the questions can be linkert style questions with ranking values. This type of survey can be easily created as a scannable paper survey form, or an on-line survey.  Results can be reported in a number of forms/programs, and easily tracked and compared year after year.

The survey should also include one or two free form questions or ask for comments, to be sure that all employee concerns are addressed.

Share the Results

Once the survey results are received, it is important that the information be shared with the participants or employee population for the following reasons:

  • Increased trust - The employees know that management is not trying to hide something; and are willing to address the issues.

  • Insure future participation - If the employees feel that their voice is being heard, they will be more likely to participate in the future.  If they feel that the survey results are not valued, they will not “waste their time” in the future.

  • Added accountability - Publishing the results will require addressing or responding to the issues. Employees will know that someone is assigned to work on those issues that can be “fixed.”

Employee satisfaction surveys should actually be done about once a year. This will allow comparison of results, the ability to measure the success of any programs implemented or changes that were made as a result of information from the previous survey.

An employee satisfaction survey that is confidential, not too lengthy and easy to complete can garner a lot of information that could ultimately be critical to the success of the branch or corporation. Employee attitudes impact the entire gambit of a business and spill over to the customer base on an ongoing basis. If your organization does not currently conduct employee satisfaction surveys, National Customer Service Week might be a good time to start the process. It really is true—HAPPY EMPLOYEES DO MAKE FOR HAPPY CUSTOMERS!

 

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Topics: Employee survey, paper survey, employee satisfaction survey, web survey

NATIONAL BULLY PREVENTION MONTH IS COMING!!

Posted by Jackie Jones on Sep 30, 2013 4:12:00 PM


October is National Bully Prevention Month.
 What started as a week long “Pacer Kids Against Bullying” in 2006 was expanded to a month, National Bully Prevention Month, in 2010. (Pacer is the Parent Advocacy Coalition for Education Rights.) In 2007, Stomp Out Bullying was created by the organization Love Our Children USA. Both Pacer Kids Against Bullying and Stomp Out Bullying are non-profit organizations created with the goal of preventing bullying--helping kids and teens deal with and stop bullying. Orange is the color for Pacer’s bully prevention program; blue is the color for Stomp Out Bullying’s bully prevention program (just as red is the color for heart disease or pink is the color for breast cancer). October 7, 2013 is World Day of Bully Prevention--Stomp Out Bullying’s day to show your support for ending bullying by wearing blue and October 9, 2013 is Unity Day—Pacer’s day to show your support for ending bullying by wearing orange, (just as February 1 was the day to wear red or October 25 will be the day to wear pink). 

Of course, one month is not enough to put a stop to bullying, let alone one day, but if schools, organizations and even communities don’t have a bullying prevention program in place, it is a good day to start one! World Day of Bully Prevention or Unity Day can be the day(s) that everyone becomes aware of what bullying behavior really is. Children associate being mean with being a bully, but may not be aware that excluding someone, or starting rumors, or nasty texts are also forms of bullying. World Day/Unity Day would be a good day to start the education process, or continue it.

START A PROGRAM

The next step in starting a bully prevention program is to assess the bullying activity in your school, organization or community. You need to know if you are tackling a gnat sized problem or an elephant sized problem. The true size of the problem is often underestimated because most bullying goes unreported. In addition to learning the size of the problem, you will need to determine the trends and type of bullying that exits. This will allow you to develop an appropriate resolution plan.

THE ASSESSMENT

The assessment should be confidential (so that the bullying will be reported), completed in a reasonable amount of time, and have easily measurable results. The best way to achieve this is with a survey. It is important that the survey is age appropriate, and addresses the areas you want to measure (for example, frequency and type of bullying, location of bullying, perception of safety, if help was requested was help given, attitudes of adults and peer groups). Scannable survey forms or scannable survey answer sheets are an effective tool for the assessment process, whether your assessment is for school climate, community environment or organizational/workplace attitudes. Scannable survey forms allow for confidentiality, can be designed to be completed quickly, and offer a variety of data reporting methods.

                                    New Call-to-Action

SURVEY ADMINISTRATION


A school climate survey should be administered at least once a school year, preferably twice. If no program exists, a school climate survey or bullying survey can be administered early in the year—on or right after Unity Day as an assessment. It should also be administered at the end of the school year to track progress and enable program planning for the next school year. Community bullying assessment surveys can be handed out at community functions, distributed by a direct mailing, included in community magazines or stuffed in community newspapers. These could be annual or even every two years since more time will be required to allow citizens to complete the survey and return it. Workplace or organizational assessments are more easily scheduled, similar to the school assessments.

A large variety of reports are available for scannable survey forms. The information/findings should be analyzed to determine what you just found out—what does it mean?  Distribute the findings to those who will be involved in creating/implementing the bully prevention plan or program. This group should include any number of representative “stakeholders”—students, teachers, administrators; or law enforcement, neighborhood associations, mental health specialists, faith based organizations, local businesses; or representatives from every division within a company or organization.

The group then needs to:


• Create and publish an Anti-Bullying policy, if one does not exist.


• Analyze the findings, and determine how to deal with the findings.

• Report back to the larger group--those who participated in the
assessment.
 
• Prepare and implement a plan for prevention as well as intervention.

 
• Educate everyone involved on the policy, the plan, and their
respective roles.

• Repeat the assessment process to verify results, track progress
and/or determine what changes are required in the plan.

Every one of us needs to be involved in building an environment where our children feel safe; a culture of tolerance, where every one belongs, and is respected as an individual, and encouraged to succeed. Recent studies echo the fact that childhood bullying is not simply a rite of passage; it has definite, long term affects on the  victims as well as the bullies. In addition to the fact that childhood bullies tend to be adult bullies, studies have shown that bullying (victims as well as bullies) have long term negative consequences on health, job prospects and relationships. Bullying in the workplace not only impacts employee productivity, creativity and quality, but often results in loss of valued employees due to the added stress and environmental dissatisfaction. Bullying in the community can have similar socio-economical impacts as it does in the workplace and in the schools, but on a larger, and at times, more dangerous scale.  

This October is a good time to reflect on what our individual responsibilities are.

 


describe the image

Topics: scannable surveys, School climate surveys, bullying surveys, anti-bullying survey

Paper Survey Forms - Not Dead Yet!

Posted by Gary Wilson on Sep 24, 2013 8:32:00 AM

While not as widely used as they once were, mail and other paper surveys as scannable machine-readable forms still provide, in many cases, a reliable and cost-effective means of data collection. Thanks to online technology and some other factors, mail and paper surveys are used less frequently today than they were previously. Paper based surveys, however, still have their place in survey research and always will. Nevertheless, continued advances in online survey technology may increasingly diminish the demand.

Benefits of using paper surveys

·         Mail surveys are convenient for respondents; they can complete them when and where they prefer

·         Easily inserted into other customer or marketing mailing

·         With customization, some people feel paper surveys offer a more personal approach

·         Bulk-rate postage, automated mail preparation, large-quantity printing, and printing paper are all relatively affordable for document distribution with direct mailing services

·         Provide an efficient and often the only way of targeting opinions from populations without internet access, email addresses or phone numbers, or who refuse to respond to other types of surveys

·         Easily distributed to customers post transaction such as hotel or restaurant visits,  training seminars, conferences, etc.

·         Allow those being surveyed the chance to think about their answers in their own time

Designing, printing and processing machine readable paper surveys

Designing, producing and processing paper surveys have evolved and users of these types of survey instruments have a variety of different options available. Companies such as Scantron, Survey Systems, Data Blocks, etc. provide software applications that enable users to design and print their surveys as customized machine-readable documents. The surveys can be designed to be read by the traditional OMR (optical mark recognition), Scantron type devices or off-the-shelf image scanners which most organizations own. These software applications also create scanning templates; information passed to the scanning devices that determine respondents' choices to quantitative questions. Some of these software products also capture images of respondent free hand comments to subjective questions as well.

Machine-readable customize scan form survey–OMR technology versus Image technology

The major difference between a customized scannable survey designed for one technology or the other technology is the amount of content (survey questions, responses, demographics, etc.) that can be accommodated on a standard sheet of paper. The following are images of surveys designed based on the type of scanning technology that will be used to read these machine-readable forms:

 

survey documents

 

As seen in the examples shown above, a survey document designed for OMR scanning can accommodate a much larger amount of information on a smaller sheet of paper and still be accurately read during the scanning process using OMR scanners.

WHAT SURVEY SYSTEMS CAN DO FOR YOU?

Researchers, analysts, social scientists and individuals involved in gathering data, analyzing, reporting and making recommendations like most people have a fixed amount of time that they can devote to any given survey project. Survey Systems can offer these individuals a wide range of different products and services that would enable them 100% control of the entire data collection process or to selectively use Survey Systems to provide various levels of services.

One of the decisions that would need to be made is the type of technology (OMR or Image) that would best fit the requirements of the project. In most cases, this decision is tied directly to the amount of information individuals are looking to collect. Simple surveys (small number of questions, responses, etc.) without dense demographic fields (i.e. membership ID numbers, dates, vital statistics, etc.) can best be addressed with surveys designed for image scanning. Surveys requiring large demographic fields (machine-readable name and address fields, ID numbers, etc.) are best served using surveys designed for OMR scanning.

Software Option

Survey Systems provides and supports software products that address both technologies; the Magenta Suite is based on OMR technology and the Concord Suite is based on image technology. Both of these products will allow individuals to control the entire process from survey design through production, scanning and data transmission. In some situations and depending on a survey project requirements, data can also be tabulated and various types of anaylsis reports created within both the Magenta and Concord applications.

Service Option

Another decision is your level of involvement in the entire survey process. Using your input on survey content, Survey Systems can design the document for either type of scanning, print the survey, distribute the surveys, process completed surveys, send you scanned results or tabulate scanned data into reports that meet your specifications. A detailed description of each of these service components associated with most survey projects can be provided upon receipt of the project specifications.

Summary

Paper survey documents will continue to have a place within the survey industry on many data collection projects that do not, for a variety of reasons, lend themselves to online or other forms of electronic data collection. Survey Systems can help you define and implement a paper based survey program that will meet your objectives in the most cost effective manner.

 

 SURVEY SYSTEMS SPECIAL OFFERS

Topics: OMR customized form, custom scan form, survey form, customized survey form

Employee Survey Data - Key to meeting EHS Objectives

Posted by Gary Wilson on Aug 1, 2013 3:31:00 PM

 

Emplopee survey

Your organization's EHS (Environment, Health & Safety) and sustainability performance is most affected by employees' behavior and this behavior is driven by the intangible aspects of your company's culture; culture that is not necessarily written down in policies, programs and procedures. All behavior is rewarded, whether it is desired or unwanted behavior, whether an employee recognizes it or not, whether a manager recognizes it or not, and it is the intangible aspect of employee perceptions, beliefs, values, motivations and attitudes that guide and drive employee behaviors. Every company encounters this situation and the question is whether employees' behavior supports your EHS and sustainability objectives and how your measure this behavior. One of the foundations of EHS and sustainability performance is employee behavior because without a deep understanding of employees it is possible that your objectives might never be met.


EHS AND SUSTAINABILITY EMPLOYEE SURVEY What Survey Systems can do for you!

Survey Development & Administration

Employee surveys are a great tool to use in order to understand your employees' behavior, morale and motivation. They can help gauge if the perception of your workplace is in line with how employees feel about working there. They can evaluate many different things, but most commonly measure whether employees are receiving constructive feedback, if there are opportunities for job growth, the level of teamwork, quality of the work, whether employees understand the company mission and purpose, and the degree of work-life balance. Along with these items, focused surveys can also let you know employees' perception of its organization EHS and sustainability program.

The most successful employee surveys ask tough questions and address company pain points, rather than seek confirmation of areas you already believe to be strengths. This way, they not only build trust within an organization, but also help create EHS and sustainability goals the company can strive for together.

As you set out to do your employee survey, here are suggestions and how you can make sure it's useful for you:

1. Be prepared to do something with the results. If you ask employees to go through the exercise and then do nothing with it, you're guaranteed to disappoint them, and discourage them from participating next time. If you do EHS and sustainability surveys regularly, be sure to routinely recognize achievements and convey that you're working together toward achieving stated goals.

2. Explain honestly why you're conducting the EHS and sustainability survey and make it clear that, although the data will be carefully assessed, unfortunately not every issue that employees mention will be addressed.

3. Make sure employees know that all data is confidential. If employees think their answers are going into 'files,' their responses are less likely to be honest. Using generic customized survey forms is one way to insure anonymity or contract with a third party that can host an online version of the survey independent of the organization.

4. Conduct your survey at your facility. If a survey is held off-site, it relays a message that it's not safe to be honest or critical at work. That message undermines any value from the results.

5. Ask all employees to respond to your survey, or randomly select those who will. It is not a good practice to allow employees to self-select to participate. If you do, you'll find that only very satisfied or highly dissatisfied and those highly communicative employees will sign up. Your less approachable staff is guaranteed to be unrepresented. To encourage participation, remind employees how past survey results have helped to implement specific changes to the organization's EHS and sustainability programs.

6. Make sure the employee survey is something that translates into measurable results and tangible action. Employees won't groan when you ask them to complete another survey because they'll look forward to making their voices heard.

Sharing Survey Results – Last, But Not Least

Sharing the EHS and sustainability survey results with employees is the last but a very important step. The messenger and the means of communicating these results are very important and will send an underlying message to employees about the importance of your EHS and sustainability program.

Conclusion

Recognizing and managing employees' behavior is critical to understanding and managing EHS and sustainability performance. Performance is driven by this behavior, and employee behaviors are driven by the focus that the organization places on EHS and sustainability objectives that are not necessarily written down in policies, programs and procedures. Understanding employees' behavior from survey data and other types of interactions should allow an organization to reshape and manage progress toward the achievement of your EHS and sustainability objectives.


Topics: Employee survey, Survey Systems, Customized Scan Form

Overall Conference Evaluations–A Blueprint to Plan Your Next Event!

Posted by Lynn Cunningham on Jul 26, 2013 1:01:00 PM

The overall conference evaluation is a special tool that enables you to hear the voice of your consumer, and gives you an opportunity to plan your next event to best meet their needs and expectations.

Are You Listening?

An overall conference evaluation is the perfect tool to measure the satisfaction of your attendees and get their feedback as to how the meeting might be improved in coming years. If you are not taking advantage of this opportunity, you may want to reconsider. Feedback from participants is the best resource for planning future events and meetings. A well thought out overall evaluation will uncover a treasure trove of ideas, suggestions and constructive criticism (That's right, not everyone will love every part of your conference!) covering all angles of your meeting.

Conference Evaluation Sample, Scantron Forms

Evaluation Categories

Most overall conference evaluations are broken up into several categories regarding different aspects of your meeting or conference. This keeps the evaluation interesting, and breaks it up into smaller, less daunting sections. As with session evaluations, close-ended questions with a likert rating scale will return consistent, actionable data for determining what worked and what did not work. Some often used categories are:

  • Overall - questions regarding expectations, value, plans to attend next year, location, etc.

  • Conference Services - registration, meals, accommodations, meeting room comfort, helpfulness of staff, etc.

  • Content & Delivery - mix of session topics, relevance of topics, overall quality of speakers and keynotes, etc.

  • Decision to Attend - what marketing or communication influenced your decision to attend (very helpful in targeting marketing for next year).

  • Demographic Information - type of organization, role, ethnicity, gender, years experience, etc.

  • Future Meeting/Conference Preferences - suggestions for locations, speakers, and topics for future meetings. 

Open-Ended Questions

Most overall conference evaluations will have several open-ended items as well as a section for the attendee to give any additional comments they may have regarding the meeting. It is important to have a place where attendees can share their ideas and experiences in their own words. These comments, or responses to questions such as "what did you like most about this event?" or "what did you like least about this event?" will really highlight the areas that need improvement as well as the areas that are working well. Listening to your consumer and making changes based on their input...it's a good thing!

What to do With All This Useful Data?

Plan to share and communicate the tabulated results and comments from your overall evaluation with key stakeholders, including program staff, speakers/presenters, and even participants. By sharing the ratings and sentiments with participants, you show that their voice is important and encourage response on future evaluations. This great data you have collected will help make your next meeting or conference even better!

For a more in-depth look at the conference evaluation process, plus several actual evaluation form samples, download our free Conference Evaluation Planning Guide. This helpful guidebook will get you started creating a unique, useful data collection tool for your next meeting, workshop or conference.

Download Our Conference Evaluation Planning  Guide and Start to Measure Your Success!

 

 

Topics: scantron form, Survey Systems, speaker evaluation form, conference evaluation