The DOs and DON’Ts of Online Surveys

by | Sep 5, 2014 | Assorted

With online surveys being the bread and butter of almost every organisation’s annual research budget, it’s important to know how to get the most out of your spend. However, as research providers we are often faced with having to make the impossible work, instead of working well with the possible.

Whether it’s overly lengthy surveys, or having to fit in just one more open ended question, even though we’re already past the recommended number; saying no to clients is tough work – unfortunately, it’s in their best interest.

So this is just a friendly attempt at trying to make things better for organisations, and their research providers.

Surveys aren’t the only form of online research out there, so perhaps the first ‘don’t’ is to think that they are, and the first ‘do’ is to consider and investigate other forms of online research, MROCs, if you are looking for a more qualitative research solution.

The other DOs

  1. Consider the core reason that you are launching the survey; use it to inform your questions.
  2. Limit the amount of questions you intend to ask, be brutal when making the cut.
  3. Incentivising participation is a must, be sure to increase it if the survey is longer.
  4. Listen to the advice of your research analysts, they really know best.

The other DON’Ts

  1. Don’t set an unrealistic response number in relation to the detail of your sample.
  2. Don’t fill your survey with qualitative/open ended questions that make it overly lengthy.
  3. Don’t try to fulfill too many objectives with one survey, keep it clear and simple.
  4. Don’t use cheap/free tools that don’t give you control over your survey design or sample selection.

It’s best to have a communicative, open and honest relationship between clients and research providers. Most importantly, it is the responsibility of the research provider to give their clients the best advice and deliverables that they can, and it is the responsibility of the client not to use their weight/sway to go against the advice of their providers.