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Survey general guidelines

Surveys on different subjects are a common through companies.

To be able to get the accurate info from which actionable insights can be extracted you need to follow a set of guidelines:

General guidelines:

  1. Define you goal(s): what do you want to find out and why.
  2. Determine the questionnaire distribution method: email/paper.
  3. Decide if confidentiality or anonymity is requested in order to gain trust and sincere answers.
  4. Develop a timeline for you project launch/end and communication.
  5. Create your questionnaire items or choose your supplier.
  6. Create a communication plan and develop the messages you want to send and via which channel.
  7. Communicate with stakeholders and inform them about the initiative and their role in the project.
  8. Test your survey.

Question creation guidelines:

  1. Keep the language as simple as you can and text as short and concise as you can.
  2. Avoid creating a multiple question. A multiple question is defined as asking in the same question two or more things.
  3. Make sure you don’t lead an answer through your question wording.
  4. Keep the survey as short as you can.
  5. Use wisely open-ended questions as they are difficult to interpret.

Scale creation guidelines:

  1. Choose the appropriate type of answer for your question: choose one, multiple answer, dichotomy, ranking, matrix, scale, etc.
  2. Be consistent and whenever possible use the same type of answers.
  3. Be consistent and whenever possible use the same answer evaluation ( e.g.: 1 to 5 scale where 1 is very dissatisfied and 5 is very satisfied).
  4. Use symmetric scales. If the answer scale is negative to positive have a middle which is neutral. From the middle point go to positive and negative using the same measure. Taking the middle out, without modifying the rest of the scale, is a method to force the respondent to choose a side (from neutral to have a deeper analysis and go towards either positive or negative)
  5. Be sure to add N/A option where applicable – if this option is not present respondents for which the question is not applicable for different reasons will be forced to give an answer and it will be misleading. If the option is not present and the question does not require an answer the respondent can leave blank the response. Blank responses are also misleading.

Critical thinking. Questions to ask yourself when designing a survey:

Is the respondent capable to accurately remember the info, behaviors or attitudes that I require?

Is the respondent willing to provide this info? In what conditions would he provide this info?

What is the respondent motivation to answer this question?

Do I induce or influence the response by the question wording, or by displaying other info like chapters, etc?

Does the survey journey and the way the questions are displayed when conditional logic is present influences the respondent?