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HOW TO

Tips for developing an effective survey questionnaire
By: Developer Shed
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    2004-06-25

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    Tips for developing an effective survey questionnaire
    by Web Based Survey Software

    Developing the questionnaire is undoubtedly the most important part ofconducting a survey. The quality of the questions will determine thequality of the results and the effectiveness of your survey. Here are12 tips for developing an effective questionnaire.

    1. Write a good introduction- The beginning of your survey should have an introduction of thesurvey. It should state your objective in a way that grabs theattention of potential respondents and encourages them to take thesurvey. Also, since it is easy for online survey respondents to abandonyour survey, you should include instructions on how to complete thesurvey and an estimate of how much time it will take.

    2. Ask questions that provide theinformation you need - Always keep your objective andthe information that you need to gather to achieve it in mind whileasking the questions. Also, it is best to avoid the temptation togather "extra" bits of information that are "nice to know" butirrelevant to your objective.

    3. Ask important questions first,demographic questions last - Since it is very easy for onlinesurvey respondents to abandon your survey, always ask the importantquestions first and the demograhic questions last.

    4. Organize the questions inlogical groups - Always organize the questions in logicalgroups. It makes it easier for your respondents to understand andanswer the questions, thus increasing the quality of theresults.

    5. Use plain, easy to understandlanguage - The most effective surveys always use plain, easy tounderstand language. Using unclear or ambiguous language will give youmisleading results. So test your survey thoroughly to ensure that it isindeed easy to understand.

    6. Avoid technical terms, jargon,and acronyms - If you use technical terms, jargon, and acronyms,your respondents might not understand them, get frustrated, and abandonyour survey. So strictly avoid them.

    7. Use even number of responses- Whenever possible, use even number of responses for multiple choicequestions.That way the respondents have to give a positive or a negative opinion,they can't give a "neutral" answer.

    8. Randomize the responses -Whenever it makes sense, randomize the order in which responses aredisplayed.This removes "order bias" from the responses.

    9. Avoid unnecessary graphics andembedded components - Although it might be tempting to usegraphics and embedded components, their use increases the time ittakes to download and display your survey. So use them only when it isabsolutely necessary and certainly don't overdo it.

    10. Be sensitive to the feelings ofyour respondents - Always be sensitive to the feelings of yourrespondents. If you offend them, they might abandon your survey. Sotest your survey to ensure that it is not offending to any group ofpeople.

    11. Thank the respondents -Your respondents spend the time to take your survey. So never forget tothank them for completing the survey.

    12. Keep it short - As ageneral rule, keep your survey short, simple, and to the point.

    Credits
    This article has been copyrighted and has been reprinted with thepermission of WebBased Survey Software. If you want to reprint this article, pleasesend us an emailto inform us and we will grant you the permission. But please ensurethat this message appears at the end of the article and proper creditsare given to WebBased Survey Software.
    DISCLAIMER: The content provided in this article is not warranted or guaranteed by Developer Shed, Inc. The content provided is intended for entertainment and/or educational purposes in order to introduce to the reader key ideas, concepts, and/or product reviews. As such it is incumbent upon the reader to employ real-world tactics for security and implementation of best practices. We are not liable for any negative consequences that may result from implementing any information covered in our articles or tutorials. If this is a hardware review, it is not recommended to open and/or modify your hardware.

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