How Your Survey Design Affects Feedback

Nowadays online surveys are an efficient means of gathering data on customers’ opinions and recommendations. Online Questionnaire feedback is essential for modern companies who need to constantly improve in order to stay competitive. To obtain reliable survey feedback, companies need to have good survey design.

To ensure the choice of appropriate survey design, the first step should be to identify the purpose of the survey as clearly as possible, as well as the research details to be used to attain that purpose. That is why the stage of developing a survey proposal on part of survey authors helps to explain not only the purpose, but also other important data, such as the survey questions, the sampling method, etc. Then the proposal should be reviewed in order to make any changes as appropriate. Peer reviewing, as well as reviewing by supervisors, are recommended.

Peer reviewing is the assessment of the questionnaire by other specialists in the same sphere, and together with reviewing by supervisors it helps to have surveys discussed by a larger group of different people who can identify weaknesses in the survey design and suggest their removal in order to improve surveys and make them more efficient, with sufficiently reliable survey feedback.

For the successful preparation of online surveys which truly meet the purposes set, there is a rule of the six Ps which states that “Prior preparation and planning prevent poor performance”. In fact, that is a universal rule which applies to a vast number of spheres, but to achieve really useful survey feedback, it is especially important to observe the six Ps when designing online surveys.

There are a number of instances in which there are poor results and survey feedback obtained after gathering poor data from poor survey design, and they have served as reminder of how the design of online surveys can dramatically impact the results.

In order to achieve a well designed questionnaire research project, the following rules should be observed: as mentioned above, the purposes should be clearly stated; the questions developed should be well worded, followed by appropriate formats for the responses; finally, a well designed sampling method should be used.

The development of the so called “good” questions for online surveys is especially difficult. Well designed questions are among the prime factors for obtaining quality survey feedback. The types of questions to be used for each item of information discussed should be carefully considered, and the choice should be made between objective and subjective questions, close ended and open ended questions, leading and loaded questions, etc.

The design of online surveys also includes several other criteria, such as the type of data targeted, quantitative or qualitative, and the survey layout. The employment of colours, shapes, brightness, etc. as visual incentives which respondents can follow while filling questionnaires is a powerful factor for good survey feedback. When directions are needed to guide respondents, they should be inserted in the places preceding the areas to which they apply, and such instructions should be clearly noticeable.

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