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Points to remember when building your survey

While SmartSurvey gives you the ability to create free online surveys quickly to gain research data, there is still an art to creating an effective online survey.

  1. Reduce length. Most participants are willing to spend on average up to ten minutes completing a survey. In practice, this means that an online survey with more than twenty questions will reduce its response rate with each additional question.
  2. Seek simplicity. In a survey, short questions and short answers are best. Avoid asking open-ended questions, use descriptive text instead of numbers when presenting choices, and be careful not to suggest the answer in the way the question is posed.
  3. Be coherent. By organising questions together according to topic enables you to ask general questions first, before going into more detailed questions. When you group questions that use the same answer scale together, participants will be able to answer questions quickly.
  4. Use logic. Participants don't like to be confronted with too many questions that are not relevant to them. You can avoid participants getting frustrated by using survey logic and routing technology to ensure irrelevant questions are skipped completely.
  5. Filter responses. Include page and question ramdomisation designed to capture inattentive or fake respondents. By automatically displaying question choices in a random order to every respondent you can filter out data that could skew your results.
  6. Avoid binaries. Yes/No questions that lack any third option can create erroneous data. When confronted with binary questions, respondents will answer either yes or no when the real response may be entirely different.
  7. Reassure respondents. Assure your participants that their personal data will be kept safe and won't be shared with any third parties. By respecting respondent anonymity and stating this clearly at the start of your survey, you can increase the response rate.
  8. Show empathy. Respondents that are willing to answer initial questions will be more open to sharing sensitive or personal information, like age or education level. Therefore, it is wise to place your sensitive or personal questions near the end of your survey.

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