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  • 00:04

    [Case Studies of Research: Small Medium Sized Enterprises -Triggers for SME Success]

  • 00:09

    SPEAKER: We were commissioned to conduct a national surveyon the triggers behind SME success pledgingthat we would attain a minimum of 1,000 completed returns.The researches I had also includedthe use of certain focus groups to help build and validatethe survey instrument and 20 detailed and qualitative case

  • 00:32

    SPEAKER [continued]: studies of SMEs chosen from survey respondentsto represent different sectors and different survivaltriggers.Fully acknowledged difficulties of accessing SMEsand the wide variations in web based survey response ratesreported in previous research, wedecided to assume a likely response rate of 10%.

  • 00:55

    SPEAKER [continued]: It also meant we needed to deliverour questionnaire to 10,000 SMEs to achieve the 1,000 responses.Contact details, including email address and named contact,and demographic data were purchasedfor 10,000 private sector SMEs for a well-known, reputabledatabase company.

  • 01:16

    SPEAKER [continued]: The company providing details for 11,789to allow for addresses that were no longer validturned hard bounceback.Within a week of distributing our online questionnaire,we knew we had a problem.Nearly 5,000 of the e-mails containing the linkto our questionnaire had been bounced back

  • 01:37

    SPEAKER [continued]: and not reached the intended recipient.In other words, there were non-contactable.This left a potential sampling frame of just over 6,000.Far fewer than we needed.But it got worse.One month after the launch of the survey, despite twofollow up e-mails to the sample, a grand total of only 578

  • 01:59

    SPEAKER [continued]: completed and usable surveys had been returned.A response rate of only 9.5%.We needed a plan and quickly.And it turned out to be this.If one way of gaining physical access does not work,try another.We knew that chambers of commerce and other employment

  • 02:19

    SPEAKER [continued]: groups nationally had large numbers of SMEs as members.Fortunately, I'd collaborated with a local chambersof commerce on a previous research project.So I contacted the CEO and asked for help.Here, research experience does help.We knew that chambers are commercial organizations that

  • 02:40

    SPEAKER [continued]: rely on membership fees and other sources to survive.Hence, offering a financial incentive to chambersto get them to directly email a survey to their memberswas not just prudent, but vital.10 pounds was offered for each questionnaire returned.Fortunately for us, we could afford this

  • 03:01

    SPEAKER [continued]: from our project budget.After six weeks, a daily tantalizing rise in the total--I kept a daily running total on my office white board--we pushed through to 1,600 usable responsesthat met our private sector and SME sized criteria.Of these, 1,004 and 80% or more of the questions answered,

  • 03:24

    SPEAKER [continued]: this number rising to 1,023, were only crucial, that is,questions relating directly to the purposeof the questionnaire, were considered.These are considered complete returns.But the lesson of this case is survey return ratesmay be lower than you expect and hope.Always have an alternative plan.

  • 03:50

    SPEAKER [continued]: nbsp;

Video Info

Series Name: Doing Research in the Real World

Publisher: SAGE Publications, Ltd.

Publication Year: 2017

Video Type:Case Study

Methods: Survey research, Sampling, Response rates

Keywords: contingency planning; problem solving

Segment Info

Segment Num.: 1

Persons Discussed:

Events Discussed:



David Gray offers advice and cautions on using surveys in research. Gray illustrates with an example from his own research into small and medium sized enterprises.

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Case Studies of Research: Small & Medium Sized Enterprises - Triggers for SME Success

David Gray offers advice and cautions on using surveys in research. Gray illustrates with an example from his own research into small and medium sized enterprises.

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