The Background Behind the Best of Calgary Survey, Fully Explained

That the questions from Calgarians came fast and furious once the survey was launched, should have come as no surprise:

“Who decided on the questions in each category?”

“Why are there pre-populated options?”

“And who decided what those pre-populated options would be?”

In hindsight, we should have explained the methodology behind the survey prior to launch. But as we didn’t, we hope this blog will suffice.

Firstly, the questions in each of the five Best of Calgary categories are based primarily on the original list of survey questions that FFWDhad published for nearly two decades. We wanted to keep some consistency there based on history, and frankly, we thought the majority were good questions.

In a very few instances, the Best of Calgary team eliminated some questions and added others that we thought were more relevant to Calgarians in 2016. By way of examples, there weren’t questions around juice bars and tea companies in the original FFWD survey, but of late, those have been two big trends in our food and drink community.

Second, as FFWD hadn’t published in nearly a year, we searched the web for potential candidates in all of the categories listed, to ensure we weren’t missing any of the newer players to the local scene. This included analysing results from awards concepts completed by other media (Where CalgaryAvenue Calgary, etc.) and by other publicly-reviewed driven sites (Yelp, TripAdvisor, etc.)

Third, studies have shown that pre-populated surveys ultimately generate more engagement with the public, and therefore more results, than those that are not pre-populated. And, I suppose, the 650 entries we received in the first four days goes a long way to proving that.

Fourth, we wanted to provide a space for the public to provide their own suggestions if the ones listed didn’t appeal to them. And, shortly after the site launched, we decided to elevate this option to the top selection in each category to ensure that people were aware that they could do so.

Fifth, our survey partner – Stone-Olafson – wanted to ensure that the surveying process was always “live.” In other words, if the number of new entries exceeded some of the pre-populated entries, those would then pre-populate for others to select from in the future.

And lastly, to guarantee credibility in our results, we enlisted the involvement of our third-party survey firm, Stone-Olafson. It was important to rely on a third-party resource, that would eliminate the perception of bias around any of the results.

We felt that by having a respected research firm like Stone-Olafson put its name on the research and result-tabulation, that it would go a long way to eliminating any perception of bias.

We very much understand and appreciate that no matter what methodology we use, there will always be those that will dispute the results and question our sincerity. We can’t control that. What we can do is to try and provide as transparent and professional process as possible, in order to provide you with results you can believe in. And we certainly hope when you see the results in June, that you will feel that we were successful in this endeavour.

Gary Davies is a co-founder of Best of Calgary

Mandy Balak