Survey respondents should be given the opportunity to expand upon or clarify their answers by being presented with some variation of "why is this your answer?" The invitation to share why someone answered as they did may:
  • Provide data for "next-step" analysis without the need for an additional survey instrument
  • Identify areas where additional inquiry is needed
  • Indicate disparities between surveyor perspective and that of respondent
This, coupled with additional open-ended questions, such as:
  • Is there anything else you would like to tell us?
  • What was the best/worst part of this experience?
  • How can we better serve you?
will provide a wealth of qualitative data, new ideas, identify service disconnects, service opportunities, competitive information, and more.

Another beneficial component is the simple expedient of providing an additional option on multiple-choice questions, such as "Other, please specify".

In most cases, responses need to be categorized and coded to meet the project need. Our proprietary software allows us to code responses efficiently from on-screen images and to pass the cost savings back to you. Nobody does this more efficiently than Canmark; however, since you are the content subject matter expert, Canmark works collaboratively with you in establishing coding frames.

For paper surveys, this process includes providing browsable PDF documents showing all, or just a sample (see note), of the handwritten responses to each question that will require coding BEFORE the coding frames are established. We can also provide quality control documents that show the handwritten responses that have been classified into each code AFTER the coding is done, demonstrating the accuracy of our work.

Using Canmark's experience and expertise in the coding and classification of responses will also generate additional quantitative data that may provide even greater insight and understanding than just the original quantitative portion of the survey instrument.

Note: While open-ended questions may be collected from all survey respondents, it is sometimes beneficial to categorize and analyze a smaller, stratified random sample in order to get a qualitative feel for stakeholder perceptions. This can provide a cost-effective methodology to acquire open-ended responses without the expense of coding hundreds or thousands of responses. Canmark can develop custom logic and scripting to accomplish this, whether the base survey methodology is online, electronic or traditional pen and paper.

In addition to quantifying and analyzing the open-ended responses, Canmark will also provide images of the responses themselves, catalogued and indexed according to your specifications and needs, such as by geographic and demographic criteria.

Canmark facilitates data extraction from verbatim responses in the most cost-effective way for any given project. We can provide an organized, bookmarked PDF file that contains the handwritten responses. The bookmarks allow you to view comments from specific respondent groups classified according to their answers on closed-end questions, or to view all comments. This feature allows for quick action by those responsible for getting back to target customers.

Verbatims can also be coded into client-defined categories. Canmark has developed software that makes coding efficient and accurate. In addition, our expert capability to present codes and handwritten comments in organized groupings give you the opportunity to validate the accuracy of response coding. If desired, Canmark can also key in the handwritten responses to produce a transcript of verbatims, with the capability of translating responses from several languages into English during the process.

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