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Many researchers underestimate the time required to complete a research project. The following form may be used as an initial checklist in developing time estimates. The best advice is to be generous with your time estimates. Things almost always take longer than we think they should.

This checklist contains two time estimates for each task. The first one (Hours) is your best estimate of the actual number of hours required to complete the task. The second one (Duration) is the amount of time that will pass until the task is completed. Sometimes these are the same and sometimes they are different. Most researchers and business-people have to divide their time among many projects. They simply cannot give all their time to any one project. For example, my estimate of goal clarification may be four hours, but other commitments allow me to spend only two hours a day on this study. My "hours" estimate is four hours, and my "duration" estimate is two days.

To arrive at your final time estimates, add the individual estimates. The hours estimate is used for budget planning and the duration estimate is used to develop a project time line.

Survey Time Planning Form

Task

Hours

Duration

Goal clarification    
Overall study design    
Selecting the sample    
Designing the questionnaire    
Write the cover letter    
Conduct pilot test    
Revise questionnaire (if necessary)    
Printing time questionnaire & cover letter    
Locating the sample (if necessary)    
Time in the mail & response time    
Attempts to get non-respondents    
Data entry and verification    
Coding open-ended responses    
Analyzing the data    
Preparing the report    
Printing & distribution of the report    

 

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