Keep it simple

In our view the most important thing to bear in mind when designing a survey is to keep it simple. The best researchers translate the often complex needs of their clients into a survey that can be universally understood by respondents and produces data that can be meaningfully analysed.

Respondents’ needs are key. Respondents for a single survey can come from a wide range of backgrounds but each need to be able to understand your questions, to interpret them in the same way and to easily be able to give an answer that applies to them. Keeping things simple is the only way to achieve the clarity required. In contrast complexity results in poor quality response and data sets that are impossible to interpret.

Taking time to make sure your survey is well-designed at the start makes the researcher’s life easier when it comes to making sense of the resulting answers, giving you more space to think about the implications of the findings.

Therefore simplicity isn’t a nice to have, it’s a must have. Simple is best!

Further reading:

Where can we inject more creativity into survey design (Jon Puleston, VP Innovation of the GMI Interactive division at LightSpeed Research, Question Science Blog)

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