You are getting ready for a poll or a survey. What do you have to do first? Of course, you have to collect more information about your target audience. What is next? You have to prepare the questions for your survey. Both stages sound easy and doable, don’t they?
Now you have been caught in a trap. The stages that sound as the simplest ones typically have some hidden aspects where you can make a lot of mistakes. Have a look at the list of advice and either ask an expert, “Make my own questionnaire!”.
Follow the Recommendations to Avoid All Possible Mistakes and Pitfalls
- Make all the questions simple and specific.
Your audience should have no difficulty understanding your questions. Your language should be easy and clear. What you want to do is to write a list of questions for the readers to be able to answer them without asking any extra questions.
The most effective way to do that is to use the language you use daily. Try asking the questions you have prepared to your colleagues or friends; thus, you will see how people react to them.
- Do not use the words with unclear meaning.
There are a lot of words which can be interpreted differently by different people. Saying ‘many products’, you will leave to specify the quantity to the reader of the question. Avoid phrases that are left to the reader’s interpretation, such as ‘many’, ‘several’, most’, etc. It is better to use such words as ‘a few’, ‘a couple of’, ‘majority of’, etc.
- Set limitations of the options for ranking.
Most questionnaire services opt for the number of six items on the ranking list. If the list is too long, people are likely to abandon the survey. If you have more than six items and you need feedback on every of them, try to make two sets of questions.
- Multiple choice questions should not overlap.
There should be all possible answers included in the list given to a multiple-choice question if the readers can give a single answer only. Avoid overlapping. For instance, it is wrong to have the question about the age with the following options ‘15-20, 20-30, 30-40, over 40.’
In this case, those who are twenty or thirty years old will be at a loss which option to choose.
- Do not include two questions into one.
A common mistake is to make the question double. An example of a wrong questionnaire format is the following question, “How far would you go for a pizza and a disco?” It is difficult to answer the question because there are two options included in one question. The answer will definitely be inaccurate.
- Offer some “out” option to the questions that do not apply.
For some respondents, it is not possible to answer particular questions because of lack of experience. Offer them an opportunity to answer something like “No answer” or “Does not apply to me”. At the same time, the questions that require definite answers should not allow such an option, e.g. “What is your rate to the website?”
- The number of options should be adequate: neither too many nor too few.
It is not possible to produce a perfect sample questionnaire format with the exact quantity of items on the list. This number of options varies for every question. However, you can anticipate the most likely variants and offer the option “other” to get responses of all the respondents. For instance, an owner of a pet store might ask about the pets of the customers and include approximately ten most popular animals in the options, leaving the option ‘other’ for those left out.
- Help the readers recollect information.
Do not make your respondents recollect things they do not consider important. For example, it will not be a problem to answer the question about the trips made outside of the country the previous year, but it will be definitely irritating to think about the number of advertising boards on the way to the airport. Asking about daily routine events you will not get clear memories.
Having composed questions for the survey, look through the list of advice again and see if you have followed the recommendations. Do some small edits to improve your questionnaire. Make some extra effort and do rewriting of the less successful parts. Do value the time of your customer and your own time. Make your questions accurate, and you will get clear responses.
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