What is a survey?
A survey is a research method where set groups of participants answer a series of questions for surveyors to gather information from them. Surveys can come in many forms; from marketing surveys you see before YouTube videos, research questionnaires, management rating surveys, event surveys, even customer surveys that measure the quality of products. However, a good survey doesn't just ask random questions that are irrelevant to the topic. Rather, a good survey will always stick close to the matter while asking questions that give answers that are measurable and effective, should have a clear summary, and produce a reportable outcome relevant to the problem.
How to Create Purposeful Surveys
1. Have a Clear Objective
Make everything clear. Make sure that the purpose of the survey is immediately noticed and that you don't stray away from it so that the respondent is aware of the direction of the survey. A good objective means nothing if everything else doesn't lead back to it.
2. Create Relevant And Clear Questions
Did you know that one of the reasons why a survey doesn't work is because of bias questions? According to toncbi.nlm.nih.gov, surveys can have biased questions if they are ambiguous, are double-barreled or are 2 questions in one, or are complicated that the respondent cannot understand them. A good survey question can produce measurable outcomes that the researchers can analyze, as well as be thought-provoking for the participant without compromising its validity.
3. Arrange Your Questions Properly
Do not start with specific questions. Try to follow the "general to specific" rule of thumb so that the transition is smooth and the respondent does not find himself scratching his head because he didn't understand why he was asked first about his preference in hair product before he was asked why he liked hair products in general.
4. Decide: Open or Closed Format
When you choose a format, make sure it fits your research. A closed format is best when you have specified examples and need specific answers; thus, imploring either a rating system or a multiple-choice test is best. An open-format, on the other hand, gives the participant more of an expressive answer that can be measured through criteria (see number 5.)
5. If Open, Be Ready with a Criteria
The best way to measure open-ended answers is with criteria. Questions like "How does ____ make you feel" will probably give responses like "They make me feel happy/sad/angry," which you can interpret with the use of a set of criteria. Your criteria must also be relevant to the topic.
6.If Close, Don't Give Too Many or Too Few Choices
Too many choices in the business or scientific survey can be overwhelming for the participant. Too few and the participant might not be satisfied with their answer or none of the choices might apply to them. The best and most common method to fix this is by providing the most common answers to the question and providing an "Others" option. A good example of this is in government files.