Creating Surveys

Looking to create an online survey?

Designing and creating online surveys can be tricky. The following tips should help you create effective web surveys:

  1. Use survey screeners upfront - don't frustrate your panelists by having them fill out your survey, only to find out they don't qualify.
  1. Provide clear, concise instructions. Use terms like "select one", "select all that apply", etc.
  1. Provide a progress bar - your panelists will appreciate knowing how far they've gone into your survey. This reduces drop-out rates.
  1. Be honest about how survey length - if you say your survey takes 15 minutes to complete, when it actually takes 25, you increase respondent drop-out rates.
  1. Keep in mind that survey respondents tend to tire after 15 minutes - don't make your surveys overly lengthy, but if you must, then provide exercises and games as rest stops.
  1. Design your survey for your audience. For example, teen studies may require exciting visuals, and business to business studies may require creative or larger incentives for survey participation.
  1. Web-technologies such as Flash are great online surveys enhancers, but be mindful that not all surfers have these programs installed on their machines. Provide a link to a website where a user can download this software if you plan to use it.
  1. Data collection methods such as telephone reminders increase the number of touch points with potential panelists, thereby increasing the chances of survey participation.
  1. Make your survey relevant and engaging. Survey panelists that find this is missing from your survey, may not feel a need to participate next time.
  1. Finally, ask yourself: would I enjoy taking this web survey? If the answer is "no", you might wish to revisit some of the above points.

Ready to create your survey? Why not try filling out somebody else's first. Experience is the best teacher!

*The following information has been summarized from the report entitled "Designing Effective Online Surveys: What Everyone Needs to Know" by Greenfield Online.

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