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    Questions You Shouldn't Include in a Survey

    Online surveys are extremely popular marketing tools to obtain feedback on their products or services. But there can be psychological harm caused to some respondents, so there are recommendations to provide respondents with the possibility to skip an online survey question or questions or to withdraw from the survey they are filling. This is a possibility which guarantees high quality data, as bored or offended respondents can complete false replies.

    Each online survey question is aimed to ask for specific important information. But there can be sections of respondents, such as vulnerable populations, or groups sensitive to specific topics, so when designing online surveys, online survey question content should be assessed to avoid causing embarrassment or offending some respondents. This is especially valid for questions which can hurt certain groups religious beliefs, or questions which can be interpreted as sexual discrimination.

    Furthermore, there is another online survey question type which is not considered a benefit to some online surveys. Although it is common practice to include demographic questions in surveys launched online, it is recommended to avoid this online survey question type for the following reason: demographic data may lead to problems which can impact the data accuracy.

    The problems that can arise from asking demographic questions are the following. In the first place, when survey data are filtered by demographic information, the sample obtained may be too small, not worthwhile, so it does not yield meaningful data – there is proneness to fluctuations, so the conclusions drawn will not be reliable. Secondly, with longer surveys the dropout rates are higher. Adding demographic questions can lengthen surveys to the extent that fewer people may decide to fill them to the end, thus increasing the dropout rate.

    Finally, when filling our questionnaires and answering demographic online survey question type queries, respondents can be concerned about their identifiable data. That is especially valid for an employee satisfaction survey – employees will be concerned that they will be identified on the basis of their responses, especially if there is not sufficient diversity in the workplace. The result will be the censoring of answers, as respondents will be concerned that their opinions will identify them and cause them problems, if they venture some negative opinions or recommendations.

    The demographic online survey question type has its role in certain surveys, for example when researchers know the demographics of the population and they try to get representative samples. Then demographic data questions can help to ensure that certain groups are not over represented. But if the demographic information is not useful, it should not be included in online surveys, for the above mentioned reasons, especially to avoid unnecessary lengthening.

    To sum up, the drawing up of surveys using online survey software should be done carefully, to avoid questions which should not be included because they can either lead to embarrassment in respondents, or they can lead to unreliable data. Finally, when demographic questions are not of essential importance for specific surveys, they should not be included to avoid lengthening surveys and increasing dropout rates.

    How Your Survey Design Affects Feedback
    Successful Online Surveys: Quality not Quantity

    About Author

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    Phil Cleave

    Phil is part of the Content team at SmartSurvey and has over 20 years experience in the PR and Comms sector writing for Tech Companies.

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