There are two types of people in this world, those who start a survey by writing down the survey questions, and those who start by setting survey goals and objectives.
If you fall under the former – Stop. That’s a mistake. Don’t do it. If you start a survey by writing questions down you will lose focus and your survey will become a fishing expedition leading nowhere!
That’s why today, I want to talk to you about the most important step in survey design – the preparation process.
So, what is the preparation process? It begins with writing down the goals and objectives of your survey. As the process continues, the goals become more clearly defined and the objectives become narrower. Only then can you start thinking about survey questions.
A goal is a written general and unmeasurable statement that dictates the purpose of the survey. A survey with no purpose is unfocused and will often be unsuccessful. So start by asking yourself the following:
- Why are you creating this survey?
- What are you trying to prove/learn?
- What question are you trying to answer?
- What insights do you want to gain?
- What will you do with the newly gained insights?
Let’s say I want to know what the Enalyzer staff thinks of our head office in Copenhagen. But why do I want to know that? Is it because we are considering moving to a new location? Or is it because we want to change the design of the office?
Disclaimer: We are not going anywhere or re-designing the office (at least not for now…)
The objectives are the actions you need to take to achieve your goal and they should follow the specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound (SMART) rule. There can be more than one objective but we recommend a maximum of 3.
For example if our goal is:
“To assess the Enalyzer staff’s attitudes towards the proposed office relocation.”
Then our objectives would be:
“Determine how the relocation will affect employee transport arrangements.”
“Explore employees’ opinions about the new location and its surroundings (shops, restaurants, parks, etc.)”
Objectives will serve as guidelines for your questions, they will affect the questions you ask, the wording you use and even the survey’s visual design. If your survey questions do not align with your objectives, they will not provide you with relevant insight.
What now? Make yourself a cup of coffee, and get cracking on your survey.
See you next time!