Most policy, strategy and project development will benefit from engaging communities and stakeholders in the development process.

This might include the business community, the public and third sector community, existing or prospective customers, clients or suppliers, or the general public, including special interest groups.

Methods include stakeholder workshops, in-depth interviews, focus groups or hard copy and online surveys.

Good survey design will address the needs of the research, asking the right questions that will add value to the research.  We recommend clearly defining the research aims then designing the questionnaire and conducting a pilot survey before refining the survey prior to carrying out the main survey and undertaking the data analysis.

With 77 per cent of households online and more than half of adults accessing social networking sites on the internet at home, online surveys can provide a valuable tool to collect a strong survey sample to compliment other research methods.   Interactive surveys can guide respondents through a survey responsive to their particular circumstances.

Depth interviews focussed around a targeted interview guide will probe for opinions, beliefs and values and can uncover otherwise hidden issues.

Workshops and focus groups can be used to create an interactive group dynamic of partners / prospective partners or of a random sample of participants to inform strategy and project or product / service development.

Many studies require some sort of engagement with key stakeholders be it with the wider general public, business community, main customers or users, suppliers or prospects.

Northpoint, with trusted other consultancies, has extensive experience of undertaking such surveys and consultations.  Frontline views can then be collated and will be analysed, drawing out the scale and strength of views, and highlighting any distinctive as well as any common views between various stakeholder groups.  Often such stakeholder surveys can validate, or otherwise, issues and trends being identified in other aspects of the study, such as passenger data and local business analysis and assumptions regarding the propensity to travel.

Quite often some consultations can be invaluable in exploring various options and permutations be if various timetable preferences, destinations price points or other aspects under review.

Naomi Bremner has extensive experience of undertaking resident surveys in Scotland and has used online surveys based on Survey Monkey to good effect.  Another of Northpoint’s Associates assisted Manston Airport in its recent survey of potential local demand for a KLM service to Amsterdam which got over 10,000 responses as a result of using the local and regional media as well as local authority databases to generate awareness of the survey.  Reference Economics has also worked with Northpoint on five recent stakeholder consultations in the last 18 months.

Every project is different and every response needs adapted to the particular circumstances of the brief.