Collect stronger data with these 3 survey design tips

Use this unique period, when data shifts are expected, to make survey design changes that will set you up to emerge stronger post COVID-19.
01 June 2020
research online
Jon Puleston

Vice President, Innovation, Profiles Division

Simon Buckley

Managing Director, EMEA, Profiles Division

Jennifer Carrea

CEO, Americas and Global Health, Profiles Division

Get in touch

Researchers are competing for the time and attention of consumers. People today are engaging with a variety of technology platforms, continuously on-the-go and inundated with social media and email.

This is why it’s never been more important to keep research respondents engaged and interested in questions we’re asking them; highly engaged respondents yield good data on the back end, which adds validity to insights for smarter business decisions.

Do you ever question the responses you get in research? Such as, “does it reflect reality?” or “am I getting rich and engaged responses?” You may have been asking questions for years and have been tempted to make changes but didn’t due to concerns the data might change and impact your results.

Since the onset of COVID-19 there has been an abundance of change – from consumer shopping behaviours and brand loyalty, to healthcare needs and working conditions. With that, we’re witnessing some research being put on hold and are expecting to see breaks in long-term trends.

Rather than continue with the status quo, why not take this time of crisis and turn it into an opportunity; this is a great time to be disruptive and take a fresh look at questionnaires. Use this unique period to challenge yourself and make changes today while we’re already expecting data shifts. Set yourself up to emerge stronger post-COVID-19 and for the "new tomorrow". 

Here are a few tips for reviewing and refreshing your questions now that will yield stronger data returns in the long term. For more on these tips and others, fill the form out below to access an on-demand webinar.

1. Look at where people are dropping out of your surveys

Evaluating the dropout from a survey is probably the most effective way of spotting problems. We often speak about the need to shorten surveys as more people are completing them on mobile devices, and with lower attention spans, but dropout due to survey design factors can be more important than length.

If more than 2% of people are dropping out on any one question, treat that as a point in the survey that needs attention. Respondents are either having difficulty answering the question or they are getting bored or frustrated.

Pay particular attention to open ended questions and any banks of Likert or loops of questions. These can cause cumulative levels of dropout and can be better optimised through question design.

2. Rethink your screening criteria and quotas

Examining you screening criteria and quotas can really help to improve both the quality of data you are gathering from your survey and the efficiency with which you are conducting your online research.

Some screening questions and quota breaks are often legacy components from face-to-face research. You may find you’re not getting the value or honestly you intended when implementing them. Here are three considerations for setting up screening questions and quotas:

  • We find the standard way of asking demographic questions, such as income and education, can give false data. Kantar has been doing extensive research-on-research examining more accurate methods to screen and target audience by changing how we ask these types of questions.
  • If you’re using quota groups that don’t match those of your sample provider, you may find your quotas are sinking your project.
  • The efficient delivery of many survey projects is hampered by setting unnecessary region and gender quotas. Today, these can be better handled using invitation sampling methods.

3. Consider detail and add polish to your surveys

Design considerations often take second place in the rush to send out surveys. We would encourage you to think about a survey as a piece of visual communication. Our research shows that by paying attention to how you group and organise options, layout and fit content on a screen, the scale designs, the effective use of icons and visual and the overall ergonomic flow all can have a significant impact on improving your research data.

Survey designs and programming tools have come such a long way since the onset of online research. This is one area where a bit of creativity can go a long way.

Better survey designs help you get closer to the truth

What’s the value taking a proactive approach today? Creating engaging surveys designed for the active, mobile respondent will enable you to access their feedback on the devices they’re using, reach a wider audience, reduce time and cost and most importantly, help you retain and win business.

For more on these tips and others, fill out the form below to access an on-demand webinar.

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