Survey analysis software helps increase the accuracy of your survey data, but you could be inadvertently skewing the results before data collection even begins. The way you phrase survey questions, as well as their answers, can point survey respondents in a specific direction without you even realizing it.
Keeping an eye out for three red flags can help you phrase questions in a way that ensures accurate results.
Red Flag: Leading Questions
Leading questions are notorious for nudging respondents toward a certain answer, which ends up biasing the feedback you receive. While some leading questions are blatantly obvious, others may be a bit more subtle.
Let’s say you wanted to gauge the usefulness of one of your products. You may write up a question that looks something like this:
Where do you find Product A most useful?
Although the question appears valid on the surface, it’s assuming all respondents find Product A useful in one way or another. You’re forgetting that some respondents may not find Product A useful at all.
Assuming all people find Product A useful is a presupposition, or something the survey is forcing them to agree with even if they don’t. Spot check your survey questions for presuppositions by giving them a trial run with people who may not agree with you.
You can also build in a safeguard against presuppositions by always including response options that include “neutral” or “NA.” Amend the above question to include response options for “NA” and “Not useful at all,” and you’re good to go.
Red Flag: Compound Questions
Compound questions run the risk of asking how a respondent feels about two different items in a single inquiry. Here an example would be something like:
- On a scale of 1 to 5, rate the following statement: Company ABC and its e-books help me do my job.
Also known as double-barrel questions, compound questions can force respondents to choose the item in the question about which they feel most strongly. That leaves you with only half an answer and results that can be falsely interpreted, even with the help of survey analysis software.
Your respondents could have opposite opinions about both items included in the question, which again leads you to misleading results.
Fix this issue by splitting up compound questions to ensure each question you ask is only asking about a single item. The shorter and more direct your survey questions are, the more accurate your results are likely to be.
Red Flag: Not Randomizing Responses
If you’re asking a series of questions that include the same responses in the same order, survey respondents may start choosing the first answer for all of them just because it’s the easiest and most accessible answer on the list.
Let’s say the questions asked respondents to choose from three different products, asking which was the most useful, the best value for the money, and the most attractive. You run the risk of receiving all the same answers if you put the responses in the same order, such as:
- Product A
- Product B
- Product C
- None of the above
Randomizing answers works in the above scenario, but you don’t want to randomize answers when you’re using ordered answers, such a scale rating opinions from Strongly Agree to Strongly Disagree. Keep such scales in the same order throughout the entire survey.
Eliminating these red flags can help survey analysis software do the job it was meant to do, which is providing you with an efficient means of obtaining the most accurate survey results and insights.
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