Author: austinresearch

Rank bad questions: how not to ask ranking questions

I’ve seen a couple of questions recently which have asked respondents to rank long lists of attributes. An example is shown below:   Ignoring the fact that I’ve never looked for any “benefit” in a loyalty rewards programme for an online travel agency, and I’ve no idea which criteria I should be using for ranking these benefits, there are several…

We know it’s wrong but market researchers are still producing long, boring surveys. How can we change?

In their book Super Freakonomics, Stephen Levitt and Stephen Dubner discuss a common problem facing hospitals, doctors not washing their hands as often as they should. In 1999 the Institute of Medicine estimated that between 44,000 and 98,000 Americans a year die from avoidable hospital errors. The leading cause of these errors was wound infections, easily prevented by doctors washing…

Its not a maths exam! Don't ask respondents to calculate percentages.

A client recently wanted to include a question on a b2b survey asking retailers what percentage of their sales of a certain product were accounted for by different brands. I took their request very literally and turned it into a question that directly asked the percentage of total sales that each brand accounted for. There was no problem with respondents understanding…

Surveys Room 101: My pet hates about surveys

As an experienced survey designer I often see questionnaires that frustrate me in some way, be they too long, too complicated or just designed without any regard for the respondents who are asked to complete them. I try not to let these frustrations affect my mood. However, there are some relatively minor, but recurring, issues that anger me to the point…

Knowing nothing about your client's business could be an advantage

In his book Seeing What Others Don’t, Gary Klein describes how true insights are transformational. They change how we understand, act, see and feel. As insight professionals how can we maximise our chances of producing insights that really make a difference? Perhaps Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner (best known for writing Freakonomics) have the answer in their most recent book…

Why are we weighting? A basic introduction to the concept of weighting

Often, data collected from surveys isn’t exactly representative of the target population even in those instances where quotas have been applied (see our blog on how to get representative samples for more on quotas). Weighting is a statistical technique that can be used to correct any imbalances in sample profiles after data collection. Imagine we have a target population that is evenly split…

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