Accomplishing predicitive analysis (or at minimum, gathering inferential statisical data) within FM is not easy. There aren't any built-in processes, you would need a very talented script and calculation writer to get anything done. I am not aware of any plug-ins that add stastical analysis features to FM. I would look into the stats functions of Excel, to be honest. It's the low hanging fruit, software wise. You likely already have it. If you want something more geared toward true scientific analysis, consider MiniTab or SPSS (Statistical Package for Social Sciences).
On the other hand, if you want to dynamically store and report on data in a more meaningful way than what your current solution provides, FM Pro is the best choice.
Can you give more detail as far as what type of analysis you seek?
Minimal stat functions such as computing a mean, a total count in each category, and standard deviation are possible along with some basic charting functions. So that may meet your needs for analyzing your survey data. But get your data into a table such that each response to a given question by a given respondant is a separate record. If your data to be imported arranges some of this info into columns instead of rows, you may need to work with the data a bit more to get it into that structure.
Thank you both Joseph and Phil for your replies.
Let me give you an example of immediate use: We have a very popular survey with our customers called Thriving@Work©, used as a self-assessment tool for employees and to help create a thriving strategy for the organization. It's a fixed survey (the questions don't vary by client) of about 50 questions, divided by category (stress, productivity, quality of leadership etc.) and we have some very interesting data that shows up in the aggregate reports we compile for clients. We now have enough data (from several clients) that we could publish the results in an academic or business journal. The traditional survey software that I looked at, before looking at FM Pro, is for mostly random sample surveys, whereas ours have a 100% response rate, so we dont need any predictive elements. We just want to report on the aggregate results of the surveys (ie perhaps compile all the results into a master table), and also provide an analysis based on age, gender, employee level etc. - all of this illustrated by charts and graphs (very similar to what Joseph seems to be suggesting).
Also, the survey referenced above is setup to be benchmarked against some big European Union studies on wellness and productivity. We would like to be able to benchmark this survey against their data and do some comparisons of our data and the aggregate data available for different countries. FM Pro would seem to be the right tool to report on this (as Joseph implies). Their studies all use a 7 point Likert scale, as do ours.
Right now, the data would be extracted by participant (everyone is anonymized) or by team - and the company that built the application for us tells us that we can extract the data any way we want - they just need a template (not sure this is the right word) in which to extract the data for us. I was thinking that the data could be perhaps extracted into a FMPro table, for example. As Phil noted, we could arrange to have each response to a question by a respondant treated as a seperate record - but that would be an awful lot of records (50 questions, 2000 participants).
Am I on the right track? Is what I am hoping to do making some sense?
Thanks again for taking the time to respond.
Yes, it will be a lot of fairly small records, but doing so structures the data for easy use in charts, and summary reports. (Hey, one of my DB's has two different tables where the total records are now counted in the millions...)
Consider the fact that you can perform a find to find all responses by employees from a single company, then sort the response records by question to get an average response on your Likert scale for each question for that company on a summary report layout that uses a summary field on a sub summary layout part "when sorted by" a question ID field. And such values can also be charted in FileMaker.
You may find this link on how to set up the entire survey process in FileMaker helpful to better understand the approach that I am recommending here: Need aid on generating a report from a survey layout.