Surveys are designed to collect information. If you want your survey to actually provide you with value, you need to make sure your questions specifically address the information you need to improve your services. You should never copy and paste a selection of survey questions simply because you like them. That will only lead to questionable results that send you in questionable directions. The next time you get ready to send out a survey, here’s the lowdown on how to ask effective questions to get valuable answers.
Identify Ideal Information
There are many types of questions to ask with just as many answers to give. From numbers to simple affirmations, the best questions for your survey revolve around what data you want to collect. It is worth thoroughly exploring what information is important to your business. For instance, if you’re after data points to quantify how many people prefer x or y, then checkboxes, multiple choices, and yes/no questions work the best. They are simple, to the point, and don’t overcomplicate things for your audience. However, if you’re business will benefit from more detailed responses, then it’s worthwhile to use textbox questions and give responders the room they need to extrapolate their opinions.
Keep in mind that the more involved the question, the less inclined your responders will be to answer it. Therefore, to boost your participation rate, avoid asking open-ended questions and if you must, include them towards the end of your survey.
Keep It Simple
Once you have clarified the data that you want to gather and have the best types of questions to collect that data, it’s time to write out your entries. This is where keeping it simple, short, and clear becomes super important. Avoid big, unnecessary words. As a rule of thumb, stick to two syllables or less. Maintain short, simple sentences. Assume your audience is multitasking and will only give your questions cursory glances. You’ll want to provide them with something they can skim through and immediately know the answer to.
Maintain a Balance
As much as we hate negative feedback, there is a constructive place for it. If you’re looking to gather genuine information, you cannot provide leading answers that are inherently biased. You need to create opportunities for your respondents to provide honest feedback. Great questions don’t emotionally lead readers toward specific answers. Great questions use wording that allows the responders to form their own opinions and answers. Ultimately, the more honest your responses are, the more impactful that information will be to the growth of your business.
One at a Time
While you might be tempted to cover broad topics in one question in a bid to keep the survey on the short side, avoid doing this. Why? To put it simply, asking for multiple pieces of information in one question can easily become confusing, and confusion can lead to frustration and abandonment of your survey.
Opt for Optional
Not everyone will have an answer for everything. Don’t force them to. Instead, give some thought as to what questions you definitely want answered and which ones would be nice to know but aren’t necessary. If you’re unsure if a question should be skippable or not, make it skippable. Forcing participants to answer questions they don’t feel like answering can result in more people skipping the entire survey, losing you the data you want to gather.
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