A question that we often get is “What is the difference between Participation Grouping and Survey Questions?” It’s pretty understandable since a question asked using either feature looks very similar from the perspective of someone creating an Exchange, but the difference between these features is important to understand and has profound implications for how you will work with your results.
Something to keep in mind is that many Exchanges use both Participation Groups and Survey Questions rather than one or the other. Determining what makes sense for you will be a lot easier once you understand the difference between them, though.
What is the difference between Participation Groups and Survey Questions?
While both Participation Groups and Survey Questions allow you to ask closed-ended questions of your participants with predefined answers, they do very different things for your Exchange.
With Participation Grouping, the option a participant chooses directs them to a conversation that only includes other participants who selected the same answer. For example, if your Participation Groups question asks “Which location do you work in most often?” with the choices “Location A, Location B, Location C, etc.” a participant who selects Location A will share thoughts only with other participants who chose Location A. They will only rate thoughts shared by other participants who selected Location A and only see the results for the conversation involving participants who chose Location A. Effectively, Participation Groups creates a totally separate Exchange for each response option.
Survey Questions, by comparison, provide information about participants but do not group them into separate Exchanges. If you were to ask the same question described above as a Survey Question instead of using Participation Groups, participants who chose Location A would still see and rate thoughts from participants who chose all the other options and their thoughts could be rated by participants in any location.
Why would I use Participation Groups?
Participation Groups is a fantastic feature to use when it makes sense to keep your participants separated. This could be for a number of reasons, such as:
- When the thoughts being shared will only make sense within a particular group. For example, if your Exchange is about the conditions employees face in their locations it might not make sense for participants at Location B to rate the concerns of folks at Location A since they would have a limited understanding of them.
- When there are varying levels of understanding about topics that may arise. For example, if you are a school district asking what is top of mind at the start of a new year and your Exchange includes parents, staff, and students the content of the thoughts shared by staff may not resonate at all with parents and may not even be understood by students.
- When you need to create reports and follow up with each group independently. While you are able to sort rating data in the Discover Dashboard using either Participation Grouping or Survey Questions, you are only able to generate complete reports tailored to a particular group if you have used Participation Grouping to collect your data.
IMPORTANT NOTE: Participation Groups cannot be added to an Active Exchange. If you would like to use this feature, you must do so BEFORE you Launch your Exchange.
Note: Participants are able to participate in Exchanges for multiple Participation Groups separately by navigating back to the selection field and choosing a different group.
Why would I use Survey Questions?
- Survey Questions allow you to understand how the perspectives of groups differ without sacrificing transparency in your Exchange. One of the most valuable aspects of an Exchange is that participants can see the thoughts shared by others and gain insight and understanding into perspectives that are different from their own.
- To help dig into the results of the Exchange. Survey Questions allow you, as the leader of the Exchange, to filter the data you collect to see how different groups rated ideas, but also allow your participants to see what matters to those other groups as part of a single conversation.
- To help you follow up with groups with lower participation. Survey Questions provide a quick and easy way to see the number of participants from different groups who have participated in an Exchange and this can be valuable in terms of making sure that you hear from everyone you need to. For example, if your Exchange topic is relevant to your entire organization but you haven’t gotten enough feedback from a particular team, a Survey Question will let you see that in the Discover Dashboard and follow up accordingly.
Note: If you, the leader of the Exchange, activate the “Multi-select answers” or “Other” options, Survey Questions also provide a little more flexibility for your participants
Working with your results
When working with your results, you are able to filter thoughts using either Participation Groups or Survey Questions. You can also filter by both simultaneously.
When you filter by Participation Groups, you know these thoughts were written by participants in this specific group.
When you filter by Survey Question options, you are seeing how participants in this/these subgroup(s) rated thoughts. To protect participant identities don’t know which Survey Question option was selected by the person who shared the thought.