Survey Design Best Practices – Part 1

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If you are new to creating your own surveys or only do so once in a while, you may have concerns about how well your questions are written. Below are some common mistakes we see in surveys and some survey design best practices we use to avoid these mistakes.

  1. Keep smartphone and tablet users in mind. Some question types will not display as well or be as easy to respond to on these devices.
  2. Use language in your survey that makes sense for the audience. If only engineers will be filling out the survey, it’s acceptable to use engineering jargon. If the survey is going to a more general audience, however, make sure your language is kept as simple as possible and free of jargon.
  3. Start your survey with some questions that are easy to answer and generally inoffensive, such as “How old are you?” This will lead people in gently.
  4. Any questions which will screen someone out of the survey need to be at the beginning, but leave any unnecessary, potentially touchy questions, such as “What is your annual household income?” until the end of the survey. People are more likely to answer things at the end that they may not have upfront because they have more invested. They don’t want to quit and feel they wasted their time.
  5. Always be thinking about whether everyone will be able to find the response they want from the options you’ve provided. Sometimes you will need to offer a “Don’t know” or “No opinion” or “Doesn’t apply” option.

If you would like more tips like these, have questions or comments about the tips in this post, or have other questions about market research, please feel free to email us. We love talking about market research!

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