Survey Design

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Survey Design

Designing a successful survey or questionnaire is about much more than just the visual appearance or your question selection.

Man completing rating scale satisfaction survey featuring star graphics

Survey design considerations

From planning to reporting, there are a number of factors that influence the success of your survey, providing data and insights you can confidently act upon.


There are many reasons why you should properly plan and develop a survey before it is administered to your target response group. Here we summarise why and what to plan.

Survey planning


Before important matters such as question choices, target population and distribution methods, you need a clear understanding of what you are trying to find out.

Survey objectives


From the introduction to the conclusion, a number of formatting considerations – from layout to language – can help lift the appeal and performance of your survey.

Survey format


Choosing the right type, number and running order of survey questions can make or break your research success. Find out the styles and best practices to employ.

Survey questions

The introduction

The intro to your survey warrants attention, as you only get a very short window to grab the attention of respondents, hook them in and to encourage them to take part.

Survey introduction

Sample size

Whatever survey you are looking to create and distribute, you’ll want to calculate the sample size you need to reach in order to achieve a desired level of accuracy in your results.

Survey sample size


Survey distribution tools allow you to easily reach your selected audience, ask a range of questions, analyse data in real-time and make quick, informed decisions.

Survey distribution


Respondents can be greatly motivated to complete questionnaires by means of small incentives, and these are worth considering during the design and planning process.

Survey incentives


For a survey to succeed it is advisable at the outset to set aside enough time for careful testing of your questions, survey structure and the expected or desired outcomes.

Survey testing


Having successfully gathered, analysed and interpreted the data from your survey respondents, present your findings in the most effective, but objective, way.

Survey reporting

People completing an online survey

Survey design best practices

Well-executed, surveys are an easy and cost-effective way to find out how current and prospective customers, employees, patients or constituents feel about the businesses, products, services, healthcare providers or public bodies they interact with. By applying these tips you will get the most out of your online surveys.

Best practice advice

More survey design advice

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We're committed to making our surveys accessible to everyone, with a range of features to support those with disabilities.

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With no limits on the number of responses you can collect, you can be sure your survey will reach as many people as possible without it being cost prohibitive.

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Over 500,000 users have registered to use SmartSurvey.
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Thanks to SmartSurvey, our communication strategy is making us stand out from the crowd. By using SMS, asking the right questions and acting on results, IKEA is one step ahead of the competition.

Alastair, IKEA
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We couldn't be happier with SmartSurvey, we love its functionality and flexibility. This means we have been able to use one survey tool across many parts of the business.

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We will help you collect the information you need quickly and easily. Trust us to safeguard your data and provide the support you need, when you need it.
UK-based and secure

We are ISO27001 certified, registered under the Data Protection Act and fully compliant with EU Privacy Laws.

Dedicated support

Access to a knowledgeable account manager for personal assistance for when you most need it.

Flexible to suit your needs

Our friendly design team is on hand to assist with any bespoke design and custom development requests.

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We succeed if you succeed. Our goal is to help you carry out effective research and we’re here to help you achieve that.

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