Telephone Surveys – Part I

Telephone Surveys – Part 1

We have all had the opportunity to participate in a telephone survey at some point, right? Unless I am busy with something else, or in a hurry to get out of the house, I usually accommodate the caller. I figure the person calling is trying to make a living so why not help out. I am also curious to know what is being surveyed and try to figure out who the sponsor might be.

One evening, about twenty years ago, Jeremy (the actual name he used) called. He wanted to conduct a survey but I wasn’t feeling up to the task. Thinking how I might politely end the conversation, I said, “Tell you what Jeremy, if you participate in my survey then I will participate in yours.” To my dismay he said, “Sure – no problem.”

Now I didn’t actually have a survey. I figured he would simply reply, “No can do”, and that would be the end of it; however, I was on the spot so I needed to deliver. On the fly, I made up four questions. Here they are exactly as I asked them of Jeremy.

  • How long have you been employed in this particular job: 0-2 weeks, 2-4 weeks, 4 weeks to six months or greater than 6 months?

  • Job Satisfaction. Considering your current job would you say you are Very Satisfied, Satisfied or Less than Satisfied?

  • In 6 months do you hope to be employed in the same capacity, Yes or No.

  • Highest Level of Education Achieved: Less than grade 12, grade 12, some post-secondary, college diploma, university degree, masters or PhD?

He answered my questions and then proceeded to carry out his survey. I have no recollection as to what his survey was about but I happily provided answers.

After the phone call ended I thought, Hold it now – I could ask those same questions each time; why not, it might make for some interesting research. So I found a scrap of paper and wrote down Jeremy’s name and as well as the four questions and their options. I recorded his answers and put the paper above the phone. It has remained there for the last twenty years.

Last Tuesday Catherine called with a survey about immunizations. She was my 59th telephone survey. In my next post I will share some of the findings from my research.

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