Creating online surveys is as much an art as it is a science. It involves attention to detail in the design and flow of your survey. Creating an effective survey that yields actionable insights can be difficult.
Here are 4 tips for creating an effective survey.
1. Keep It Simple
Do you remember taking the SAT or ACT? It’s a long and boring process. Your average survey respondent can start to feel that way about 15 minutes into a survey. Fifteen minutes is a strong upper-limit for most surveys.
When a survey is too long, two bad things can happen:
— Respondents mentality drop out
— Clients get frustrated
2. Use Scales Whenever Possible
Scales are more than a little important.
Rather than asking respondents a basic yes or no question, use scales that measure both the direction and the intensity of opinions.
Scales extend the power of analysis from basic percentages to high-level analyses based on means and variance estimates
3. Keep Coded Values Consistent
Every survey response, option, question, or answer is coded as a numeric value that is reported as a percent of responses or as a mean, median, range, etc.
These values are the basis for analysis.
— Mean: Often referred to as an average, it is the sum of all the values divided by the number of values.
— Median: The middle point in a data set. To determine the median, lay out a distribution from lowest to highest and select the middle value.
— Range: The highest and lowest data points in a distribution form the range. VARIANCE: A dispersion measure of how far a set of numbers is spread out.
For simplicity, keep your scale direction consistent throughout your survey. This makes it easier for respondents to answer and for you as a researcher to conduct your analysis.
The simplest solution is just to keep all scales consistent throughout every survey.
4. Explain Why
Respondents are more likely to help you if they see something of positive value for them. Value offerings can range from a very general altruistic appeal for their help to a very specific offer of an economic incentive. For instance, with a customer feedback survey, you can explain that feedback will help improve customer service.
Here are some quick examples:
Make it specific to them: With employee evaluations, you can explain that feedback will be used to determine awards, promotions, and pay raises and will help management make organizational decisions that will affect them.
Explain unexpected questions: For instance, if it’s important for you to ask toy store customers their preferred color of jeans, you might want to explain why that is relevant.
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