January Consulting

American School & University Annual Education Construction Survey

Written By: Jan Rabinowitz - May• 07•11

Problem: Survey had become very expensive due both to a large stratified sample and a 6 page length that led to high printing and distribution costs.

Solution: The sample was cut down from a sample stratified by region, to a quota sample by region. Additionally, the survey itself was reduced to two pages by collecting the same amount of data in a more streamlined manner. The savings in printing and distribution costs allowed a $1 incentive to be used to boost response.

The 6 page length had been due mainly because of space for detailed information on multiple projects. Since most school systems were not large enough to have multiple concurrent projects, we could eliminate collecting data for more than one project on the questionnaire, and respondents could add extra pages if they had more than one project.

At the college/university level, multiple projects typically were similar enough that the details could be provided once and the number of projects indicated (e.g., 3 classroom buildings costing roughly the same amount and with the same construction elements.)

Finally, details were normally available only for current year projects.

RESULT: While overall response did not improve significantly, it improved enough to retain data integrity. The data collection was more straightforward and took less time to enter and tabulate. All of these factors combined enabled both the magazine and the research department to save time and money while continuing to publish this important information annually.

What the editor said about the project:
“Jan was a pleasure to work with. She maintained her professionalism throughout
the project and always searched for additional ways to improve the survey and
response rate, while keeping a close eye on costs. She was very responsive to
questions from responders, as well as any questions I had during the survey
timeframe.” Joe Agron, Associate Publisher/Editorial Director

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