Catching the attention of a farmer- improving surveys

Hello everyone.

I am writing this thread to bridge the gap between the research community and farmers. Research is a two way process which needs communication from both sides, whether this being undertaken by student researchers, academics, or within industry. It is a vital part of moving the agricultural sector forward, building on prior knowledge, and developing future capabilities.

The aim of this thread is to try and understand how researchers can communicate with farmers in this forum better.

What I would like to know from you is how can the collection methods posted within this group be improved.

To put it simply, what makes you not want to fill in survey, or take part in a questionnaire?

To get the ball rolling I can think of a few examples which makes me not want to take part in a student survey:

-Stating it "only takes a few minutes", when it takes an hour.
-Too much jargon.
-Boring, ridiculous, or pointless research topic.
-Disappearing after you have given your time to help them.
-Poor design, silly question structures, poor spelling etc.
-No regard for ethics, or how your data will be used.
-Disregard of forum rules.
-Not revealing their identity

So, what I'm asking you to do is list some ways in which researchers can improve their collection techniques? What is the difference between you thinking "yeah why not", or just scrolling straight past it.

Hopefully, researchers will take note of the responses and respect the wishes of those within the farming community. Creating interesting surveys/interviews etc which conform with the needs of those they are researching.

If you have any questions let me know.
 

foxbox

Member
Location
West Northants
I've responded to a few surveys on here, I've done so when the introduction has been clear and articulate, the author has identified themselves and provided contact details (preferably uni email address etc rather than a hotmail type address) and the need for the answers has been explained.

I don't like surveys that are badly written, show a lack of understanding of the subject matter or don't have a clear thought process behind them.

I stop filling in surveys if they start asking for any financial info such as input costs, profit figures etc. unless it is very clear to me as to why this may be useful to the survey.

I'm not bothered if a prize is offered or not.

I'd prefer feedback to the forum at a later date summarising findings.

I've responded to your post for the reasons given above (y)

Edit: Although you've not given any idea of who you are or why you're asking so I'm considering deleting it now....
 
Thanks for your feedback.

Yes, I agree with you, I particularly dislike it when questions about finance are asked when it appears to have nothing to do with topic.
 
Should add...My name is Peter, I am a PhD student researcher from West Yorkshire.

This isn't anything to do with a study, I am just interested in case of future research, or helping others out there who are thinking of using this forum for their studies.
 

egbert

Member
I enjoy such surveys, as in the absence of unwary telemarketers and such cold callers, they can give my flair for invention room to canter across the page.

It might be an inherited thing, my dad used to take great delight filling in the MAFF livestockstock surveys.
He got a phone call one day asking if he REALLY had 400 milking goats?

After we planted him, i kept it up.
For several years i had to biro in a fresh box in the poultry section.
Given we only had one cockerel about, and weren't minded to eat him, he was obviously not kept for breeding of fattening...
so my extra box read 'Cockerels for alarm calls. 1'

In reality....why would anyone assume the data they get from such surveys bears any resemblance to the truth?
sometimes i fill them in honestly, other times quite firmly not.
And I usually assume that the questioner is either an animal rights nut job phishing, or big bizz aiming at getting more of my wedge.

good luck though.
 
In reality....why would anyone assume the data they get from such surveys bears any resemblance to the truth?
sometimes i fill them in honestly, other times quite firmly not.
And I usually assume that the questioner is either an animal rights nut job phishing, or big bizz aiming at getting more of my wedge.
I see your point. It depends on the the researcher and their analytical skills, if they are targeting the right people in the right places.
They have to verify and validate the data, you don't assume the data to be true, you look for patterns and themes, relate it to previous studies and work from there.
Disregard the blatant false, but investigate further surprising findings to see if it could impact a wider population of the sample.

This is why I can't understand how spamming a 3 minute survey across all social media platform can pass the "research" part of a degree.
 

Al R

Member
Livestock Farmer
Location
West Wales
Stands to reason - if you've got 400 fudgin' goats to milk, you're going to need an early start :whistle:
Not with a 120 point rotary!

@egbert the June Sheep survey lot (ahdb I think) is a joke, everyone I know puts their scanning % in and not the “survived” lambs, so when they get to November saying “5 million lambs left in the country” then they realise in January it was a lot of tosh and theirs only 2 million they wonder why? Between the 1st January sheep census, other ones from farm assurance companies etc all year, then SAF form people are pretty fudged off so write down any old sh1te on the June sheep census (y)

Funnily enough a survey the other day mum went out and counted the cats, they went on, the dogs, the 10 chickens, I was surprised the swans on the pond weren’t added :ROFLMAO:
 

primmiemoo

Member
Location
Devon
Starting off ok, then a steady decline into Hellman's Mayonnaise territory, à la Victoria Wood's market researcher sketch really winds me up, as do the following:

- Finding out afterwards that the promised incentive is not in the post or has not come through via email. I did some surveys about anthelmintics (well known manufacturer) online after being recruited by phone, was promised vouchers - £20-40 - that did not appear. Subsequent contacts with the named organiser were fobbed off.

- Lack of open ended questions. Life, as we've learned since the B— word, isn't a tick box situation. Life is more nuanced.

I'd like better bona fides to check through from the survey organisers, as has been mentioned upthread.

Oh, and after having seen a research student bung a heap of surveys onto a table in a shop's staff canteen [(Airily) "For anyone to do. I'll collect them tomorrow ..."] that her prof had stipulated were to be carried out in the streets in the town - I suspect there's a lot of bodging in the collection of data, and wonder how much supervision and checking of method and accuracy of the data collection there is in some studies.
 

kfpben

Member
Location
Mid Hampshire
Sadly in this day and age I’d want to know if the organisation asking for the research to be done is likely to twist the results and/or my submission to fit their own campaign narrative.

I would tell many organisations never to darken my doorway again if they ever approached me for information.
 

Poorbuthappy

Member
Livestock Farmer
Location
Devon
Sadly in this day and age I’d want to know if the organisation asking for the research to be done is likely to twist the results and/or my submission to fit their own campaign narrative.

I would tell many organisations never to darken my doorway again if they ever approached me for information.
This is the problem. So much "research" is driven by an agenda. Either a financial one, or from a pressure group. Questions are often phrased to seemingly get the answers wanted, or don't enable the participant to state what they actually want to say. Sometimes this is just how it's perceived, sometimes it's through ignorance or oversimplification on the part of those setting the questions. Rarely can you express your opinion or situation through a series of tick boxes. Life, and farming, is more complicated than that.
 

egbert

Member
Would the results of a study carried out by a research company or department that stooped so low to secure its respondents be in any way trustworthy, though?
ah, thats where it starts getting complex...
if the results are influenced by who you pretend to be when doing the questioning, doesn't it follow that they would also be influenced by telling the truth -albeit in a different direction?
(although i think the inference was that you'd get more male farmers to respond to a young lady doing the questioning....)


Anyway, i'd better go and get the rotary parlour fired up, the goats are coming down off the veldt
 

primmiemoo

Member
Location
Devon
ah, thats where it starts getting complex...
if the results are influenced by who you pretend to be when doing the questioning, doesn't it follow that they would also be influenced by telling the truth -albeit in a different direction?
(although i think the inference was that you'd get more male farmers to respond to a young lady doing the questioning....)


Anyway, i'd better go and get the rotary parlour fired up, the goats are coming down off the veldt

[Exits: Yodelling]

:joyful:
 
Location
East Mids
Excellent post by @foxbox sums up my thoughts too. I do start to take part in a lot of surveys, but sometimes give up, often with feedback as to why. There should be a proper academic introduction and details of the Uni/college etc that is being attended. Typos and poor grammar are distinctly off putting, as are badly structured or leading questions. Lack of an ' additional information' or feedback option because sometimes poorly thought out questions can lead to conflicting answers and this needs explaining. Broken links or questions that don't 'work' are a complete waste of time and show the student hasn't bothered to test it through. A cut-off date for replies is also useful. The forum post or title should make it clear who the survey is to include - I spent ages waiting for a link to a survey about 'Women in Agriculture' (or similar) to open, only to find that it was only for women in Scotland, which doesn't apply to me, it was not mentioned until the survey was open.

Feedback to the forum essential - we all like to learn something!
Surveys with only tiny or barely detectable differences in questions are very repetitive and boring to complete and I usually abandon - there was one of those recently and I can't even remember what it was about despite completing about 4 pages before giving it up as a bad job.
 

Carbon Week - 1 to 5 March.

  • 146
  • 0
Carbon Week

Carbon Week is a series of AHDB events, taking place from 1 to 5 March.
The webinars and panel discussions will feature a range of speakers and are for farmers and growers interested in understanding more about the carbon cycle, carbon auditing, reducing emissions and the opportunities around this.
More information about each session can be found from these links:
Top