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Hackernoon logoHow Do Survey Length and Questions Impact Responses? by@evelyn-thomas

How Do Survey Length and Questions Impact Responses?

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@evelyn-thomasEvelyn Thomas

A content geek who is on the spree to capture multiple facets of industry through creative and innov

Survey research is a costly affair, having gone to the nitty-gritty of tracking down respondents, we aim to get as much from them as possible. It's imperative to understand your target audience before constructing a survey as it helps in uniform decisions based on survey length and questions. While some respondents enjoy long surveys, many experience survey fatigue. Whatever the case may be, content granularity is the key.

From the antagonism between surveyor and respondents, the message is crystal clear; don't make long surveys. Failure to consider this rule will generate a sharp decline in response rates.ย 

One of the tips to get more responses is to keep a check on the ideal survey length. Is it lengthy or dragged-out? Are there interesting questions? These behavior-based analyses only trigger individual actions and produce positive outcomes.ย 

As per industry norms, surveys with more than 15 questions are considered "too long," and drop-off rates are high after the 10th question. In my opinion, you can create a survey with multiple questionnaires, brainstorm with the team, and drill down the question list to the best of ten or fifteen depending on what you need from the respondents. Keep your survey short and precise, and remove all unwanted survey questionnaires.ย 

A survey with relevant questionnaires drives better results and work wonders for both the parties. For various reasons, if you still want to add more questions, the best workaround is to double the sample size of your target audience and to bifurcate your questions over those samples. For example, if you've 30 questions, increase your audience from 100 people to 200 people and ask 15 questions to each set.

Another way is to select great survey questions that are widely used and effective. But before that, are you clear in your mind of what you need to learn from your survey audience. Once you figure this out, the next step is to get into the most common forms of survey questions. There are majorly three ways of asking a survey question, which also forms the base of all other question types.

Closed Ended-Questions: This means that a survey respondent can select one or many options from the predefined answer sets. It doesn't give the chance to explore questions. They are simple, yes/no, multiple type questions, or rating questions.

Open Ended-Questions: This can express personal views and opinions and gives the room for a precise and detailed explanation. It can be either a paragraph or a sentence depending on the character limit set by you.

Semi-Closed-Ended Question: This can either be Qualitative or Quantitative or Both and also keeps survey respondents engaged. This type of question gives uniform data, explained with useful insights, and ideal for accurate data gathering.ย 

Once you identified the question forms, itโ€™s time to find the question types. To collect the right data, you need the right kinds of question types. While designing the survey, take a few minutes to get to know a variety of question types that exist; text box, radio button, net promoter score, grid questions, checkbox, captcha, to name a few.ย 

While you are doing every bit to create the best survey, you have to consider mobile technology too. The world has gone mobile, and the probability of respondents taking surveys on their hand-held devices is high. So it's necessary to have mobile responsive surveys.

By now, you know what Branching is and how it divides the survey path. By applying branching to your questions, you can direct participants to individual pages based on the answer options selected. It helps participants focus on what matters to them, keeps them engaged, improves efficiency, and gives a sense of personalization. There are single-question branching, multiple-question branching, and end survey options under branching.

Piping is another option that lets survey participants repeat specific responses later in the survey. It gives a tailored experience and a more customized experience and makes participants complete the survey on time.

ย A continuous review of the questionnaires helps you build the best survey. Don't let your hard work go to waste. Check for yourself survey necessity and ask someone to proof-read. Either your friend or your colleague can do it for you.ย 

With the help of intrinsic rewards or incentives, you can lure survey respondents on survey completion. People don't like to do things for free. Are there any freebies or giveaways? They need motivation or perks to do the work. Incentives not necessarily have to be exorbitant to increase response rates, simple items like branded goodies, a voucher, or a free trial would also do. It would be a real win-win situation. Cost-effective for the brand and motivation to the respondent.

When you compare long surveys with significantly shorter ones, they fetch low results and disinterested audience. Survey questionnaire length has a decremental effect on the survey quality and looks compromised. To yield excellent responses, it's better to do a pre-analysis of questionnaires and use the right strategy to tackle it.

So from a practical point of view, few things will work magic.

  1. Keep your survey short, if you are aiming for a complete response rate.
  2. Drill down questions and proof-read for relevant questions and crisp surveys.
  3. Don't assume and do a thorough analysis of your target audience profile for a complete visibility
  4. Apply to skip logic and branching to help shorten a survey to allow respondents only answer what they want.

Each survey, each question, and distribution method vary, and the results will differ between surveys, but keep the above points in mind when you create your next survey.

Make sure your survey goals are in direct proportion to the number of questions in a survey you're asking to get the best data possible for decision making. If you write a survey, that has a low response rate, make sure you double the sample size and send it to enough recipients for great responses.

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@evelyn-thomasEvelyn Thomas

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A content geek who is on the spree to capture multiple facets of industry through creative and innov


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