Case study: V&A Dundee Exit Survey
V&A Dundee opened to the public in September 2018. As a new attraction with a number of stakeholders it was important for the museum to understand its audience quickly, and to find out what visitors thought of the museum.
The purpose of the Exit Survey was to capture information about the profile, characteristics and experiences of visitors to V&A Dundee, and to report this in a timely manner. V&A Dundee had a range of stakeholders interested in the economic, social and tourism impacts of the museum and it was important that the survey be designed to capture this information too.
As V&A reopened following lockdowns (first in August 2020 and again in May 2021), it was also important to understand how visitors were responding to the social distancing and safety measures introduced in response to Covid-19.
The original methodology was face to face interviewing. As a free to enter museum, designed to be a ‘living room for the city’, V&A Dundee did not have a means of capturing contact details from all of its visitors. Face to face interviewing at the end of the visit would ensure that a representative sample of visitors was obtained.
In order to obtain a steady stream of interviews throughout the year, Scotinform trained visitor services staff to undertake them. We ran a series of workshops setting out the importance of evaluation, practical tips on conducting interviews, GDPR and data protection, and opportunities for staff feedback. In time staff interviews were supplemented with professional fieldworkers to ensure that the sample size was sufficiently robust.
After lockdown face to face interviewing was no longer permitted, and did not feel appropriate. However, with visitors booking in advance we were able to pivot the methodology, emailing a post-visit questionnaire to visitors once their visits were complete. This methodology proved highly effective and significantly increased the sample size, with over 800 responses received in May 2021 alone!
In each case the Exit Survey was reviewed annually to ensure that it was providing V&A Dundee with the information required to make good decisions. The post-lockdown surveys were significant overhauls, including questions about visitors’ experiences of the social distancing measures in the museum. Each iteration, however, has included identical questions around visitor demographics, first time/repeat visitor, satisfaction and recommendation, allowing us to compare results over time. On several occasions the V&A staff have identified additional research questions and we have been able to add these in immediately to the survey.
Reporting has evolved with the project but currently we are producing weekly summary data reports (year to date and the past week), quarterly summary reports and an annual report with full analysis and comparisons with previous years.
The data has been used internally by V&A Dundee and its Board, as well as by stakeholders interested in the social, economic and tourism impacts of the museum.
“The information from Scotinform is used at V&A Dundee to continually improve our visitor experience, marketing and programme. It is invaluable to have this level of insight shining a light on who our visitors are, what different audience groups experience, and what we can do to make V&A Dundee even better.”
Claire Eva, Director of Audiences and Media, V&A Dundee
We understand that although circumstances might change, you still need the data to make good decisions. We do not tie you in to one methodology or research tool and can adapt where necessary.
We are flexible in terms of survey design and amendment, adding in questions over the research period as your requirements change.
We are passionate about people doing their own research where possible, and can provide your staff with training and support to achieve this, supplemented if necessary by a professional fieldwork team.
We can provide regular reporting in a format that works for you and your stakeholders.
We are able to revisit the data in order to cast light on particular issues as they are identified by our clients. For example, a recent focus on Dundee residents has allowed us to do a ‘Deep Dive’ into the data relevant to local audiences only, and provide V&A Dundee with an overview of the experiences of this particular audience.