8 Tips For Creating A Good Survey

If you would like to create a survey whether for work or research purpose, creating a good survey is crucial which in turn will determine the quality of result you will get.

8 tips for creating good surveys

 Before creating a questionnaire and sending it out to respondents, it is important to keep a few pointers in mind. We will list a few of these pointers in this article.

 1. Maintain a logical structure

Generally, the following rules apply when it comes to building surveys:

Clearly communicate  your purpose, approximate duration, etc, at the beginning of a survey. This increases the probability that people will respond to the questionnaire properly and completely.

Always ask background questions (gender, age, etc.) at the end of your survey, except in certain situations whereby it might be necessary to ask background questions at the beginning of your survey. For example when using routing, it might be better to ask these questions earlier.

Open your questionnaire with simple questions and ask difficult questions (eg. Personal / intimate questions) at the end. If you start with difficult questions, your respondent will probably get hooked instantly and decide to quit. Starting with easy questions will enable you gather most of the information you need even if the respondent decides to quit later when he or she eventually gets to the difficult questions.

 2. Only show relevant questions

In some researches it happens that you only want ask ‘X’ to certain group of your respondents to respond to certain questions. Take for example questions that are meant only for women, or for men within the age group of 30 years or older. It might also be for users of a specific brand or product. With routing, you ensure that you lead the right respondent to the right questions.

Online survey tools make routing usually very easy for you, but for surveys on paper there are also routing options. You can give textual instructions to respondents (eg. with "yes." -> Go to question 4 and "no" -> go to question 7).

3. Make it simple

Successful surveys with high responses always look simple. The questionnaire is simple, easy to read and it speaks for itself. You as the respondent would easily know what is expected of you.

For the best simple looking online survey, it’s important to choose a good tool, where you have the possibility to present a decent and neat survey. Search online for a few tools before you finally choose to work with a survey tool; this way, you’ll be sure to have an ordered and comprehensible result.

Are you writing your research on paper? Then it’s important that the questions are also structured neatly and simple. Think about the page numbering and be sure not to place too much text/information close to each other.

4. Decide what you really need to do and what not

Nobody likes a survey that is too long. It is therefore essential to focus on what questions you want to ask. You could ask yourself questions like:  What questions must necessarily be in my survey to be carry out my research? What questions are more ' fun ' and ' interesting  to add'?

Make sure you add the essential questions in your survey  and  then see if it is really necessary to have other questions. Remember to keep your survey short and simple.

5.Think about ' neutral ', ' not applicable ' and ' don't know '

With a points scale you can force someone to give an opinion to a given question (eg. ' strongly disagree' or ‘disagree’). Five and seven points scale of course have a neutral middle. But in addition, you can still choose to offer respondents the option to choose ' n/a ' or 'don't know '. 

 Please keep in mind that these are all three very different expressions (‘neutral’, ‘not applicable’ and ‘don’t know’) and that they cannot replace each other. Also think carefully which of these three options you need in your survey and try to imagine what you would likely want to see or do if you were a respondent. 

 6. Add variety to your question  

If respondents have to fill in many of the same questions in a row, their attention weakens. Some respondents might just quit. That is why it is important to add variety in the way you present your questions.

Moreover, this point also depends on the presentation: a long table with endless “Likert scales” can discourage someone, but if you divide the table into smaller parts, it looks less overwhelming.

7. Stay as simple as possible

In all your statements in the survey, it is important to remain as simple as possible. Use clear and simple language. Check carefully that no double negatives are in you sentences.

8. Also think about the distribution of your inquiry

Making the survey itself is not only the thing you should pay attention to. It is also important to think about how to distribute your questionnaire - how will you reach your respondents? Do you already have a file with email addresses and will you approach people by email? Or by post?

It is good to decide if you would reward for respondents for taking your survey. Can people win something by filling your survey? This can significantly increase the response to your inquiry!

We hope these tips helps you when next you create a survey. Do you want to know more about making good surveys or do you have questions about our online survey tool? Please contact us!

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