SCANNING technology and the Internet are enabling Perth-based market research firm Savant Surveys and Strategies to significantly speed up the research collation process.
Savant offers online surveying but, unlike many other research firms, it can offer the same survey in a pdf or fax-back format, which can be scanned and collated at 1200 pages an hour.
Surveys and questionnaires can be collated and results printed within a day, which makes Savant’s process a unique selling point, according to partner Shane Langsford.
“We don’t know of anyone that does it privately,” Dr Langsford said.
“What we have are three things that we can do all at once. People can fill out the question-naire on line, have the same questionnaire in a scannable format and have that go through at 1200 pages every hour, and then we can send an Acrobat re-writable file so they can type their answers straight in and send it in.
“There are people who do either but we have it all together, and that is our unique selling point.”
Savant was recently asked to reformat Scitech Discovery Centre’s membership forms to manage the increasing volumes of data requiring processing, and to help create quality databases.
Savant is also working with the Institute of Child Health Research, something that remo-ves the need for researchers to spend hours on data collation and management.
According to Savant partner Jeanette McQueen, the process employed by Savant is a growing niche market.
“What we do is very ‘niche’ in that we do surveys that can be conducted online, where a questionnaire is made accessible via a website,” Ms McQueen said.
“A person opens up the survey and enters their responses. Once they click they send the information to our system and our computer accepts the data and places it into the fields that have been set on a particular program, such as an Excel spreadsheet.
“The words go straight on to the area specified.
The system is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, which was a useful attribute for clients, she said.
Ms McQueen said Savant evolved from technology her son, Dr Langsford, evolved while studying his ph.D.
“My son is a psychologist and his area of expertise is disorders that affect adolescents,” she said.
“When he did his ph.D he had to go out and test 1,000 students and then come back and put the data in to do his thesis. He said there had to be an easier way.”
So successful was Dr Lang-sford’s research to adapt data collation technology that fellow students asked him to design their surveys.
“It got to a stage where he thought it could be a business and he approached me about setting up this business with him,” Ms McQueen said.
She said current clients were achieving strong results.
“With the Telethon Institute of Child Health Research, a lot of our work is ongoing and they ring up every month or so and give us new data. It frees up all of their people to do what they are really there for, clinical research,” Ms McQueen said.
“It also means that if they are going for funding they can get the data straight away.
“They can present their findings straight away, whereas in some cases they were quite a number of years behind in getting the data entered because they were so busy doing the job at hand.”
Ms McQueen said the Scitech Discovery Centre project was the result of similar time pressures.
“The people working there were busy with their day-to-day jobs so entering in new member details and sending out forms became something they found difficult to keep up with,” she said. “We have designed new forms for them and we scan those forms and the data is updated straight away.”
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