Activity Report: Week 3 Email: The main activity during week 3 was to schedule and conduct meetings with VCs and Entrepreneurs who could serve as potential respondents for the surveys. The early part of week 3 was devoted towards the completion of questionnaires for the survey. Contact details of several entrepreneurs and VCs were obtained by querying the websites of various venture capital associations such as the NVCA (National Venture Capital Association). People associated with organizations were also approached to obtain details on major VC firms that were members of these associations.
Details of Entrepreneurs were then obtained from the websites of many VC firms that had provided funding for promising business proposals. In addition, details on Entrepreneurs were also obtained through LinkedIn, a prominent business-networking site. Despite careful planning, interviews could not be completed within the planned timeframe due to conflicts with the respondents’ schedules. Thus, it was decided to conduct as many interviews as possible within the planned timeframe of 2 weeks and proceed with data aggregation and analysis as scheduled. All remaining interviews and surveys would be organized as early as possible depending on confirmation from various respondents. In comparison to surveys, it was rather difficult to arrange one-on-one meetings given the tight schedule of respondents.
Surveys were relatively easy to organize since respondents could commit their answers through email during their free time. So far, the survey method has proven more effective in garnering the most responses although one-on-one meetings are more effective in obtaining precise answers. Out of the 600 VCs and Entrepreneurs contacted, over 160 of them have responded favorably so far. The delay in completing one-on-one interviews may stretch this phase beyond the planned duration of 2 weeks.
However, this shall neither affect the commencement of subsequent phases nor inhibit the evolution of any deliverables. New information arising from interviews beyond the second week will be included into the original analysis when necessary. Critique of the Survey method The current study relies extensively on a survey based research methodology. The questionnaires prepared for this purpose contain several types of questions – opinion based, numerical, option based as well as textual. The main aim of the survey approach is to collect responses from a large base of respondents in a relatively short time using minimal resources.
In addition, data collected using this technique is easier to collate and analyze and helps develop better industry-wide inferences. In comparison, personal interviews are more time-consuming, require more efforts and are much more difficult to aggregate and analyze given the diversity of information collected through this technique. Some of the main advantages of the survey method are described below: Surveys are a cost-effective method for organizing studies on a large-scale A large number of respondents can be approached through convenient mediums such as phone or email.
Respondents can also furnish their answers at a convenient time and send them through mail, telephone or email. Physical travel is unnecessary for approaching potential respondents. A larger number of questions can be asked through the questionnaire. Other methods such as interviews may be constrained by time and physical presence, which could limit the volume of information gathered. Surveys facilitate the identification of trends and characteristics pertaining to a wide population, and are most suitable for statistical analyses. A large number of factors and parameters can be studied given the larger volume of information. Questions are highly standardized and can thus streamline the dispersion in responses.
This leads to better quality, quantification of responses and the possibility of numerical analysis of the information. Uniformity of information leads to the evolution of new concepts and recognition of emerging trends within the target industry. Questionnaires can be used repeatedly or presented to similar groups in a related industry or target group. This facilitates comparison between different groups (inter-group) and helps monitor emerging trends within a target group (time-driven evolutionary analysis). Nevertheless, the survey method does contain certain defects and inadequacies, which are described below: Surveys are restricted to studying events after they have occurred and are not equipped to forecast trends or patterns. Respondents are restricted to the questions specified in the questionnaire.
Unless given adequate space for holistic answers, respondents may often be limited in the information they provide. Questions may not be accompanied with appropriate description, and can thus be misinterpreted by respondents. Respondents may not be interested in answering open-ended questions, which could restrict the volume of information gathered. In contrast, some respondents can go to great lengths at explaining their positions, and can diminish the applicability of statistical techniques on such responses. Some respondents may be unwilling to divulge information on specific questions and can thus submit incomplete responses.
This could be due to legal constraints or confidentiality agreements, which limit the information that respondents can divulge. Some respondents may not present the true picture and can provide answers that misrepresent the situation in question. The above disadvantages can be contained and the quality of surveys improved through the following measures: As far as possible, the number of questions should be minimal to encourage respondents given their busy time schedule. Proper investigation should be undertaken prior to structuring the questions to determine whether respondents will be in a position to answer them.
It is necessary that respondents do not have to disclose any confidential information. Adequate time should be provided to allow respondents more time to submit their answers. A large sample set of respondents should be identified. A large sample size ensures that the quality of data does not suffer from a low response rate.
Surveys may be hosted online on websites such as www. surveymonkey. com so that respondents can act in a convenient manner. This also facilitates instant data storage and gathering for further analysis. If possible, the questionnaire should be divided into sections to induce better quality. Respondents can also be grouped into different groups based on predetermined characteristics. Different, specific questionnaires can be prepared for each individual group to capture specific information from such groups. A sample survey can be organized on a smaller sample involving friends and colleagues to test the effectiveness and quality of questions.