The dreaded open-ended question in surveys. It goes against everything we believe in survey design. Surveys are supposed to be quick. Surveys are supposed to be fun. Surveys are supposed to be engaging. Some may feel open-ended questions fit none of those characteristics.
An open-ended question is a free text response where a respondent is asked to type a response. This can be as short as 1 or 2 words, or a paragraph. They often take more time than a closed-ended question with radio button selections because it requires the respondent to type.
When reviewing survey data, we often see open-ended questions are areas where respondents tend to skip questions (if allowed) or drop-off. It seems silly but the extra work required to type an open-ended comment can often be a breaking point for a survey taker which would cause him or her to say goodbye.
Try video responses in your next online survey.
Video open-ends offer several benefits for a market research firm and clients. They offer: (1) more interactivity, (2) greater depth in responses, and (3) the ability to analyze unspoken data.
In a survey, your market research does not have to require a video response but you can certainly offer the option for those willing to try it. If you force a video response you will most likely see drop-off as many participants would be unwilling to record.
This could be driven by their location of where they are taking the survey (e.g. at work, at their messy desk, etc.) Not wanting to do a video response can even be driven by things like what they are wearing or the respondent might simply to introverted.
Give them the option. Here are the 3 benefits.
Benefit 1: More Interactivity
Open-ended comments in text boxes can be pretty plain. They are not interactive. As an analyst, you might feel as though you are reading responses from robots rather than real people. However, when you view a video you have the ability to see the respondent, feel their emotions, and it literally brings your survey data to life.
Benefit 2: Greater Depth in Responses
Open-ended comments can be written quickly. If a person is required to type, they may only offer a few words and decide not to expand on the typed comment. However, when offered a video response, results show respondents are willing to talk longer and offer more context around their response. By simply electing to take part in the video you are likely to get a more in-depth verbal response than if they were to type.
Benefit 3: Ability to Analyze Unspoken Data
Understanding tone and expressions is something that focus groups and in-person interviews offer than surveys have never been able to match. Video open-ends help an analyst review tone of speech and facial expressions to read between the lines and truly understand the feedback provided. These conversations you watch allow the market research firm to fully understand likes and dislikes through the emotions expressed.
A simple example? Sarcasm does not work in writing as well as it does in video.
In writing: "The service was excellent, I only waited an hour". In writing, this would appear to be a positive comment out of context.
In video, spoken: "The service was excellent, I only waited an hour." *Eye roll* and *Laugh* The same exact data but the video open-end helps you understand this is a negative, not a positive.
Example of Video Open-End
Here is an example of what open-ended comments through video may look like in a survey response. This comes via Voxpopme on YouTube. Here you will see respondents offer a variety of feedback which adds some realism and expressions to your open-ended comments in your survey.
Example of video open-ended comments.
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