As researchers and business analysts, we’re constantly reaching out to our constituents to better understand them. We’re sending them surveys, polls, online forms as means to collect their thoughts. Many of us spend hours in writing the questionnaire in the hope of getting the right feedback. However, we have seen that a lot of us make a few mistakes again and again that can be easily avoided.
Avoid the following 5 mistakes when writing your next survey questionnaire to help create a concise and unambiguous survey.
1) Leading Questions
A leading question is one that guides the respondents’ answers. Sometimes, we do it unknowingly and end up skewing the result. As a researcher, we avoid creating biases within a survey questionnaire to ensure a fair and objective study.
2) Double-Negative Questions
Use of 2 negative words in a question can confuse the respondents, who may misinterpret your question. Make sure you phrase all your questions such that they are easy to understand and follow.
3) Double-Barreled Questions
This is a common oversight and can confuse those participants who may fall in multiple categories. Make sure that the answer choices don’t overlap with one another.
4) Hypothetical Questions
Ask hypothetical questions when absolutely necessary. They force respondents to imagine scenarios that they may be clueless about. If the hypothetical question is a bit too vague, try putting it out as an open ended question. This gives the respondents a wider canvas to express their thoughts rather than limit them to our own imagination.
5) Restricted Answer Options
Make sure that the the answer options for a question are exhaustive and account for each respondent’s choices. In another words, don’t force a respondent to pick an answer option for lack of a right one. Providing, “Other” as an answer option and letting them type their response, always helps. How do you think someone who drives a Honda car, will answer this question?