Many steps and decisions must be made when planning a survey: For example: “How many individuals do I need to survey?” and “How will I disseminate the survey?” While many people have a strong concept of what questions they want to ask, they frequently overlook the importance of a well-designed, unbiased questionnaire.
When you want to ask questions that will represent a largegroup of people and even make high-stakes judgments based on the responses, it’s critical that your questions be free of bias and personal interpretation. More significantly, they must collect the data you believe they have. In other words, instead of riddles that demand mental gymnastics, ask clear questions that yield straightforward answers.
Questionnaire design is more of a science than an art, and enlisting the help of those who have done research before might be the difference between a mediocre or disastrous endeavor and one that makes you a hero. Here are a few examples of how paying attention to the questionnaire design might help the project as a whole.
Are you all set to go?
The data acquired through ready-to-go surveys have been found to be largely unreliable. Moreover, the survey sponsors would have been better off flipping a coin to make decisions if they had not recognized how inaccurate the data was. At the very least, they would have been aware of the risk they were taking, rather than relying on erroneous data to guide their decision.
No one likes to examine the facts and figures!
Because you’re asking your respondent to doyou a favor, it’s critical that the questions you ask and the directions you give are simple. In one example, respondents were asked to offer percentages for 11 categories in a previous survey, which when combined together equaled 100 percent. It’s no surprise that nearly one-fifth of those polled chose to ignore the question. It’s a waste of time to miss out on so many people’s responses.
You should also make it simple for your respondents to comprehend and follow your directions. A table or matrix style is ideal for questionnaire design since it saves space and allows you to group comparable items together. Unfortunately, this style may not always contribute to accurate data collection depending on the survey vendor, and it may not display well on a small screen in an online survey. When confronted with a matrix question in one of our survey studies of another vendor, nearly a quarter of respondents simply did not follow the instructions. When each topic was asked independently in a separate poll, however, the non-response rate was substantially lower.
Consider how the questionnaire will be constructed and the relevance of strategic question writing during the early stages of your survey’s development. A Survey Panel Company can also assist you if you believe you have all of the other things sorted out but simply need assistance with questionnaire design.