A key determinant of how long it takes to analyze a survey is the format of the data file that is used for the data analysis. The most common file formats, such as Excel, CSV, and ASCII files, are poor for survey analysis. Better file formats are those specifically designed for survey analysis, including MDD, Triple S, SPSS files.
Poor file formats (Excel, CSV, ASCII file)
The file formats that are easiest to obtain - Excel, CSV, and ASCII files - are not designed for survey analysis. Yes, you can use them, but they are missing a whole lot of information (e.g., the order with which options were shown, the precise wording, question numbers, missing data symbols). This missing data then needs to be manually added by the user, which takes more time.
If you must use a data file in this format, please see How to Set Up an Excel File for Importing into Displayr.
Better file formats: SPSS, MDD, Triple S (SSS)
The most widely available good file format for survey data is the SPSS .sav file or the compressed SPSS .zsav file. Two more exotic file formats that are often even better are the SPSS Dimensions/Data Collection .mdd file format and the Triple S 2.1 (.sss) file format.
What makes these file formats better is that they contain much more data (e.g., the order with which options were shown, the precise wording, question numbers, missing data symbols). This has a few benefits:
- It saves time in manually entering the information.
- Fewer mistakes tend to be made when working with the data, due to it being better documented.
- The resulting reporting tends to be higher quality, as it contains more detail (e.g., correct question wording).
Given this, there are some tips on the ideal way of setting up these types of files, see How to Set Up Your SPSS File for Importing into Displayr.
How to obtain better file formats
All of the leading data collection platforms are able to produce files with these better file formats. The easiest way to do this is by commencing adding a data set in Displayr, and find the logo of the data collection software, and click on it. This will either automatically bring in the data in the optimal file format in the background or, give you instructions.