4 Basic Components of a Market Research Survey

As a market research company, our team writes a lot of surveys. We enjoy the science of survey writing and share our thoughts often about the strategy and design in several posts on our market research blog.

Today is no different as we tackle 4 basic components of a market research survey. 

To some, these may almost seem too basic while to others with little experience in survey writing, these tips may help you structure your next project.

We break down the 4 components of your market research survey into:

  1. Introduction
  2. Screener
  3. Survey questions
  4. Conclusion

Each of these components is detailed below.

4 Basic Components of a Market Research Survey

Survey Component #1: Introduction

An introduction to an online survey can come in many forms. For example, if you are sending a customer survey via email will likely want to include the introduction to the survey in the email invitation and reminder.

This email invitation gives you an opportunity to explain:

  • What the survey is
  • Why it is important
  • The length of the survey
  • What will happen with the results

In this scenario, it is better to fit this information in an email than the opening screen of the survey.

Best practice teaches survey writers to jump right into the survey rather than waste another click through the introductory screen.

When a survey participant is ready to take part in a survey, the quicker you can get them started with Question 1, the better.

This is often the case with a panel survey or customer satisfaction survey where once the respondent clicks on the link to take the survey, it starts with the first question.

Survey invitation email examples.

Here are some great examples of how brands use email to invite their customers to take a survey.

Macy's Email Survey Invite

Kate Spade Email survey invite

What if you are sharing the survey on social media such as Facebook or Twitter?

These platforms do offer a brief opportunity to share information about the survey on the ad text above the image. This may include the length of the survey, sponsor of the survey, or a reward for participating.

Obviously, this needs to be brief. Much shorter than an introduction listed in a customer email invitation.

The key takeaway here is to list the basic information in whatever way you can but get the survey started as quickly as possible.

Respondents have a small window to decide whether they are participating or not and you'd rather have them answering questions and moving along in the survey than reading introductory paragraphs.

Learn more about using social media for online surveys.

Survey Component #2: Screening Questions

These screening questions are the first few questions of your customer survey. These questions determine whether or not the respondent qualifies to take the survey.

If you only want to survey those 18 to 34, a screener question about age would disqualify those under 18 and over 34.

Or perhaps you want to survey only those who have purchased from your company in the past 6 months? Include a screener question that asks the frequency of purchase and disqualifies those who purchased longer than 6 months ago.

Our market research recommends adding these screener questions at the beginning of the survey. This section may include 1 or 2 questions or a handful more.

On the contrary, some surveys do not include any screener questions which means all those interested are able to participate.

Also, consider adding a red herring question.

A red herring question is often used in market research surveys to catch respondents not taking the survey seriously and providing illegitimate answers. It is possible some people taking your survey will rush to the end in order to redeem their incentive.

For instance, a grocery store is running a customer survey and offers all respondents a $10 Amazon gift card for completing the survey. They notice a handful of respondents have selected "A" for every multiple choice question. 

These responses should not be taken seriously as they do not accurately represent a customer's opinion on Amazon's services. In order to catch speedy survey takers, our online survey firm recommends adding a red herring question.

For example, ask respondents, "What is your favorite color?" Provide answer options such as:

  • Red
  • Purple
  • Giraffe
  • Pink
  • Other

For those who answered "Giraffe" all of their responses should be removed at the end of fieldwork.

Survey Component #3: Survey Questions

This section is the core part of your customer survey or any market research survey. Here you ask and address your main objectives of the market research.

These survey questions might touch on areas such as:

It always helps to write a survey outline before you jump into your survey draft. Having an outline ensures your survey follows a proper flow, your questions are addressed in the right order, and you can prioritize topics.

Also, think about your goals and objectives for conducting a market research survey. In other words, what are you hoping to learn? Make sure the survey questions included in the questionnaire will be able to accurately capture those objectives.  

What questions does our market research company think are the most important? Watch this video to find out.

Survey Component #4: Conclusion and Thank You

Even if it is just a sentence or two at the end of your survey, always thank the respondent for his or her time.

The "thank you" typically reads something like:

"This completes our survey, thank you for your time and responses."

If the survey is not blinded, you can also mention: "On behalf of Drive Research and Company ABC, thank you for your time today."

Many surveys route respondents to a follow-up thank you page. If you choose not to do so respondents are often left wondering if their responses were submitted properly.

Taking them automatically off-site to a thank you page lets the respondents know everything is finished.

Need Help Writing Your Next Survey? Contact Our Team.

Drive Research is a national customer and employee survey company in New York State. We serve many organizations across the country. No matter where your business is located, our team can assist.

Have questions about your upcoming customer survey project? Contact us below.

  1. Message us on our website
  2. Email us at [email protected]
  3. Call us at 888-725-DATA
  4. Text us at 315-303-2040

Author Bio George Kuhn

George Kuhn

George is the Owner & President of Drive Research. He has consulted for hundreds of regional, national, and global organizations over the past 15 years. He is a CX certified VoC professional with a focus on innovation and new product management.

Learn more about George, here.

subscribe to our blog



Online Surveys