When conducting any online questionnaire, you have to consider many factors in facilitating the collection of reliable and quality data. Knowing your sample population is not enough. On the contrary, your online questionnaire design needs to give you relevant and reliable facts that you can use in decision making. Giving out poorly designed questionnaires to an audience that does not know you will lead to low response rates. In addition, even a well designed survey may fail to attract the required level and quality of responses on which to base decisions. There is need to improve your response rates with an online questionnaire if the objective of your research is to be realised.
One way to ensure an online questionnaire is effective, is by considering and sticking to the purpose of the research. A survey has to be specific to the information sought, and all questions have to be designed with the purpose in mind. A survey that deviates from the main purpose will certainly not elicit the required responses. One way to improve your response rates with an online questionnaire is to ensure short and precise questions that articulate the purpose of the survey.
It is critical to establish a strong relationship with the sample population in a survey. There is need to send pre-notifications before the survey to get them. You can achieve this by sending personalised emails to all respondents and not block emails. A personalised email with a friendly welcome will increase the response rate of the targeted respondents.
An important approach to improve your response rates with an online questionnaire is to keep the design of the questionnaire as short as possible, logical, precise and very clean. A logical and well designed survey portrays professionalism. It will motivate respondents to answer questions as required. A poor design may not be taken seriously and most respondents may ignore it, which may lead to a low response rate.
Pilot testing is a critical step in improving the response rate. An online questionnaire offers the best platform to carry out a well-planned pilot test that indicates whether all the technical systems are set to handle the survey. A pilot test also allows prospective respondents prepare and learn how they would answer the survey questions. Showing respondents how to answer during the actual survey may pass as giving leading questions, which may not produce reliable results.
With an online questionnaire, it is possible to offer respondents meaningful incentives, which you may not achieve in other survey methods. Offering coupons or free merchandise has shown no significant effect in increasing the response rate in surveys. However, promising to share the survey results and giving a detailed explanation of how the survey feedback will affect the respondents will motivate more people to respond to a questionnaire. This is the best way to increase the response rate.
Researchers over the time have succeeded in improving their response rates with an online questionnaire due to its convenience in surveys. While other questionnaires can be misplaced, are not returned, or do not motivate respondents to give their answers, online questionnaires are convenient. The researcher can trace each questionnaire to the respondent. In addition, people may find it much easier to use an online
platform than to use papers.