1. It is critical to articulate the survey’s purpose. What goals will it help you achieve? What objectives do you have in mind? What type of data do you need to collect, and how will you use it? Your answers to these questions will be your guide as you develop your survey.
2. Keep your questions brief, simple and relevant. Organize them in a logical order. Use language which will be easily understood by your audience. Try to think from your respondents’ perspective: will they stay engaged, comprehend your questions and be willing to share their insights?
3. Use open-ended questions sparingly. Answering them takes time and energy. Moreover, you will need to code (find and assign common themes) and analyze their responses. A good approach is to ask open-ended questions as a follow-up for gaining more insights, when you can’t predict what the possible answers might include.
4. Think about the wording and sequence of your questions. Avoid using emotionally coloured words, which might lead your respondents towards a particular opinion. For example: What is your attitude to our association’s well-thought-out advocacy strategy? Even the sequence of questions can influence the results. For example, you might ask about respondents’ income levels first, which makes them think about money. This could colour their response on, say, their likelihood of spending money on pricey expenditures.
5. Avoid asking double-barreled questions. For example in an employee survey avoid asking, do you support our vacation and compensation policy? Your respondents might have a positive attitude to one and negative views on the other.
6. Keep in mind that online surveys are self-administered, which means your respondents can’t ask you to clarify a particular word or question.Make it easy for them to understand the questions you are asking. Avoid using “insider” terminology.
7. Finally, all questions should be necessary and relevant. Don’t make respondents feel overwhelmed, as fatigue decreases their concentration and level of engagement.
Please give us a call if you have questions about developing your next survey.