The question everyone asks is, “how do I design a good survey?”, the answer to that question has filled numerous books and articles. An often overlooked factor in good survey design is how a respondent will feel about your survey. While the data is comprised of how a respondent answers your survey, crafting a great survey includes considering the respondents during the design.
What you should know about your respondents
While designing a survey you should ask yourself a few questions about the respondents.
- How interested will your survey respondents be in your survey topic?
If the group targeted doesn’t have a solid interest in your product or service, there’s a very real possibility they won’t purchase it. This is why it’s important to target a survey as precisely as possible. The more engaged a respondent is the lower the dropout rate will be.
- How much do your respondents know about the subject of your survey before they begin?
If you are introducing a new product or service to market it’s likely that even your target group will not have a good understanding of the concept. It’s important to provide as much detail as possible so they can provide informed opinions. Tell a story of how the concept will solve a problem, this helps the respondent to understand and relate to your survey.
- How often are your respondents exposed to information about the topic of the survey?
When your survey respondents are regularly exposed to information about your topic, such as a political topic, the level of exposure may impact your target group’s response. This could skew the data in either a positive or negative fashion.
- How much experience do your respondents have with your survey topic?
A frequent traveler for example would be a better fit for a survey about a new airline miles rewards program than someone that has never been on a plane before.
The Respondent Experience: Avoiding Fatigue
Good survey design can make all the difference between getting valuable, specific data or inaccurate information if a respondent doesn’t understand the questions being asked or feels like they’re wasting their time in a long, survey. Here are few tips to avoid respondent fatigue:
- Don’t use leading questions that can influence a response.
When you are a stakeholder in the survey it’s easy to unconsciously design leading questions. Make sure answer options are balanced and ask someone outside your team to review the survey.
- Avoid addressing too many topics in a single question to avoid confusion.
Have you ever asked someone if they wanted chicken or fish for dinner and they responded with, “yes”? It’s impossible to know from that answer if they meant chicken or fish. This is exactly what you want to avoid in a survey.
- Make sure that the language used is appropriate to your target demographic.
Avoid using acronyms and industry jargon, in most cases respondents and potential customers will not understand what you are referencing.
- Keep is short and simple.
Avoid red lining and respondent dropouts by keeping your survey as short as possible. Review the survey and make sure none of your questions overlap or are too repetitive, don’t be afraid to trim.
By understanding your target market respondents’ interests, knowledge, experience, and willingness to participate in your market research, you can design your survey to gather the specific information you need without risking gathering poor information.
By considering how a respondent will not only respond but react to your survey will take a survey from mediocre to great.