Last week, we reviewed poorly written survey question items, and what makes them inefficient tools for collecting the data you desire. For our final installment of "Writing Survey Questions the Work," we'll discuss some final points to keep in mind in order to write great questions.
In general when you design a questionnaire, try to write from the respondent's perspective rather than your perspective. Hark back to last weeks post where we discussed writing objectively and from a non-assuming point of view. Writing from neutral viewpoint and keeping far away from internal workplace jargon and slogans that wont be understood by your clients is key.
Having a sample of your survey population and other neutral testers review the wording of your survey is a wonderful way to attain clarity on question items. After spending what may amount to dozens of hours on a survey form project, having an outsider do things like proofread and spell check with a fresh pair of eyes can be well worth the effort!
And as we've talked about in other posts, pre-testing your survey with a segment of your audience is crucial to detecting question item mis-wordings as soon as they occur.
If we have poorly worded question items in our survey, not only will the answers we receive be inaccurate, our data analysis will be inaccurate as well. This could result in poor decisions being made based on data that has either overstated or understated our clients needs for a product or service.
Staying in tune with the needs of our clients and our target populations starts with skillfully worded survey question items. If your question isn't worded right, your analysis wont be right.