How To Title a Survey

Philip Cleave
December 11, 2023
Man taking notes on how to improve his writing of survey titles

While your survey title is the first thing potential respondents see, the fact that it also needs to compete with all the other invitations people continually receive, means that it needs to be as compelling as possible for them to participate.

So, whether it’s a survey, questionnaire, quiz, poll or form, it’s important that you know how to get peoples’ attention, as well as what’s best to avoid.

Read on for some useful tips that will help you with this.

How to come up with a good survey title name

Given how much time most survey creators spend on finalising their survey topics and questions, it’s important not to rush your survey title and potentially risk bias or a name that turns people off.

Here are some good pointers to consider, to help you create a good name and reduce bias in your survey.

Avoid biased survey names

It might sound obvious, but the first thing you need to do is avoid a name that might encourage bias in your survey.

Sometimes, survey bias can occur if a survey creator includes questions that may sway a respondent to answer in a particular way, which can harm your survey’s credibility. Asking a leading question, would be a good example of this. Yet, you can just as easily introduce survey bias into your survey with the wrong name.

Generally speaking, your survey name should not be too specific, otherwise you could attract people who feel strongly one way or another regarding your topic, or risk turning people away altogether – potentially causing a sampling error.

To make this more obvious, we’ve outlined some examples of biased survey names below.

Survey name one: The negative impact of remote learning

This survey name is quite obviously biased, as it immediately suggests that remote learning is bad, even if respondents don’t feel that it is.

Consequently, this title could influence some of them to answer negatively, especially if that’s the direction that you’re trying to lead them.

Survey name two: Health insurance survey

The problem with this survey name is that it could put off those people who don’t have health insurance, yet ironically, you’ll want to survey these people to understand why they choose not to have it.

Survey name three: Comments about the recent political election

While this may seem like a harmless enough name for a political survey, it’s biased as it could deter those who didn’t vote in the recent election or who don’t consider themselves very political. Yet, if you don’t include these types of people in your survey, your results are likely to be skewed towards voters and/or politically minded people instead.

Survey name four: Cherry poll

While this is a short, catchy name for a poll, it’s less likely to attract anyone who don’t like cherries. But very much like the insurance example, you may want to reach out to those that don’t like cherries as much as those that do, as you want to understand why they don’t eat them.

Keep your survey names vague

Getting too hung up on the details with survey names can be one way of introducing bias into your survey. So, you’d be better off keeping your survey names relatively generic.

Here’s some examples using the names we came up with in the previous section.

The negative impact of remote learning

A strong substitute to this survey title would be ‘Opinions on remote learning’. While respondents still know the topic, they’re not told to feel one way or the other about it.

Cherry poll

Here a better alternative could be simply ‘Fruit poll’. With your survey titled in this way, it’s not obvious that the real focus of it is on cherries.

Comments about the recent political election

Compared to our initial name, a stronger alternative would be ‘Election survey’. The good thing it is that it doesn’t shout politics, and it doesn’t specify that it’s about the most recent election, just in case people didn’t vote in it.

Health insurance survey

A good alternative could be ‘Healthcare survey’. This is because it’s a survey title that appeals to everyone, not just those with insurance, and therefore helps casts a wider net.

Keep your survey title names short

Similar to the fact that most people prefer short surveys, short survey names are also beneficial.

The good thing about short survey names is that they give respondents just enough information to know what the topic is, without being too lengthy to confuse them or to turn them off. In addition, a shorter title often makes the job of naming a survey much simpler too.

Think about highlighting anonymity

Making your surveys anonymous is a good way to encourage more honest and reliable comment from respondents. And while the survey introduction is typically the more usual place to let respondents know that you’re running an anonymous survey, there’s no harm in highlighting this in your survey title too.

In fact, both approaches can help to improve your response rates, when people feel confident of saying how they truly feel without any fear of reprisals. Plus, your feedback will be more valuable as a result.

So, if you were running a healthcare survey for instance, rather than title it ‘Healthcare survey’, you may decide to name it ‘Anonymous healthcare survey’ instead.

Consider highlighting incentives

From a gift card to a promotional code and more. If you’re offering an incentive to try and get respondents to complete your survey, you might want to think about including that in your survey title to capture people’s attention.

However, depending on the incentive you’re offering, there’s always the risk you could attract the wrong person, whose simply in it for the reward. This sort of respondent is likely to rush through your survey to get the reward, while only offering inaccurate information along the way because they’re only interested in some sort of financial gain. This could risk skewing your results and what you’re able to do with your data as a result. So, it’s important to carefully consider incentives, before choosing to include them.

Construct internal survey names

Besides engaging survey respondents, it’s helpful to be able to create internal survey title names, which cannot be seen by survey participants, but help keep your survey teams organised. This can be especially beneficial if you issue lots of surveys and they have the same external title.

For instance, let’s say you were sending school students surveys about remote learning. To find out their opinions based on their level of education, then you might create different internal names for these groups as follows:

  • Remote learning survey: freshmen
  • Remote learning survey: juniors
  • Remote learning survey: seniors

This could be especially important as your surveys could have very different results based on their grade level. For example, while freshmen still adjusting to a new school may prefer in-person learning, seniors approaching the end of their school life may prefer the flexibility of remote learning.

Final thoughts

From your introduction and questions, through to your conclusion and thank you page. When it comes to writing your survey, there’s so many key stages to consider in keeping your respondents engaged, getting them to complete your survey and getting them to return if you invite them to take another one.

Yet, your survey name, which is sometimes not given the time and attention it needs, should also be a key part of this. If you can make it as good as possible, then you’ll be doing everything you can to maximise your response rate and get the quality of insight you need.

Get your next survey up and running quickly

With so much to think about when it comes to crafting and perfecting your survey, it can feel a bit overwhelming at times, especially if you’re relatively new to the process. Fortunately, for those that need extra help, we offer access to library of fully customisable survey templates across many industries, that can help you to create a survey within minutes.

Find out more

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