Survey design refers to the steps that are taken at the time of conducting a survey. It is defined as the planning process of the survey project and includes all the steps from creating the survey goals to the survey results and their interpretation.
Important Tips related to Survey Design
Some important tips related to the design of the survey are as follows
The questions in the survey should be clear to the participants to elicit a response. Focus on simple and clear language if you want them to answer all the questions honestly
The length of the survey matters. Less than thirty questions are considered ideal hence do not extend it above those.
The questions should communicate the purpose of the survey and achieve their goal to prove effective and useful.
Best Practices for Creating Effective Survey Design
The survey design best practices for keeping the surveys on the right track are as follows-
1. Define a clear goal
Think about the goals you want to achieve with the help of this survey even before you have started planning and designing a survey. There should be a set benchmark to keep things on track; otherwise, it is very easy to go off-track and lose the way in the middle.
The purpose of the survey should be crystal clear from the beginning and the goals specific and straightforward. Understand the key factors that will help your business to grow and move forward and now create attainable goals. Remember, the goals are the roadmap that will determine its questions.
You can use the goals as a reference point to prioritize them. Define these goals descriptively if you are looking for the best practices for keeping the surveys on the right track.
2. Put the focus on the survey design methodology
If you are looking at the best practices for keeping the surveys on the right track, focus on the methodology. There are numerous types of designs that you can take during the creating of a survey. Will your survey be longitudinal or cross-sectional?
Will it include a pencil and paper format or the interview format, and will it be conducted through telephone or online are essential questions that should be cleared before you start designing a survey.
It is time to visit the goals and purpose of the survey once again and ask which one of the designs will be most effective for your organization.
3. Put the onus on closed-ended questions
The best thing about a closed-ended question is that it leads to quantitative results and people find it easy to answer them compared to open-ended questions. Put the onus on closed-ended questions if you are looking for the best practices for keeping the surveys on the right track. The designer of the survey pre-determines answers beforehand so that a choice can be made from only those options.
The surveys are available in check-box or multiple choice formats where the participants of the survey will have to choose the option they like best from the available answers. Open-ended questions take much longer to write as well as review and are not encouraged too much.
These are used mostly for qualitative data or when you need specific answers while dealing with a small audience. Use only one or two open-ended questions and that too at the end of the survey so that the target audience is not overwhelmed by them.
4. Stay away from leading questions
A question that sounds leading will generally be biased and encourage the answer which the survey design template is looking for. These questions at the end of the day cannot be trusted as the survey designer has influenced them.
It ultimately damages the validity of the survey result. Stay away from leading questions if you are looking for the best practices for keeping the surveys on the right track. This will result in unbiased answers and encourage the participants to answer honestly.
5. Put your onus on vocabulary
Do not put questions that are limited or vague by nature if you are looking for the best practices for keeping the surveys on the right track. This can harm the validity of the data you have gathered.
Pay attention to the phrasing or language and avoid words that will force respondents to agree or disagree completely. Remember, this is a sure way to decrease the accuracy of the answer and damage the validity of the survey result.
6. Stay away from double-barrelled questions
The questions that ask for feedback on two things with a single question is a double-barrelled question. The respondent often gets confused and either skip the question or leaves the whole survey altogether.
Stay away from double-barrelled questions if you are looking for the best practices for keeping the surveys on the right track. It is better to choose one thing or break the question into two separate ones so that the audience can answer it easily and honestly.
7. Utilize the response scale
The response scales are useful tools to show the attitude of a person for a specific topic. It offers a more in-depth insight into how the respondents feel. If you are looking for the best practices for keeping the surveys on the right track, then utilize the response scale to your advantage.
Do not include yes or no responses as options; instead, opt for a series of statements. Ask them to rate their opinion on a scale with extremes. This is one of the best formats for gathering specific feedback and maintaining quantitative responses.
8. Keep the words as simple as possible
Opt for precise and casual wording that will relate to the target audience. The participants must understand whatever is being asked to them so that they can provide useful information.
Keep the words as simple as possible and the language casual if you are looking for the best practices for keeping the surveys on the right track. There should not be any room for miscommunication because the insights gathered have a direct impact on the scheme of things in an organization.
9. Take the help of videos and images
If the words are unable to make a deeper connection with the target audience, take the help of videos and images in the survey questionnaire if you are looking at the best practices for keeping the surveys on the right track. The key is to make things clear for the respondent so that his feedback is also clear and honest.
10. Explain the questions that might look intrusive
Demographic questions about gender, ethnicity and income are often considered unnecessary as the participants consider them sensitive topics. In some cases, it becomes important to ask these questions even though it looks personal to the respondent.
Explain the reason for such questions that might look intrusive if you are looking at the best practices for keeping the surveys on the right track. If a participant is not comfortable answering them, he might skip the question or the whole survey altogether, and this will prove harmful.
Better offer a reason explaining that these questions are important for the survey, and their confidentiality will be maintained at all costs.
11. Consider including a survey incentive
If you are interested in gathering lots of responses, then it is better to take the help of an incentive as an encouragement for the respondent to participate in the survey. Include gift cards or a dinner or a gift to the best fifty entries and so on.
12. Test the survey design template
Once you have completed the design of your survey, it is imperative that you test it before sending it out amongst the participants if you are looking at the best practices for keeping the surveys on the right track.
This will help to confirm that it is effective in collecting all the desired data and information or not. Testing the design of your survey through fresh eyes might help to discover overlooked errors or hidden flaws that can be easily rectified at the preliminary stages.
Consider it as an opportunity to obtain feedback on the design. This will help find answers for questions like is it lengthy or boring, are the questions making sense, are they repetitive, and will they be able to fulfill their original purpose? Use it to edit the survey and the test once again.
Continue until you are sure that you have created a meaningful design that will serve its purpose effectually.
13. Execute the survey
Administer the survey to your target audience and make sure that the participants answer all the questions in the same environment. This will ensure honest and truthful responses and make your survey information useful for the organization.
Survey design is valuable feedback that provides essential information to the organization. Better create questions that will help to measure the opinion and behavior of the respondent; otherwise, it will be of no actual use.
Valid data and truthful responses are invaluable for a company as it helps in making strategic and tactical decisions with utmost confidence.