Political polls have been delivering some wildly divergent results. Businesses need to do a sort of polling, too, with market and customer surveys. Here are Web sites that explain how to do it.

StartupNation.

This article is about doing market research on a shoestring, with basics on pulling together a focus group. An example is a Dallas woman who got 50 friends and family members to critique her new line of greeting cards.

http://go.philly.com/startup

SurveyMonkey.

For free at this site, you can fashion a market survey for 100 respondents on any subject, using templates in any language. For about $20 a month, or $200 a year, you get lots more features, but for start-ups and other small operations, there is nothing to lose by trying the free service.

Create surveys.

The eHow site includes this how-to for market surveys as part of a wider selection on how to start and run a business, hire employees, and even how to do an IPO.

Survey says.

Articles and discussion threads here cover some of the methods and issues in conducting a customer survey. For example, we read that 30 is a standard survey sample size. Why? We don't know. "Strategies for surveying employees" might help a company ask the right questions for pinpointing worker discontent.

Contact staff writer Reid Kanaley at 215-854-5114 or rkanaley@phillynews.com.