Step number one in any research process is to ask, “why are we conducting this survey”? Everything will flow from the answer to this question including the method and the questions you ask. All too often, even before determining our objectives, we have decided that we need to do an online survey. In my mind, this is putting the cart before the horse. If we put our goals and objectives first we may realize that focus groups or face-to-face interviews are a far better alternative.
The most important first step in developing your online survey is to clearly define yourobjectives. Ask yourself…
Why are we conducting this survey?
What are my key information needs?
How will I use this information or what actions will I take based on the information that I gather?
Your questionnaire can be measured against these objectives. “Is the question necessary? Does it satisfy one of the objectives of the study”?
As you develop each question ask yourself how you will use the responses to this question. This process will help you separate the “need to know”from the “nice to know”. Keeping your objectives focused and specific will result in a questionnaire that is focused and specific. Ultimately this will improve your response rate.