How to create a survey?

Depending on the topic, goal and target group, surveys can differ of course. Nevertheless, there are some general components that need to be considered. Most importantly, the questions should provide evaluable data and the number of the survey participants has to be representative. The following steps should be considered:

1. Survey Goal

What data and results do you want to collect from your target group? At this point, make a note of the desired results that should be answered. This is important in order to make the survey as precise as possible and not to extend it unnecessarily.

2. Develop questions

After the initial criteria have been clarified, you can formulate the actual questions. Make sure, that the questions you ask really provide relevant data. You should pay attention to the following points:

– ask predominantly closed questions. With open (and therefore complex) questions, you risk that the participant will drop out early. In general, it is recommended to ask a maximum of 2 open questions per survey.

– use only simple terms that every participant understands directly. If the use of specific technical vocabulary cannot be avoided, it should be explained additionally.

– make sure that the question is neutral, so that the participant is not being influenced – avoid double questions. A question such as “How do you rate the range of our products and customer service?” can cause confusion. Only take up one topic per question and keep the question as short as possible.

– alternate the questions so the survey is not too monotonous.

– make the answer to the question optional. In most cases, the dropout rates are higher for compulsory questions.

3. Determine the order of the questions and the formatting

There will always be participants who will drop out early. Group the questions by topic, with the most important ones listed first. All in all, the whole survey should be logically structured. Page breaks, titles and instructions will help participants to understand the survey better.

4. Remove unnecessary questions

As mentioned before, the questionnaire should not be unnecessarily long. Therefore, go through all questions again at the end and remove any unnecessary questions.

5. Conduct a test round

A survey full of bugs? Not a good idea!  Better send the survey to colleagues and friends beforehand, so that they can provide feedback and make sure that all questions can be properly understood.

6. The right design

The survey should be inviting for the participants. It does not have to be a Picasso-style artwork, but some additional visual elements such as icons and color accents give the survey an appealing appearance. Interactive elements are also particularly effective. Of course, all in all, the survey should not be overwhelming.

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