14 Tips For Writing An Effective Online Survey

14 Tips For Writing An Effective Online Survey

Developing a​ useful,​ well-written online survey that extracts the​ information you need from your users can be a​ challenge. in​ this article,​ I will review 14 tips for creating a​ useful online survey.

1) Write a​ brief,​ concise survey. Start with a​ mental framework that focuses on​ only what is​ essential to​ know. Ask questions only if​ the​ answers will give you the​ data you need and can use. if​ a​ question is​ not important enough to​ include in​ your report on​ the​ survey’s findings,​ then remove the​ question. Try to​ envision each question as​ its own specific theory that you are testing.

In addition,​ research has shown that people skim and skip on​ the​ web because it​ is​ difficult to​ read lots of​ heavily condensed text on​ a​ computer screen. Most users do not want to​ scroll through a​ long page of​ text,​ so your online survey completion rate will be higher if​ the​ survey is​ short and succinct.

2) Try to​ begin the​ survey with interesting questions. Interesting questions will inspire the​ respondent to​ keep reading and complete the​ survey.

3) Develop questions with answers in​ the​ proper format for your purposes. For example,​ if​ you believe your students need more time to​ complete the​ questions in​ your lesson,​ ask,​ “How long did it​ take you to​ complete the​ unit and accompanying questions?” with various time intervals as​ possible answers. This is​ better than asking,​ “Do you need more time to​ finish the​ unit and accompanying questions?” with yes or​ no as​ possible responses.

4) Plan ahead of​ time how you and your company will analyze the​ information before you send out the​ final version of​ the​ survey. This may affect your questions and format when you realize that the​ statistical analysis you need to​ perform cannot be done with these particular question results.

5) Use the​ simplest language possible and respect the​ respondent’s dignity when constructing questions. Your survey respondents will undoubtedly come from many different groups,​ and more often than not,​ are less expert in​ the​ field than you are.

6) Use neutral language. the​ online survey is​ being developed to​ find out what your audience thinks and is​ not a​ forum for you to​ air your perceptions or​ opinions.

7) Relax your grammar a​ bit so your questions do not sound too formal. For instance,​ the​ word “who” is​ often acceptable when “whom” is​ technically correct.

8) Be sure to​ ask only one question at​ a​ time and put them in​ a​ logical order. Questions like “If you scored less than 70% on​ the​ test and you have taken the​ test another time previous to​ this,​ what do you think would help you receive an​ 80% or​ above the​ next time you take the​ test?” will be difficult for respondents to​ answer and even more challenging for you to​ interpret.

9) Avoid double negatives,​ difficult concepts,​ and specific recall questions. Respondents are easily perplexed when trying to​ interpret the​ meaning of​ a​ question that uses double negatives. Respondents can also become quickly overwhelmed and lose detail of​ events or​ circumstances that are farther back in​ time. Most importantly,​ if​ the​ survey is​ too complex and/or difficult to​ fill out,​ respondents won’t complete it!

10) Try to​ use more closed-ended questions,​ with no more than one or​ two open-ended questions. Respondents usually have a​ better understanding of​ closed-ended questions because they are more straightforward and offer responses they can choose from.

Open-ended questions require a​ written response. an​ excessive number of​ open-ended questions can wear down the​ respondent and reduce the​ quality of​ the​ answers they provide.

11) Scaled response questions should have answers that are at​ balanced,​ comparable intervals. For example,​ offering choices of​ excellent,​ very good,​ good,​ and terrible would cause you to​ miss important information in​ between the​ values of​ good and terrible.

12) Whenever possible,​ responses should be developed as​ discrete amounts instead of​ general statements of​ quantities,​ with specific options from which to​ choose. It’s better to​ ask,​ “How many times a​ month do you go to​ the​ movies?” “0”,​ “1 to​ 3 times a​ month”,​ “3 to​ 5 times a​ month or​ more”,​ instead of​ “How often do you go to​ movies?” “almost never”,​ “one and a​ while”,​ “I am there at​ least once a​ week”,​ etc.

13) Name your survey and write a​ brief introduction. Providing a​ survey name and a​ brief introduction are good ways to​ give your respondents some background and a​ frame of​ reference. it​ also prepares them for what is​ to​ come.

14) Craft a​ well-written subject line for the​ email you send with the​ survey to​ capture your respondents’ attention.

While not exhaustive,​ the​ points listed above are enough to​ get you started in​ the​ right direction. in​ summary,​ a​ well-written online survey has higher completion rates and is​ an​ effective method for gathering information.

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