Survey tips?

Sometimes Wikimedia affiliates or wiki communities do surveys. Sometimes those surveys are very localized and fairly easy to do, like surveying local community members by posting a link to a form on their talk page. Sometimes they’re bigger and more complicated, like when you want to reach out to people with no prior affiliation with Wikimedia to ask them questions about something.

There’s already a few tips on meta:Survey best practices (edit: also meta:Surveys, thanks @Quiddity_WMF) but what are your tips for doing surveys in a better way than just cold-calling someone with a Google or Qualtrics form? I’m especially interested in how one gets in touch with outside groups and convince them to participate.

Context: Wikimedia Denmark is working on a community health and editor recruitment/rentetion survey, and we want to get data from people who haven’t ever been a part of or in contact with the Wikimedia movement.

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For surveying people on-wiki (e.g., someone reading a Wikipedia article), having https://phabricator.wikimedia.org/T89970 would help.

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In my limited experience, my best way to reach out to specific groups outsiders has been to identify an ally – someone who can reach out for me. That way I’m not reaching out to a group that doesn’t know me, someone else is talking to their friends. But this requires either personal connections or obvious benefits making the person willing to do post it because it’s good for the outside group. “Wikipedia” having a lot of positive name recognition typically helps.

I think what’s made more of a difference when getting people to take a few minutes to give information when cold-calling with surveys, for me, has been to be very explicit. Why is this important? Don’t assume people will think “mobile is important”, explain readership trends. Why do we need this information. Don’t be general. Be very specific. This is the thing that will be guided by the information you give here. If their replies can change something, knowing what and how makes it more relevant.

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There are many more links and subpages at this hub, https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Surveys (I’ve now added a note at the top of the other page, linking there. :)

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