Efficient Survey and Questionnaire Design
Surveys and questionnaires have long been key components of marketing campaigns. Carrying out a survey can offer incredible insights and long term benefits. From gauging satisfaction to desires and wants, questionnaires have helped companies of all sizes to adapt and thrive.
Having the right data to work with doesn’t just happen, though. In fact, there are a lot of factors to consider when it comes to form design.
Before you can even begin to collect any data, you’ll need to address a number of questions. In particular, you should be able to answer these questions:
What is the purpose of the survey?
What is it all in aid of? Are you conducting research to highlight problem areas? Are you looking to build for the future with the input of the people who matter to your company? Do you want to assess satisfaction of employees or customers?
Whatever the purpose, the contents should reflect just that. Any unnecessary or tedious questions should be ditched – even at this early stage.
Who are you going to ask to participate?
Who is this survey for? Which people, whether staff or consumers, are going to be most affected by the questionnaire? Are you looking for a very concentrated group or a large sample size for more generalised views?
Of course, 100 people offer a bigger insight than 10 people. On the other hand, 10 specifically chosen participants are more focused than 100 individual chosen at random. Think carefully about the end goal and how to realistically get an idea of how to reach it.
How will the questionnaire or survey be carried out?
Are you hitting the streets in an homage to traditional research methods? Is email your biggest ally? Maybe post or text message will play a key role.
Whatever the method, you’ll have to be prepared for potential pitfalls. Will people want to stop and talk on the street? How big an open or response rate can be expected? These might have an influence on the number of surveys you send out.
How will results be recorded?
Are you going to digitise results with manual data entry? Are you aware of the potential risks, such as typos, misinterpreted data and legibility?
Recording should be at the forefront of your mind when designing questionnaires. Remember that survey form design should be conducted with any software to be used later on in the process firmly in mind.
The makeup of surveys is often determined by the purpose and demographics of the research. There are number of potential mistakes that can be made and limiting these to as close to zero is a must for data integrity.
Whilst each questionnaire is likely going to be different, there are general guidelines that can be followed.
Determine demographics immediately.
Get age, gender or any other personal details out the away early. Remember not to seek any information that won’t further your research or offer any value as filtered results. For example, is race going have an impact on whether or not consumers enjoy your product? In almost every scenario, highly unlikely.
You should always remember that the safety of the ‘prefer not to answer’ checkbox can be the difference between an abandoned questionnaire and a completed one.
The way questions are worded can skew data.
Questions should be neutral rather than leading. A leading question can plant a seed in the mind, influencing the impartiality of any results. Take the following question for example:
“What do you think of the company’s great service?”
You’ve more or less decided that a level of great service already exists. This can sway a genuine answer into a forged one. You may have convinced a participant that the service is ‘great’ when they don’t believe it. On the other side of the coin, you may disgruntle some people who may respond with vicious answers. Without the bias already in place, you can generally expect to receive more honest replies.
Avoid unnecessary uses of jargon and complex sentences.
If you’re approaching a group of experts for any given topic, the need for concern is much smaller but doesn’t mean you should stuff surveys with heavy field-specific lexis.
Explain your questions if needs be but be careful not to overdo it. Long-winded questions can be just as bad as incomprehensible ones.
Send It Out
Before you start printing and sending, be sure that you’ve covered everything. Don’t be afraid to get approval from people who know what you are after.
Ask them to scrutinise just about everything in your proposed questionnaire. From the title to question one and anonymity methods and survey incentives, everything should be given the once, twice and even thrice over.
There’s one more step before you can collect data, though. Finalising your distribution methods to ensure the best possible response rate is vital. Again, ask people what they think to your approach. If you’re on the streets asking questions, are the people responsible for delivering the questions able to effectively ask them?
Are your emails set up for premium open rates? Subject lines and content within them need to be on point. There are a number of way to improve open rates which can help gain more replies.
Hopefully, dealing with responses is pretty straightforward as you’d have had this in mind during the design stage. If you’ve used outsourced specialist survey form design services, you should find no issues at all.
The majority of design service providers will have created questionnaires with specific software solutions and data extraction methods at the core of creation. That means that any data can be easily pulled and stored digitally.
With no fear of entry error, information can be assessed, filtered, segregated and analysed however you see fit for purpose.
If you are using manual entry, it’s advisable that input is thoroughly checked over before being completed to avoid any danger of inaccuracies. With that being said, there isn’t an alternative as accurate as data capture solutions.
Using Your Data
Once you know the results of your survey, the information can be used to improve your practices or services. Considering you’ve asked the right questions, you should have fairly representative statistics offering you key insights into area you are doing well and areas in which you can approve.
Surveys have been helping organisations of all shapes and sizes improve operations and offerings for a very long time now and will undoubtedly continue to do so. One of the most important things to remember is that survey from design can make or break your whole dataset. Get it right and quite often, the rest simply falls into place.
Cleardata’s Survey and Questionnaire Services
Cleardata provide a survey and questionnaire design service that allows organisations to not only collate certain information easily, but to successfully capture that important data once the forms have been completed.
Whether the use of the survey is to obtain reviews from customers, gain valuable insight from pupils or for marketing purposes, Cleardata is able to design a specialised form that will save your company time and money.
For further information about Cleardata’s survey and questionnaire services, please contact our team on 0800 046 8081.