Researching Opinion: Top Tips

Gather factual data

Make sure that you’re collecting data from a number of sources: you could conduct surveys if you need to gather stats and opinions from students, and post a link to your cohort on your discussion board, or via email or social media. If you’re interested in academic feedback, using your MySurrey Voice discussion board is a great way to collect opinions from students and get their thoughts on relevant issues, ideas, and changes. As a general rule, it’s worth keeping feedback anonymous, so please don’t take student names down as one of the questions in your survey. 

Communicate Successes

Share successes, big and small, with others! By sharing success, you build confidence in others and that will help them understand the value of their feedback, and be more willing to share their thoughts with you.

Work with a Group

Collaboration can be key to success – just look at some of the most successful Course Reps! We recommend that you help each other, share ideas, and work together to get meaningful data.

Signpost

Depnding on the sorts of opinions you’re gathering, you may need to signpost to relevant services or make recommendations based on the feedback you receive. This helps to show your understanding and build trust, whilst also possibly helping someone out. There may also be cases where pople share with you problems that are best handled by people with more training – that’s fine, and it’s important that you direct them to help if you don’t feel able to yourself. 

Ask for help from the Union

Throughout the year, the Voice Zone in the Students’ Union is always looking to hear from students and we collect feedback from a whole range of sources. If you’re looking to gather student opinion on a particular topic, why not get in touch to see if we can help? You can email us at any time at ussu.information@surrey.ac.uk

Close the feedback loop

It’s important that your respondents feel their voice is heard so we strongly encourage you to share with your respondents the impact that their feedback has had – especially if it leads to a positive outcome. This will also make gathering feedback from them easier next time. 

Link up with Relevant Groups

Working together makes the experience better for everyone! If your research topic is connected to existing groups at University or in the community, then it’s well worth reaching out to these networks. To get you started, why not check out the 160+ Clubs and Societies that we support at Surrey? 

Be visible

If you’re trying to gather feedback then thinking about your branding and the way you present yourself online or in-person can be quite important. For online engagement, try to make sure that you present yourself professionally but consistently. For in-person feedback gathering, we recommend bringing with you fliers – these can be a handy call-to-action (particularly for people that don’t have time to stop), and show that you’re planning to have a short, transactional conversation. 

Face-to-face

Getting to know students, and working with them in person, is a great way to build relationships and have open channels of communication. When we asked students how they wanted their Course Reps to get in touch with them, for instance, “in person” was one of the most selected options. Students want to hear from you face-to-face, so chat to them! Having those conversations will make it easier and more natural for you to gather feedback.