Post navigation

Survey Tips

Top 8 Challenges With Designing Accurate Surveys

Surveys are an effective way to collect data from your customers. They are helpful in evaluating your offerings and finding ways to make changes for the better.

Yet, some people struggle with survey design and creation and create surveys that aren’t giving them the most accurate results.

To help you learn how to generate the best surveys, we look at the top eight challenges with designing accurate surveys and provide you the solutions you need.

Challenge #1: Missing the Purpose

One of the biggest challenges with designing accurate surveys is knowing the purpose behind it or narrowing it down.

A poor survey will have questions that aren’t related and seemingly have no purpose.

The Solution:

The problem is solved by knowing the purpose of your survey. Before you start creating your survey, you want to ask yourself a few vital questions:

  • What do I need to know?
  • Why do I need to know it?
  • What will I do with my results?

Once you can answer these questions, the purpose of your survey will be clear, and with a clear purpose, more people are likely to complete your survey.

Challenge #2: Using Question Bias

The next thing we look at is the problem of question bias. This means that you are asking questions in such a way that you’ll get the answers you’re looking for.

In other words, you are “prompting” respondents.

For example, a political organization conducts a survey. To influence their results, they ask their questions in carefully crafted ways to elicit the answers they want.

The Solution:

Leading questions not only hurt your survey/poll results, but they also ruin your trustworthiness factor. (tweet  this)

The best way to avoid question bias is to take your emotions out of the survey. If you need, have someone else help you craft the questions so they aren’t leading respondents to a specific answer. Or, have others review your survey.

Challenge #3: Measuring Too Many Things

Along with the purpose of your survey, you have to know what you’re measuring and how.

If you don’t know this, you’ll end up measuring too many things or the wrong things, and it will be hard to analyze your data.

The Solution:

Deciding what to measure is in direct correlation to the objectives of your survey.

For example, if you want to learn about how respondents feel about your company and your customer service, you measure the net promoter score.

Know the purpose of your survey, and then decide what you want to measure. Don’t measure too many things at one time. This also helps you manage your data and helps ensure you can take action on your results.

Challenge #4: Using a Biased Selection

Why is selection bias a challenge when designing accurate surveys?

Selection bias is a problem because it shows responses that don’t reflect a representative sample of your population.

While you want a statistically valid sample size, you don’t want one that is too large and irrelevant. If your sample size is too large, the responses you get may not accurately reflect your targeted population.

For example, let’s say you try to survey people in a rural area by sending them an online survey. Your selection is biased because many of those people won’t have an Internet connection.

Or, you want to survey people with children, but you include singles and those without children.

The Solution:

To design an accurate survey and avoid selection bias, you must target a population that fits the goals of your survey.

You don’t want to include, or exclude, the wrong participants, or your data will be skewed.

Define your target population and stick with it. Make sure you have a clearly defined idea of what you want in a respondent. This helps you frame your survey in a more accurate way.

The source of your target group is much more important than the size of your group. A small group of 100 people who match your target will give you better data than 1000 random people who may have no frame of reference for your survey.

A final note – don’t forget to use disqualifying logic to filter out respondents who really aren’t part of your targeted sample population.

Challenge #5: Getting Duplicate Responses

Some people run into the issue of getting duplicate responses.

This skews your survey data because you have the same person completing your survey more than once.

How does this happen? It’s a common occurrence when surveys come with an incentive, and your respondents want more than one of what you’re offering.

Or, they may want to take your survey multiple times to increase their chances of winning your drawing or getting other benefits.

The Solution:

Solve the issue of duplicate responses by using vote protection so respondents can only take your survey one time.

Challenge #6: Creating a Lengthy Survey

When you create a survey that is too long, you have higher dropout rates, and this affects your response rates.

People are more likely to abandon a long, involved survey than one with just a few questions.

The Solution:

The best solution to this problem is to know your purpose and what you want to measure and then craft your questions.

Keep your survey to 10 questions or less. This usually means respondents can complete your survey in less than 10 minutes.

Challenge #7: Mixing Up Your Wording

Surveys with complicated wording are hard for people to complete. It’s also bad form to ask two questions in one.

Both of these issues don’t help you with accurate survey creation.

The Solution:

Be diligent when writing your questions.

For example, don’t ask two questions in one like this: “Do you like our tacos and our fajitas?” Regardless of the answer, you have no idea what they really like.

You also want to write clear, concise and simple questions. If respondents can’t understand your question, they can’t accurately answer it.

Bottom line – stick to one topic per sentence, use short sentences and don’t use technical jargon.

Challenge #8: Using Irrelevant Questions

If you ask irrelevant questions, you can count on an inaccurate survey.

Don’t ask respondents questions you don’t really care about or that have nothing to do with the purpose of your survey.

In addition, don’t include questions that don’t pertain to the respondent.

The Solution:

Avoid asking irrelevant questions by using the following as your guide:

  • Use question logic for consecutive questions. For example, if you ask a question, and the respondent answers “no,” don’t send them to the question for people who answered “yes.”
  • Don’t ask questions that move away from your purpose.
  • You also don’t want to include questions that you don’t intend to take action on.

To Conclude

We’ve looked at the top eight challenges with designing accurate surveys, and now you have our top solutions.

You’ll find that when you put these solutions to practice you end up with more accurate surveys and clean data. This helps you draw accurate conclusions that you can then act on for the betterment of your business.

Surveys help you make the best decisions for your business. Are you ready to get started with your free Survey Town trial? Start with your free account today, and you can upgrade at any time.

Image: Rohit Tandon

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *