3 Survey Writing Tips to Improve Response Rate

Surveys are the most common and well-known form of quantitative research. Many of you reading this have likely written a survey or participated in a countless number surveys in your past. In order to obtain accurate, unbiased, and representative results, survey writers need to ensure they carefully script their questionnaire and address the right sample of participants. Survey design is a science and professionals in the industry like Drive Research will analyze a number of variables to deliver the best possible survey fit for your objectives and business questions.

Here are 3 simple survey writing tips from Drive Research, a market research company in Syracuse NY:

1. Make sure the questions are clear, simple, mutually exclusive, and collectively exhaustive. As a participant, nothing is more frustrating than reading a survey question that you have to read two or three times to understand. The question itself should be direct and frankly as blunt as possible with no additional "fluff." Think 3rd grade level, not PhD. Add a note to specify single response or multiple response. Do not try to cover several topics in one question, break down the series into several questions if needed.

2. Make sure the questions do not lead the respondent. The goal of your survey is to get honest feedback. To get the true voice of your customers your goal shouldn't be to steer the respondent to a specific answer based on your question wording. Here are some examples of leading (bad) questions:

  • How would you rate our ultra-convenient access to customer service? 

  • Business ABC is an industry leader in product development, how would you rate our service?

  • Our customers love brand XYZ, do you agree?

3. Find the right length for your survey. This is highly dependent on the setting. Intercept surveys while people shop in a store should not last beyond a handful of questions. Online surveys can last a little longer but should not exceed 10 minutes (in general) due to potential waning engagement. Depending on the setting, your survey could last 5 questions or 100. Many factors go into this decision (type of study, reward, location, etc.) It is best to understand all of these factors and test the survey before launch. Consider drawing an outline of survey questions that includes everything you'd like to ask and then prioritize the important questions to shorten the length.

This blog is brought to you by Drive Research. Come back to our site, follow us on Twitter or like us on Facebook to get the latest tips, tricks, or advice for the market research industry. Have questions about the next survey you are writing or need some advice?

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