While there is plenty of advice on the net on how to design survey, I want to focus on seven things to avoid when designing your market research survey.
Why make the mistakes that most professional market researchers have already made.
My seven things to avoid are:
- Avoid long surveys
- Avoid convoluted & technical language
- Avoid multiple questions within one question
- Avoid asking respondents date of birth
- Avoid going live without testing your survey
- Avoid dull surveys
- Avoid roads to no-where
Avoid long surveys
I cannot emphasise this one enough. No matter how interesting you think your survey is to your respondent a long survey will kill any-one’s enthusiasm.
A long survey will see a high dropout rate and poor data quality. Just because someone sticks around to the end of the survey does not mean they have answered your survey with quality responses. In all likelihood they have probably just ticked any old box in an effort to get out of your survey as quickly as possible. Remember, people are smart and they will find the quickest way out of any situation.
Avoid convoluted & technical language
Use language in your survey that is easy to understand. Your respondent is not going to run to find their dictionary if they have trouble with the language in your survey. When designing your survey keep in mind all ages, genders and education levels. This doesn’t mean you have to dumb down your survey, just make it understandable to your sample group.
Avoid multiple questions within one question
I call these double barrelled shotguns. i.e. Do you like green eggs and ham?, where would you eat them, in a box of with a fox?
Multiple questions within one question can lead to questions being on partially answered or not answered at all.
Avoid asking respondents date of birth
Avoid at all costs asking for the respondents specific date of birth i.e. DD/MM/YYYY.
If you really need specific birth data leave it at the year i.e. What year were you born? even better provide a year range. i.e What is your age? 16-20, 21-24 etc.
Avoid going live without testing your survey
Testing your survey is crucial for ensuring it works as it should.
When testing you are trying to find out if the questions work, i.e do people understand the question? and does the survey work – very important for online surveys and the like. This is your chance to ensure that your research project will be successful and you can now make any final changes. Internal testing with your peers and internal stakeholders enables everyone to get on board with the survey. A small pre-test of your sample group will ensure that the survey works in the ‘real world’
Avoid dull surveys
Make your survey fun. Keep the language light and breezy. With online surveys consider using video, images and other multimedia. This can help keep your respondents engaged.
Avoid roads to no-where
This is most important with electronically deployed surveys i.e. online surveys. Skip-logic and piping mean it is easy to direct your respondent in different directions. Just don;t lead them down a dead end street. Testing helps with this.
Keep these seven points in mind when designing your next survey and you should be on the right track.