Survey design best practices are a key component of any well-constructed market research project, and Peak Surveys knows this as well as anyone. Our veteran team has written thousands of survey questions for countless products, services, and target audiences, and we share with you today five things to remember when formulating your own survey queries.
Don’t Underestimate The Power Of Wording
You could have the coolest product or the next great service, but if you don’t get the wording right for your survey questions, you could miss the boat on a huge cache of vital market research. The delicate balancing act that exists between phrasing a question as simply as possible, while simultaneously avoiding flowery language, biased undertones, and overly technical terminology, is pretty much an art form to its own. Plus, it’s not like you can add footnotes that further illustrate what you mean, or provide examples. It will likely take you several passes, but ultimately you’ll achieve your goal of formulating a question that is easy to read and to the point, yet achieves the useful answer you’re seeking.
Order Is Key
We’ve all heard the phrase, “The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.” This is true in a variety of contexts, including surveys. Specifically, your questions should be polished, but they should be organized in such a way that the survey as a whole has a logical flow. This is much preferred (and much more efficient) to the flip-side, which is a survey whose questions bounce from one topic to the next, with no discernible flow.
Be Wary Of “Survey Fatigue”
The computer age has made it easier for companies to administer surveys and for respondents to complete them, but the absence of pen-and-paper doesn’t mean that “survey fatigue” has gone away. The goal is to acquire as much useful data as possible, and one way to ensure this is by keeping your questions as short and as clear as possible. You do not want to ask questions that may be confusing, long-winded, and/or convoluted. You want to know your customers’ minds, but you don’t want them to run a cerebral obstacle course before providing their thoughts. Certainly there are certain products and services that may require a “technical” question or two, but it’s important to space these out and make them as accessible as possible.
Mind the Data-Collection Medium
In-person interviews, phone surveys, and online surveys are three distinctly different mediums that can produce distinctly different results. For example, an in-person interview utilizes a human interviewer whose words and actions (including syntax and body language) can influence the survey results. The same is true for a phone interview, which is driven in part by the interviewer’s voice. Of course, online questions can’t rely on a charismatic speaker or compelling body language, and so the words themselves and the phrasing of questions are vital.
Know Your Question Format
There are two core question formats: qualitative, which allows the respondent to answer a question in their own words, and quantitative, which gives the respondent a limited number of answers to choose from – i.e. multiple choice. It’s essential that you establish goals regarding the level of detail required, target audience, and product/service complexity so that you can develop the right balance of qualitative and quantitative questions.
Peak Surveys Knows Market Research
If you work in the Colorado Springs metro area and search “market research company near me”, no doubt Peak Surveys will top your list of results. For almost 20 years, we’ve facilitated innovative surveys, market research, and mystery shopping projects to help area businesses achieve their objectives. Contact us today and put our expertise to good use.
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