Surveys are a great tool for gathering data about a subject, be it your product, your business, or your target market.
The information that surveys provide cannot be gathered by any other means. But that doesn’t mean that all surveys are created equal. They aren’t. A poorly designed survey will yield inaccurate and erroneous results.
How you create the survey DOES matter.
Ask yourself the following questions after you’ve written your survey. They will help you to create surveys that accurately gather data that you can rely on.
5 Questions to Guarantee Accurate Results from Your Survey:
1. Will the respondent feel motivated to answer each and every question?
Your most accurate results will come from a complete data set – where everyone who started the survey completes it. So it’s a good idea to create a survey that is easy and painless to answer, and that keeps the focus on your respondent – not on you.
2. To what extent do respondents have a ready-made answer?
Questions that are easy to answer “off the top of the head” or that require minimal thinking are best. Ask open-ended or essay type questions when appropriate, but use multiple choice questions as much as possible.
3. Does the question force an inaccurate answer?
Make sure every respondent can answer accurately, even when they don’t fall into your expected categories. Adding “not applicable” or “prefer not to answer” as an answer choice is the easiest way around this problem.
4. Is the question free of social pressure?
Social pressure is the subconscious desire to “be like everyone else.” This pressure drives our need for the latest and greatest tech gadgets AND it influences how people respond to surveys. Questions about income and daily habits (eating junk food or watching TV, for example) are most likely to elicit social pressure. Make sure these types of questions are phrased as benignly as possible.
5. Is the question biased?
The way you phrase a question can try to persuade the respondent to answer in a particular way. Be wary of asking questions that begin with “Don’t you agree…” or by unintentionally giving away your own personal opinions, or trying to lead your respondent to a particular conclusion. You want to know how your respondent feels or thinks about a particular issue, not how you think. So keep your own opinions and thoughts out of your survey as much as possible.
Learn more tips about creating accurate and interesting surveys in my FREE guide, How to Create Surveys the People LOVE to Complete.