Organize Your Survey — Get Back What You Put In

Don’t waste your time creating another GIGO laden survey that gives you useless data. GIGO, or garbage in, garbage out, means that your output is only as good as your input. If you are serious about getting high participation rates and high quality data, then design a survey that does that.

Organize your Survey

Anyone can throw a bunch of questions on a page and call it a survey. But, if you want a survey that limits GIGO, builds loyalty and trust and returns high quality data, here are a few important design elements you must consider.

Have an objective.

Designing a survey with no objective is like driving a car with no destination. You’ll end up lost and irritated. And with gas prices this high, no one can afford to be that aimless. Before you even create your survey, list your objective(s). Once you know your destination, design a survey that gets you there.

Write strong questions.

Have you ever been in a dark room and can’t find the light switch? Frustrating, right? Similarly, a poorly written survey will leave your respondents stumbling in the dark. Write questions based on your objectives. Close-ended questions are better when you have a general idea of the responses you want. Open-ended questions allow you to get new ideas, suggestions or comments from your participants.

Either way, your questions should be clear, concise and GIGO proof.      

Get to the point already.

Imagine the worse traffic jam ever. Now, imagine handing someone a 20-page survey, with endlessly long questions, hopelessly complex answers and no end in sight.

Don’t do this to anyone. Create short, concise surveys that get to the point. Respect people’s time or they will bail on your survey.

Tell the people what you want.

I’m not one of those people who reflexively hates air travel. I’ve had some good times and some bad ones. My worst experiences are when the (hardworking) TSA workers allow bunching at the screening machines. The security line slows to a crawl, until one enterprising individual takes the bold step of using one of the other three empty machines.

Don’t assume people know what’s in your head. Write instructions that clearly articulate your expectations — tell your participants exactly what they need to do.

Because people don’t bunch up in surveys — they drop out.