What are the factors of a good online survey?
- A Set Objective
- Accurate Scope
- Established Flow
- Target Audience Engagement
- Tailored Language
- Streamlined Questions
- Standardized Test
- Scaled Responses
- Contained Length
In this modern day and age, we have the benefit of collecting data in an instant with online surveys. However, there are many challenges and distractions to compete with in terms of the digital age as well. In place of qualifying their responses with explanations and clarifications in person, you only have one shot to get the correct data you need – so you better do it right! Here are 9 online survey tips to help you with effective and purposeful data gathering.
A Set Objective
The first two things you need to know before you start generating your questionnaire are 1. Why are you doing this survey? and 2. What do you need to learn from the data you’ve collected? You should also be cognizant of the end-goal and work backward. Otherwise, you will have done all your work for naught. This first step will inform all of your questions, the flow of your survey, and ultimately the value and application of its outcome.
Targeted data gathering makes for more accurate results. Try to limit your questionnaire to shed light on a specific and limited range of information. If you compile too many insights into one survey in the interest of saving time, you are diluting the density and quality of your data. This also helps in identifying the ideal key respondents you can invite to answer the survey.
Focus on funneling your questions into a logical sequence that makes the most sense to your intended audience. Jumping from one topic to another will confuse the respondents and disrupt their natural train of thought. This can altogether discourage them from completing the survey.
Target Audience Engagement
With a set objective, you can narrow down your sample size to the respondents that truly represent who you need to validate your final assessment. They will also have a higher engagement rate, knowing that the survey speaks about their concerns, first-hand experiences, and knowledge base. They are probably the beneficiaries or the customer base your survey is made for, so best to get the information from the people most involved in the process.
Always ensure that you aren’t using terminologies that the layperson may not understand. Stay away from industry jargon and colloquialisms that might muddle or alienate your audience. Also, avoid making your respondents work to understand the questions in your survey. The extra brain power they need to understand your perplexing or convoluted phrasing only serves to slow the respondent down and eventually exhaust them. A word of caution, you don’t have to oversimplify your questions. You just have to trim down the fluff so your respondents only see the very core of your query.
Make sure that every question is necessary and direct. If there is any ambiguity in the questions, then the answers you collect may skew your data and lead you along the wrong path. In addition, don’t ask more than one question in an item. If you ask something like “which site gives you the easiest AND most effective online survey tips” in your questionnaire, then you’re not doing it right. You don’t pay for digital real estate by the number of questions, so just separate the two ideas and get more defined results.
Remove any biases from your questions and keep the selections as neutral as possible. People can be swayed by the wording of your questions, and they involuntarily want to veer towards the answers that obviously paint them in a better light. Look to the descriptors in your sentences and see if any of them are pointing the respondent to a particular direction or choice preference.
Over a true or false, or a yes / no question, you are better off scaling your survey choices. This will fetch you richer and more meaningful data. The familiar format of “always, often, sometimes, rarely, and never” allows for some qualitative gradients on the responses and also displays clearer behavior respondent patterns.
Keep it short. It will encourage your respondents to complete the survey all the way to the end. The last thing you want is to drive them to the point where they might not finish your survey at all, rendering the rest of their input unusable. Some will even skim and assess the length of the survey and become disheartened from the onset. Long-winded questionnaires also lead to lower response rates.
Now that you have a few online survey tips to work with, don’t let the task overwhelm you! It boils down to being clear, concise, and direct – and you should be able to gather accurate data from your respondents without a hitch.