Tag: Better Surveys

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….

“Not sure” vs. “Don’t know”

Traditionally, for questions where it is legitimate for respondents to say they can’t answer, a “Don’t know” response has been added to the end of the answer list. For methods where a researcher is present “Don’t know” works satisfactorily. Often interviewers don’t even read out the “Don’t know” answer but it is there to use if the respondent genuinely can’t…

Using SurveyMonkey: Randomising and rotating answer lists

1. Log in to SurveyMonkey and click on the survey you’d like to work on from the “Active Surveys” list. This takes you to the “Edit Survey” screen. 2. Find the question where you’d like to rotate or randomise the answer list and click the “Edit Question” button for that question. The following window should appear:    3.Scroll down to…

Avoiding response bias due to answer order - randomise and rotate

How does answer order result in bias? As discussed in our previous blog on the importance of balancing scales, response bias can be caused by the order in which answer choices are presented. As an example here’s a simplistic question asking respondents why they use their first choice supermarket: And why is this supermarket your first choice? Please select all…

Balancing scales

As a young researcher learning the art of questionnaire design it was drummed into me that you should avoid leading questions at any cost. Questions that hint at an answer such as “How much will prices go up next year?” should be replaced with neutral questions such as “What do you think will happen to prices next year?”. As well…

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