How Do I Write a Survey?



AYTM'S INDUSTRY-LEADING SURVEY WRITING TOOLS


Write and program elegant and effective online surveys using our state-of-the-art survey authoring tools! View our survey editor tutorial video to learn more. You're also welcome to explore specific tutorials on our survey question types or advanced functionalities.



SIMPLEST SURVEY-BUILDING EXPERIENCE EVER


View and edit your entire survey on one page, and save time by adding sophisticated research tests with drag-and-drop ease. Let the editor sidebar keep you apprised of survey pricing in real time as you add more time-consuming questions. It also gives you quick access to all question types and research tests, as well as global survey controls.


QUESTION TYPES

Design & program your survey



Designing your survey is easy and fun. We carefully crafted each of our question types and features to address the most common research objectives, with all the heavy lifting done by us.
Learn more ›



TURNKEY RESEARCH TESTS

  • Advanced MaxDiff
  • Perceptual Mapping
  • Price Optimization Model (POM)
  • Video Responses
  • Side-by-side Comparison
  • Multivariable Quadrant Analysis
  • Distribute
  • Polarity Scales
  • Reorder
  • Cascades

Design & program your survey



Designing your survey is easy and fun. We carefully crafted each of our question types and features to address the most common research objectives, with all the heavy lifting done by us.
Learn more ›




SURVEY LENGTH BEST PRACTICES


We automatically build in best practices for number of questions, character limits, and answer limits. (Learn more about our philosophy.) If you need more room, we do have a few membership subscription options that raise the limits, but still keep your survey within the margins of what survey takers will happily handle. You can enable the pro survey authoring package for a fee, or upgrade to a paid membership to get extended character and answer limits for free.





TYPES OF SURVEY QUESTIONS WE OFFER


Prequalification Questions


These let only relevant people into your survey. If they don't pass your prequal, they don't get to see your survey, and you don't pay for their answers. A prequal may be added by using one of our house tags on the target market page, or you can write your own custom prequals.


Video/Webcam Response


You can either start or end your survey by asking survey takers to record a webcam response. This provides an excellent qualitative layer of insights that will put a face to your data, allows you to gauge emotional feedback from facial expressions and gestures, and lets you gain valuable glimpses into consumers' daily environments.




General Questions: Radio Buttons, Multiple Choice Checkboxes, Open Ends


You'll likely use these the most often as they are clear and flexible for most cases in online surveys. For answer fields that include a little talking cloud icon, click on the icon to enable an optional open-end field where respondents can provide more information.
See general question types examples.




Context Questions: Instruction Text, Image Questions, Video Questions


These aren't really questions, since respondents have no way of answering them, but they're the best way to expose survey takers to your stimuli such as video clips or images, instructions, or copy that you want to test.
See context question types examples.




Matrix Questions: Progressive Matrix, Sliders, Star Ratings, Smiley Ratings


These are great for grouping similar questions together in one. They're more time-consuming for respondents than simple questions, but way better than if each question were presented separately. They'll save you money and respondents' time by keeping answer options consistent across several sub-questions you want to ask.
See matrix question types examples.




Advanced Questions: Ranking (Reorder), Distribution (Constant or Continuous), Combobox and Cascade, Side-By-Side Comparison, Quadrant Analysis, Forms


Ranking (or reorder) questions allow respondents to drag and drop their choices in a list of elements you're testing.


Distribution lets survey takers show how they would allot time, money, or anything else you can think of among various items you're testing. Constant Distribution means there's a finite amount for respondents to allot, while Continuous Distribution means they can allot as much as they like to each item you're testing (perhaps even allotting 100% to each item).


Combobox is useful for long, single-choice lists, such as a list of countries.


Cascade is a simple way to present two to four nested comboboxes; a popular example is choosing the make, year, model, and trim of a vehicle.


Side-by-side comparison allows you to quickly find a winning image or short phrase from a list, such as a series of possible company names, by showing dynamically updated pairings and asking respondents to make a choice from each pair.


Quadrant analysis measures different entities (such as competitive brands) on a list of qualities, and presents the data using a classic quadrant view.


We also have a Form question type, which gives you extra flexibility in offering respondents several fields to fill out on the same page. You can also set up custom validation rules for each field.
See advanced question types examples.




Advanced Research Tests: Competitive Topography, Advanced MaxDiff, and Price Optimization (VanKonan)


These are more than questions, because they support various smart research methodologies, number crunch responses in a very sophisticated way, and provide you with automated analysis.


Competitive Topography is based on perceptual mapping or multi-dimensional scale analysis. It gives you an interactive, 3-D view of the market you're researching.


Advanced MaxDiff is invaluable for comparing a long list of alternatives.


Price Optimization (VanKonan) is a turnkey price optimization model that will write a battery of questions for you and even produce an annotated, interactive infographic when your survey is fulfilled.
See advanced research tests examples.


Demographics


We have a variety of demographic questions available here; instead of using them to target your sample, these pre-written questions will enable you to better understand your list survey data, slice and dice it on the stats page, and have more filtering options. Use your best judgment to select the traits that will be appropriate for your audience to answer, and not be considered too intrusive. In order to enable the geographic location question, you may need to upgrade to a paid plan. You can also choose to present these demographic trait questions at the beginning of your survey or at the end.



ILLUSTRATING SURVEY ANSWERS


You can upload and attach an image to most questions or answers, and make it appear as a thumbnail or much larger and prominently featured.





RANDOMIZATION


Researchers often want answer choices or sub questions to be presented in a random order to respondents to avoid order bias—like when the first item in a list is rated higher or attracts more attention, just because it's presented first to everyone. Once randomization is switched on, you'll see grey anchor icons next to each field on the right, allowing you to anchor the position of any item that you want excluded from global randomization. This is very useful for keeping answers like “None of the above" or “Other, please specify" as the last answer option in a list. This also works well for scale types of answers like “Strongly disagree, somewhat disagree, neutral, somewhat agree, and strongly agree," that logically must remain in this order.





ADVANCED SURVEY LOGIC MADE EASY


Skip logic allows you to ask relevant questions based on earlier answers and set up A/B or 'monadic' tests (exposing respondents only to one of several alternative stimuli such as product shots, prices or video commercials). Just click on the little bunny rabbits and set it up instantly. We offer direct skip logic, as well as random skip logic with organic or even distribution.


Conditional logic is a set of rules that you can type in directly in the survey fields—it lets you hide or show answers or entire questions based on earlier selections that a respondent made. Use it to control sophisticated monadic survey designs and mask one question by another. Watch a tutorial video to learn how to set up conditional logic.


Piping logic allows you to quote, or 'pipe in,' an answer or image which was shown or selected by a respondent on an earlier question. Watch a tutorial video to learn how to set up piping logic.


Both features cost extra, unless you have them included as a part of your AYTM membership.





HOW TO PREVIEW YOUR SURVEY


You can see your survey the way respondents will see it, without the ability to go back and change answers and so forth. If you view your survey in researcher mode, you can jump to any question in the survey, ignore skip logic, and keep the Next button on without having to fill out every question. You can easily email a link to your survey preview or even a draft of the entire survey.





LIST SURVEYS ONLY


Special Info Sidebar


If you want to have a persistent sidebar next to your survey to explain the purpose of the study, communicate details of an incentive, and/or provide privacy statements, you may want to write a custom message here. Due to the screen size restriction, this message will appear as a splash screen when your survey is opened on a smartphone and will be available for repeat viewing. This special sidebar requires a paid AYTM membership.




Forwarding URLs vs. Simple Thank You Page


To take full advantage of any pre-screeners/pre-qualification questions you may have, you may want to set up forwarding URLs for the following three cases:

  • success (when the survey is completed)
  • overquota (when the survey is fulfilled or closed)
  • failure (when respondent failed one or several pre-qualification questions).

Respondents will be forwarded to the URLs you enter here once their survey sessions are over. Paid members can set up forwarding URLs at the bottom of the survey editor.


Alternatively, you can create a custom 'Thank you' page that will be displayed at the end of the survey. It's useful for communicating next steps, giving instructions on how to obtain an incentive, or simply to express your gratitude for respondents' time and attention.


If neither URLs nor a custom Thank you page is set up, we'll show a screen with the following messages: “Thank you! We sincerely appreciate your help!" or “Survey is closed." We'll present these in the language you selected for the survey locale.









Questions? Comments? Reach out us, we'd love to hear from you: , or +1 (415) 364-8601 (6am-6pm Pacific Time)