There are many reasons for writing a survey: maybe you have to have one for a school project, or you want to find out what the opinions of your employees are, or maybe you are doing it just for fun on your website. It seems pretty easy to write a survey, but once you get started you may get stuck on pretty basic stuff, such as what kind of question to begin with, or how you should formulate certain questions. You probably want to write a survey that looks professional, and from which you get the information that you want. Read these 5 tips below to get you started:
1. How to begin
Especially when your survey is a long one it is important that you start with a couple of easy, generic questions that everyone knows what to answer to. Later on you can start to go deeper and ask questions that people need to think about a little longer, but you don’t really want to throw them straight into the pit. A lot of people fill out surveys as a kindness or in a casual way, and then it is especially important that you keep the person interested. If your survey is a very short one (five to ten questions), start off with one basic question at least, and then start to dig deeper.
Sometimes you may want to ask a question that not everybody is familiar with. For instance, if you are going to ask what a person’s thoughts are on a certain company or product, you should explain a little bit about the company or product first and/or provide links to websites or videos that explain more. You could also add ‘I am unfamiliar with ‘name company/product”, as a possible answer, so that people don’t just click something because they want to move on with the survey.
3. Include all answers
A survey is usually multiple choice, and it is important that you make sure to include all possible answers in your question. For instance, as we stated before, a person may be unfamiliar with something, and it is smart to add an answer that says that they are unfamiliar with the thing that the question is about. Another thing is that some questions can be very personal, such as questions about a person’s income, religion, race or age. That’s why you should offer a ‘prefer not to answer’ option to those questions. If you are not sure if you have all the options covered, you can always add ‘other’ as an answer.
4. Make questions simple
It can be quite exhausting for someone to answer a question that is too long or covers more than one subject. For instance, a question like ‘How helpful do you find the service and the articles that you find on HQTips’ would be wrong, because they are two different things, and a person might have different opinions on both of them. Instead you should ask ‘How helpful do you find the service on HQTips?’ and ‘How helpful do you find the articles on HQTips?’, as two separate questions. If you keep things simple you are more likely to get good answers.
5. Ask open questions
It is important that you don’t ask biased questions: questions that already steer the answerer into a certain direction. That way you will never get honest results as the answerer may just get confused and click an option that they don’t fully agree with. An example of a biased question is ‘How much do you like HQTips?’, because the question already assumes that the answerer likes HQTips.com, which they may not. Instead you should ask ‘What is your opinion on HQTips?’ or ‘How do you feel about HQTips?’.
Hopefully these few tips will help you write better surveys. You will see that once you get started on it, it’s not that hard to do.