Month: April 2014

Getting properly anchored: How to improve the accuracy of respondent estimates

Generally, humans are bad at making estimates without some form of context. If someone asks us how loud something is we can’t articulate our answer any better than saying something vague like “quite loud”. But ask us to compare two noises and we’ll definitely be able to say which one is louder and even give an estimate by how much…

Don’t show question numbers in online surveys

It’s fairly common to see online surveys with numbers in front of the question text (an example is shown below): Question numbers shouldn’t be shown to respondents. They are irrelevant to them and an added complication. If respondents are routed round questions then question numbers can be missed out and respondents can see themselves going from, for example, Q7 to Q12….

Mind your language

When designing survey questions it is important to communicate to respondents in the right way so they are able to easily understand and respond. Badly worded questions lead to data that is unreliable and difficult to interpret. Below are some guidelines for writing effective questions: 1. Use the same language as respondents. Remember that your survey audience can be very diverse…

The importance of piloting

When I started working in market research at what was then called BMRB, online surveys didn’t exist. Interviewing was mainly carried out face-to-face or by telephone. Online interviewing has, of course had quite an impact on survey research, making it cheaper and usually faster. However, one downside to the growth of online surveys has been a decline in piloting questionnaires….

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