Creating a survey, the right way


Creating a survey, the right way Survey
Table of Contents

What is a survey?

Before getting into designing a survey like a pro, let us first understand what exactly a survey is. Well, you can look at a survey as a questionnaire framed in a way that it gathers structured information or feedback. Most businesses and organizations use surveys to collect data from people/respondents which is then analyzed to derive results and conclusions out of it. Hence, the way you conduct and workout your surveys matters the most.  

From far away, surveys sound pretty easy to conduct and manage. Although, there are some prerequisites that you need to be aware of. In this article we will take a look at those systematic steps and tips needed to conduct a survey in a correct way.  

Exploratory Research Guide

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How to create a survey? A proper step-by-step guide.

Conducting a survey is a task when you are rooting for quality data and meaningful accurate insights. Hence it is important that you know every step of conducting a survey. And we got you covered for that one. Here are the steps to conduct an effective survey:  

  • Define a purpose   

Every survey has a purpose. Be it for just mass data collection about a topic, gathering feedback from the customer, employee satisfaction status and so on. The point being even before you sit down to frame a survey, you need to affirm a topic or a purpose first.  

The purpose of a survey is nothing but what your survey will do for you. The topic of a survey represents its purpose. So, for instance, your purpose can be “We want to know what our customers think of our newly launched product.” This becomes your survey purpose and you will design the survey questions around it. Topic name for the same could be “Customer feedback survey” or “Product feedback survey”.  

  • Appropriate questions  

How well your survey performs majorly depends on how you frame the questions. It only makes sense to have limited but meaningful questions for your survey. You need to make sure that every question asked is directed towards the survey topic and not anything else. Each question should add significant value to your survey research and contribute to the goal.  

For instance, if respondent’s salary is important and relevant to your survey topic, then you can involve a direct question for the same, else it is good to skip it. 

  • Keeping it short and simple  

You cannot only focus on getting as much information as possible. Although that sounds like a right step, but some of the thought has to go towards the respondents and their comfort.

Framing long surveys with lots of questions can mostly push the respondents away. The reason being that most people come across your survey when they are in the middle of something, where they can spare at the most 5 or 10 minutes answering your survey. But when they get into answering and if your survey is literally never-ending, respondents will just feel bored and frustrated, resulting in abandoning the survey half way.  

For the above reason, and keeping your incoming survey data precise, it is always advised to keep the surveys short and focus on framing only those questions which are directly relevant to the survey topic.  

  • Simplified questions 

As discussed above, the questions you ask determine the performance of your survey. As much as it is important to direct questions towards the survey topic, it is just as important to pay attention to how it is framed. Asked direct questions and limited them. This practice will naturally make you want to ask two or three questions all combined into one. This results in a big lengthy question, which can be highly confusing to answer.  

Along with all the precautions, it needs to be taken care of that your questions are short and easy to understand to all types of respondents. Avoid clubbing multiple questions into one. In such cases you can make use of different types of questions like open-ended or matrix questions which covers various dimensions of a topic. But on a general basis, it is safe to ask one question at a time in a language that is easy and simple to understand.  

  • Avoid bias  

Most of the time when you are framing questions and answer options, there can be some words or phrases that might influence respondents to answer that question in a particular way. Although, most of the time it happens unintentionally. This use of words or phrases leads to biases. Respondents may end up choosing answers that they initially didn’t intend to.  The best practice to avoid this is to only provide those words and phrases that the respondents need to understand the questions and answers. Your question wording should be focused on what respondents want to answer as their opinion rather than trying to push in your point of view along.  For example, asking “How good do you think our customer service is?” itself is a leading question because it already decides for the respondent that the customer service is good, you just want them to tell you how good it was. This might mislead the respondents who feel the service was not good.  

  • Use response scales  

A response scale is nothing but a range of answer options representing all possible variations of choice. It is preferred over binary response options (true/false, yes/no) so that the respondent gets a better range of responses to choose from that best represents their opinion and view.  When you have to ask about satisfaction, happiness, agreement or disagreement of the respondents towards certain topic, using response scale can be a better option than binary response options. For example, the question is “How satisfied are you with our products?”. The response scale for the same can be “Very satisfied, satisfied, neutral, unsatisfied, very unsatisfied”. These options give a range of options to choose from rather than “satisfied, unsatisfied” 

  • Straightforward questions first 

The trick to keeping the respondents engaged till the end of the survey is to give them a good start. You can do this by lacing easy questions in the beginning of the survey so that they don’t feel the pressure of putting so much thought into it from the start. You can keep the thought-provoking questions in the end so that till then respondents are engaged enough.  This matters the most when you have to gather personal information like income, address, contact or any other sensitive topic that might seem off-putting if asked at the start of the survey. Doing so will put people into fatigue and keep them from getting to the end of the survey. 

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  • Adding rewards  

This is not a mandatory step but can act as a booster. Incentives can be in the form of discounts, offers, gifts, vouchers, gift cards and so on. Incentives on survey responses help you to get people to answer your survey. That being said, the disadvantage is that it might attract an unreliable audience whose only intention is to get the incentives. Make sure to limit your survey responses to those who are reliable and have been loyal to you. This way, you know your incentives are going into the right places in return of quality survey data.  

  • Mock tests  

Once you take care of all the constraints of creating surveys, you decide to deploy it to the real audience. But wait, there is a problem. Many of the respondents don’t seem to understand a particular question and are skipping it. Now what do you do with your survey already being live? To prevent such disasters from happening, it is best to take the survey for a mock. Meaning, test your survey potential with a crowd like friends or colleagues. This way, you will know what difficulties potential respondents can face and correct them right away. Doing so will reduce the chances of skewed or incorrect results. 

  • Deploy the survey 

This is the last step to creating a survey, that is to finally deploy it to the right audience. You can choose whichever online or offline platforms you like to distribute your survey to the audience. Online platforms can be emails, social media platforms, SMS and offline ones can be phone calls or in-person interviews.  Deploying a survey is just the beginning of a long survey analysis process. Picking up the right group of people to answer your survey directly affects your data quality, hence it is important to choose them wisely. 

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Great Research
Fast Insights
Best-in-class ROI

Voxco’s platform helps you gather omnichannel feedback, measure sentiment, uncover insights and act on them.

Join 500 + global clients across 40+ countries