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How to Evaluate Survey Questions & Design

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  • 0:04 Market Research Surveys
  • 0:34 Types of Surveys
  • 1:01 Types of Questions
  • 2:16 Evaluating a Survey
  • 4:45 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Lucinda Stanley

Lucinda has taught business and information technology and has a PhD in Education.

This lesson discusses surveys used in market research. We'll review some objectives for surveys, typical types of survey questions, and the importance of wording, routing, sequencing, length, and layout.

Market Research Surveys

If you've ever answered this question, 'What features do you look for when you purchase….?,' you've probably taken a market survey. You've probably taken more than one! Businesses use market surveys to learn about customers in order to provide what they want and need.

So, how do you evaluate survey questions to see if they are going to give you the information you're looking for? The first step is to know your objective. What do you want to do with the information you gather? Your objective will help you choose the best type of survey to gather the information you want.

Types of Surveys

Surveys answer basic questions that help businesses provide a better product or service for their customers. Let's take a look at some survey types:

  • Market description: Who is your typical customer?
  • Customer attitudes: How does the customer feel about the product or the business?
  • New product concept: Is there interest in a new product?
  • Habits and uses: How is your product being used by the consumer?
  • Advertising value: How did customers learn about your product?

Types of Questions

Once you know your objective, you need to consider which types of questions to ask. Surveys typically use open-ended, closed-ended, and scaled questions. Let's look at each one:

Open-ended questions allow the customer to add their own narrative. Open-ended questions allow customers to provide answers the survey creator may not have thought of. For example: How do you hope this product will make your life better?

Closed-ended questions give the customer a choice of answers. The advantage of close-ended questions is that the data can be easily transformed into charts and graphs. Here's an example: How often do you use your laundry detergent?

A. Daily

B. Weekly

C. Monthly

D. Never

Scaled questions provide a range of responses from positive to negative. Like closed-ended questions, the data from scaled questions can be tabulated and transformed into very clear information. Here's an example: Using the following scale, how would you rank this lesson so far?

Great | Good | Fair | Poor

Depending on your objective, you can use one or all of these types of questions to create a survey. But, not all surveys are created equal. Let's look at things to consider as you evaluate a survey.

Evaluating A Survey

When creating a survey, you should consider length, sequencing, and layout, routing, and choosing the right words. Let's check out why.

First, let's look at length, sequencing, and layout. Keep in mind that you're asking people for their time to help you meet your objective. Consider their time as valuable, and keep your survey short and to the point. A reasonable survey asks 20 questions. Longer surveys risk losing the interest of the customer, who may quit or not answer later questions fully or truthfully.

Surveys should start with questions about basic demographic information, but only what you require. Age, gender, education level, income, household size are some examples. You can then move into the specific questions that meet your objective. Questions should flow naturally from one to another. If you ask about one product, then switch to another product, don't return to ask questions about the first product.

With scaled questions, you need to consider left-to-right bias. Survey takers are more likely to pick answers on the left. Additionally, they are more likely to pick positive answers. If you put negative answers on the left, those two biases should cancel themselves out.

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