The good survey

Raising the Bar in Survey Design with Enalyzer’s AI Surveys

Creating a compelling survey demands precision—each question and corresponding response option must be meticulously aligned with the survey’s overall purpose,…

Creating a compelling survey demands precision—each question and corresponding response option must be meticulously aligned with the survey’s overall purpose, research questions, and hypotheses. Done well, this process will offer a robust survey that provides valuable insights. On the other hand, a poorly constructed survey will fall short in delivering useful data. Imagine, then, if you had someone—or something—guiding you through this intricate maze, almost like holding your hand through each decisive turn. Enter Enalyzer’s new AI assistant, powered by OpenAI, designed to guide you through the survey design process.

📣 Upcoming Webinar: Unlock the Full Potential of Enalyzer’s AI Assistant

Excited about what our AI assistant can do for your survey design process? Join us in our exclusive webinar, ‘Design and Build Surveys Effectively with Enalyzer’s AI Assistant.’ Hosted by Henrik Nielsen, our Head of Research, this session will be a deep dive into leveraging the AI assistant for effective surveys. Reserve your seat now and transform the way you design surveys.

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At Enalyzer, our mission is to empower everyone to create impactful surveys that drive organizational improvement. We recognize that not everyone has the expertise to design an effective survey. Inexperience often leads to overlooked aspects, jeopardizing data quality. That’s where our AI assistant steps in, offering tailored guidance at each step, making the process less daunting and far more effective.

The Intersection of AI and Human Expertise

As AI technology becomes more integral to our daily lives—75% of employees use ChatGPT at work, for instance—we wanted to offer something more than just a standalone AI tool. Our aim is to encapsulate the sense of security and support your experience when consulting with our team members, from customer support to project managers. To this end, we introduced an AI assistant, powered by OpenAI.

This assistant guides you during the survey creation process, asking questions along the way to ensure that your survey is not just personalized, but also aligned with the crucial metrics and themes you aim to explore. Since it’s already integrated to Enalyzer, the survey will be created directly into the platform with a click of a button.

Tailored Assistance

What sets Enalyzer’s AI surveys apart is the focus on customization. By aligning your specific needs and objectives into the survey design, you get a tool that is perfectly tuned to your organizational requirements. This is not a one-size-fits-all approach; it’s about crafting a survey that is as unique as your project’s goals.

If you’re uncertain about what those objectives should be, worry not. The assistant is designed to help you brainstorm, asking probing questions to help clarify your goals. The more information you provide, the more refined your survey will be.

Collaboration Over Automation

Our AI assistant is a guide, not a dictator. You know your organization best so diverging from the assistant’s suggestions when they don’t seem to fit is not only welcomed but encouraged. Such collaborative efforts will most likely yield a more effective survey.

The assistant aids in defining the survey’s scope, advising on question types, and suggesting refinements, making the entire process more interactive and insightful.

We wanted to create an assistant that was, just like our support agents and consultants, an expert in Enalyzer. The assistant can translate your unique needs into Enalyzer-specific features. Our goal is to continually learn from our users to enhance both the assistant and the overall Enalyzer experience.
– Steen Ødegaard, CTO.

Best Practices for Engaging with the AI Assistant

Input quality determines output quality. While the AI assistant alleviates much of the manual work, it’s essential to remember that unclear or vague input will result in an equally unclear survey. Henrik Nielsen, our Head of Research, offers these best practices:

  • State Your Survey’s Purpose: Be clear about why you’re conducting the survey (e.g., to reduce employee turnover).
  • Describe Your Objectives: Specify what you wish to learn (e.g., insights into employee satisfaction regarding salary, benefits, workload, and culture).
  • Contextualize: Let the assistant know who is sending out the survey (e.g., we’re a pension and insurance company).
  • Be Detailed and Specific: Clearly state the outcomes you desire, the more specific you are, the more specific your survey will be (e.g., comparing employee satisfaction by department).
  • Avoid Ambiguity: Strive for precision to ensure your survey is equally precise.
  • Include Your Hypotheses: If you have assumptions or theories, like employees leaving due to lack of development opportunities, include them for testing within the survey.
  • Seek Additional Themes or Questions: Don’t hesitate to ask the assistant to suggest other crucial themes or questions pertinent to your survey.
  • Address Blindspots: We all miss details sometimes. Ask the assistant for any suggestions on questions or themes you may have overlooked to get a more comprehensive survey.
  • Assert Your Authority: You understand your organization’s context better than anyone. If you find any formulations, response options, or scales that don’t align with your insights, inform the AI assistant for necessary adjustments.
  • Pilot Test: Before fully launching your survey, always conduct a pilot test to gauge its effectiveness and make any final tweaks.

AI gives you superpowers – but AI is not an answer key. Always remember to go through the questionnaire AI suggests and use your common sense and critical thinking, and check that the questions align with your purpose and research hypotheses
– Henrik Nielsen, Head of Research.

Enalyzer’s AI assistant has the potential to significantly aid in the creation of thoughtful and effective surveys. It’s not just about automating the process, but about fostering a collaboration between you and the technology. This is how we believe we can best help organizations gather data that is actionable. Don’t miss the opportunity to elevate your survey design process.

The ultimate guide to survey incentives

Traditionally, incentives are given when trying to survey “non-responders”, aka people that don’t answer surveys, such as doctors. I mean,…

Traditionally, incentives are given when trying to survey “non-responders”, aka people that don’t answer surveys, such as doctors. I mean, they’re busy – like really busy – and your survey just doesn’t seem to be worth their while, unless they get something in return. By providing an incentive, you’re giving them a reason to find time in their (very busy) schedule to complete your survey.

Rule of thumb: If people have emotional ties to your product, service, or whatever you’re surveying on, they’ll share their feedback. If not, you’ll likely need an incentive to get the highest response rate.

Survey incentives can increase your response rate but they can also attract the wrong respondents or eat up your budget. There are several factors to consider when choosing an incentive and we’ve listed them for you. Thank us later.

Did you know?

According to a study, respondents who are offered cash incentives are more likely to complete your survey and they feel obligated to take their time to give you their feedback


Always start by look at your budget. It will determine the type of incentive and whether it will be promised or prepaid (more on that later). For example, instead of giving all your respondents two movie tickets, you can make a lottery where only three receive two movie tickets plus popcorn and refreshments.

Who gets your incentive

There are three methods; you can give the incentive to everyone, the first respondents, or do a lottery system.

A lottery system is simple and you’ve probably seen it before. It’s when respondents automatically enter a draw to win something before or after answering the survey. Items could be anything from a gift card to an iPad.


Not all surveys are anonymous but those that are, should remain that way – incentive or not. We recommend you redirect respondents to another survey once they’ve submitted their answers, where they can provide their contact information. This way you can’t link their responses to their personal information.

Your target audience

Remember that you’re offering incentives to increase your response rate, therefore whatever incentive you choose has to resonate with your target audience. You want to offer items that are valuable and easily accessible.

Let’s say that you’re conducting a satisfaction survey for your training courses. To increase the response rate, you decide to give one lucky winner a free spot for the next course. You might risk only encouraging those who enjoyed the course and would really like to participate in the next one, while those who are not interested will not share their opinion with you. Instead, you could provide free technical support, since anyone can benefit from this regardless of his or her attitude towards the course.

It’s vital that you think about the value the incentive generates for your target audience because choosing the wrong incentive might give you a biased group of respondents and thus unusable data or it might not increase your response rate at all.

Types of incentives

Incentives can be broadly divided into two groups: monetary and non-monetary. Monetary incentives are, you guessed it, money and it can come in the form of cash, checks, gift cards, and vouchers. Non-monetary incentives have value but it is not money, such as a T-shirt or notebook, or a charity donation in the respondent’s name.

To help you navigate the world of incentives, here are some ideas:

This is one of the most common and successful types of incentives. Research shows that cold, hard cash boost rates more than other incentives. Keep in mind that cash is not always practical when it comes to online surveys.

Value and worth are different things; different amounts can have the same value to different people. Let’s say your target population is lawyers, the cash amount should be higher than if the audience was students. Why? Because lawyers are busier than students, therefore the amount needs to be high enough to make taking your survey worth their while. Students, on the other hand, can find the same value with a lower amount.

Free sample or discount
While cash yields the best results, free samples and discounts could be enough for your survey. Consider offering a discount on their next purchase or a free sample of a new product.

Donation to a charity
Pick a charity that aligns with your company’s values and gives respondents the chance to donate to it. Just make sure you clearly communicate the amount you’re giving per completed survey. Apart from benefiting others, you’re also creating positive connotations with your brand.

This could be anything, cups, jackets, pens or key chains. Another option is gift cards and vouchers to online stores, e.g. Amazon. Online items are easier to redeem since online shops are not bound to a geographic location. Giveaways give you a chance to send some branded merch with your company’s logo.

Promised vs. prepaid incentives

Research shows that prepaid incentives, which is when you provide the incentive before the survey is completed, are most effective at increasing response rates. However, this method is more expensive and harder to implement for online surveys since you are rewarding everyone before they take the survey. Conversely, promised incentives are easier since you don’t have to reward everyone and those you do reward have completed your survey.

Did you know?

Research shows that prepaid incentives yield higher response rates than promised incentives.

Quality Control

Sharing your survey on social media or any public platform gives you access to more respondents than other methods. But you have to make sure your incentive is going to the right people.

Use disqualifying questions to eliminate respondents who don’t meet your criteria. For example, if your survey seeks to find out attitudes about a podcast, make sure they have listened to it by asking “Have you listened to the Revisionist History podcast?” If they answer no, set up a condition that redirects them to an end page thanking them for their willingness to participate in your survey but unfortunately, they don’t fit the adequate target group. Also, tell them to get on it – it’s brilliant!



 Who gets your incentive


 Target audience

 Prepaid or promised

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Quality control

3 guidelines for survey invitations to increase response rates

You’ve invited 500 respondents by email to your survey. So far, only 17 people have opened your survey – and…

You’ve invited 500 respondents by email to your survey. So far, only 17 people have opened your survey – and only 12 people have completed your survey, not even a measly 3% of your target group. You keep hitting ‘Refresh’ on your browser, hoping to collect more data from respondents – but as the days pass, you lose all hope. Does this sound familiar to you?

What you’re experiencing is a question all survey managers struggle with – “How do I get people to open my survey invitations?” In today’s day and age, users are overwhelmed with surveys, from their local coffee shop to workplace reviews. This means respondents are experiencing survey fatigue – before they’ve even opened your survey!

Let’s be honest, nobody wants to open unsolicited emails. Your respondents value their time – and you value their opinion. As the creator of a survey, you’re asking respondents for a transaction, where the burden of the cost lies with them, often with little apparent reward.

Understanding this dynamic is critical when trying to convince users to answer your survey. So how do you break through? How do you get respondents to click on an email they might not have opened otherwise, and how do you convince them to open your survey? Keep reading.

1. Personalize

The importance of sender and subject line are often overlooked when writing survey invitations, with deadly consequences. According to a recent study, 33% of email recipients decide whether or not to open an email based on subject line alone. This means getting this one line of text right is absolutely essential for getting your foot in the door.

According to Adestra July 2012 Report, open-rate of email increases by over 22% with personalized subject lines and over 90% of marketers say they don’t spend enough time on subject lines. This is good news! It means that a personal, interesting subject line will outcompete most other emails your respondents are receiving.

Did you know?

Phrase your subject as a question. For example, instead of Answer our Customer Satisfaction Survey, try: Leonora, have you ever felt let down by Pure Digital? You can easily merge in the name of your respondent and company with Enalyzer’s merge field function.

It is also important to think of the sender name and the sender email. Over 43% of email recipients will mark messages as spam based on the ‘from’ address and sender name.

2. Inform

You need to tell your respondents what your survey is all about. I mean, it’s just good manners. Respondents are far more likely to answer if they know beforehand, what they are getting themselves into. So we’ve made a little checklist of information that is shown to increase response rates:

  • What is the purpose of the research
  • How will their feedback be used
  • Any privacy protections and anonymity settings
  • Length of the survey (in minutes and number of questions)
  • A contact person

Did you know?

CSS-heavy emails often get labeled as “Promotion” in tabbed inboxes like Gmail. Sending a plain text survey invitation may increase your response rates by over 200% to users using Gmail according to one study.

3. Motivate

This boils down to our last guideline: motivate your respondents. Because even after they’ve been greeted personally and informed about why you need their responses, they still don’t know why they should care. This is why you must motivate them.

  • Invoke reciprocity (Be nice and give them gifts)
  • Use incentives (Bribe them with rewards)
  • Publish your results (Make them curious)
  • Follow up with reminders

Did you know?

Timing is key. 2-5pm is when most emails are opened and 10pm-9am is the worst time to send emails.

Find your respondents

After putting time and effort into creating a great survey, we find surveyors asking, “where do I find people to…

After putting time and effort into creating a great survey, we find surveyors asking, “where do I find people to take my survey?”

Today, there are multiple ways to reach your respondents, however, this doesn’t mean they’re all applicable to your survey. For example, your customer service feedback survey should be sent to customers that interact with your customer support. Therefore, the best way to reach them will most likely be sending a follow-up email after customer support has solved their query. That’s why you should start by identifying your target audience and then figuring out the best collection method(s) to reach them.

But don’t worry, we’re not leaving you alone on this one. Here are some collection methods we recommend:

If you have an existing list of contacts that have agreed to receive emails from you, e.g. newsletter list, then you can send your survey to them. Email as a collection method is often used for employee and customer surveys and it’s a great way to add existing background variables, such as department and industry, for a better report.
Social media
You can share your survey to Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, or any other social platform that your audience uses. As a bonus, Enalyzer allows you to add social media icons to your survey so your respondents can share your survey with their networks. To weed out respondents outside of your targeting audience, add screening questions to your survey. For example, if your survey seeks to find out attitudes about trust in politicians among voters, make sure that your respondents are 18 years old by adding a question: “How old are you?” If the respondent is 17 or younger, set up a condition so that the respondent is directed to an end page thanking them for their willingness to participate in your survey but unfortunately, they don’t fit the adequate target group.
Sometimes you have to go to where your respondents are, for example, if you’re conducting a survey about your hair salon and its facilities, it might be a good idea to ask people as they’re leaving. Set up a tablet in your store to make it easier for your respondents.
Panel companies can match your survey with online respondents for a fee. There are plenty of online survey panel companies out there, all you have to do is find one that specializes in what you’re looking for, describe your project to them and they’ll find a solution that fits your needs. If you’re interested in this, you’re welcome to contact one of our consultants and hear more. They can do the whole survey for you or you can create your own survey and they will match you with the right panel.

Collection methods are not mutually exclusive, which means you can, and should, combine the necessary methods that will help you reach your target audience. Whatever you decide, remember that it all starts with your target audience.

→ Create a free account and try it yourself!

4 things to consider when targeting respondents

Now that you have your survey and design all lined up, it’s time to invite respondents to your survey. This…

Now that you have your survey and design all lined up, it’s time to invite respondents to your survey. This may seem like the easiest step in research, how hard can gathering data be? Let me burst your bubble and tell you, this is one of the most important aspects of survey research and can determine the fate of the entire research endeavor. No pressure.

You need to make sure that you target the right respondents so that they accurately represent what you wish to look into. But, how do you ensure accurate targeting without introducing a source of bias to your research? Bias is the concurring evil of all research, so here are 4 things to consider:

1. The what and the who: research interest and population size

When determining who should answer your survey and how they get a hold of your survey, you first need to figure out what your research interest is. It doesn’t make sense to survey all students at the University of Oxford if you’re trying to figure out how satisfied students are with the dorms at the university. For this, you need to define your population, which is the entirety of your research subjects. For this example, the population is the number of students living in the University of Oxford’s dorms. However, it’s often impossible to survey an entire population due to time and cost issues. Luckily, most of the time, surveying the entire population isn’t necessary. Drawing inferences from samples often get you pretty close to the actual population, just be mindful of the inherent uncertainty they carry.

2. Random sampling

In order to achieve a result that comes as close to the truth as possible, you need to carefully sample your respondents. A sample frame is a list containing the entire population, from which a random sample is drawn. Continuing with the above example, this would be a list of all students living in the dorms, from which random names are selected to participate in the survey. You need to make sure that each student has the same chance of being selected so that you can minimize the sampling error (the natural deviation between sample and population). This is called probability sampling.

3. Sample size

We know you’ve been waiting for this one. The answer to the question; how many respondents do I need? Well… that depends on many factors but don’t worry we have a formula for you.

Let’s not get ahead of ourselves and take this one step at a time. You have to set the maximum error you’re willing to accept in your survey. When doing this, you should be aware of the following two parameters: margin of error and confidence level.

The margin of error is the interval within which you expect to find the value from the population you’re measuring. For instance, let’s say you wish to determine how large the proportion of the 10.000 students in the dorm are exchange students. If we assume that 1.000 are exchange students (10% of the population) with 5% margin of error, it really means it is about 500 (5%) and 1500 (15%).

The confidence level expresses how confident you feel about the value you look for within the margin of error. For example, in the previous case, if you choose a 95% confidence level, we could say the percentage of students in the dorm that are exchange students in 95% of the cases, is between 5% and 15%. In other words, if we repeat the survey 100 times, the proportion we’re looking for would be within the interval 95% of the cases and it would be out the interval in the remaining 5% of the cases.

The margin of error, confidence level, and sample size are always linked and co-dependent. Modifying any of these values will change the others:

  • Minimizing the margin of error will require a bigger sample size.
  • Increasing the confidence level will require a bigger sample size.

So, once you’ve decided on the margin of error and the confidence level you can use the formula to determine your sample size!

Pro tip: As a reference, the margin of error in political polls is usually 3%.

n: sample size to be calculated
N: size of the population (e.g. 1 000 students)
Z: refers to the confidence level and is derived from a statistical distribution

  • Confidence level 90% -> Z=1,645
  • Confidence level 95% -> Z=1,96
  • Confidence level 99% -> Z=2,575
e: maximum margin of error I tolerate (e.g. 5%)
p: proportion we expect to find. As a general rule, if we don’t have any information about the value we expect to find, we use p=50% .

4. Non-response and response bias

Once you’ve determined your ideal sample size, add a couple extra! Why, you ask? Because there will most likely be some who don’t want to answer your survey. To counter the effects of people not responding, you may want to increase your sample size by the expected non-response rate. So, why should you care?

This has got to do with two more biases related to your respondents that may influence your data. A response bias is mainly on the side of the respondent, who doesn’t understand the question or is lying while answering the question. You can counter this by making sure your questions are properly phrased and that respondents trust that their answers are anonymous and/or confidential.

It’s all about first impressions: the importance of survey design

It takes people 1/10th of a second to form an opinion about a person, and surveys are no different. Always…

It takes people 1/10th of a second to form an opinion about a person, and surveys are no different. Always keep in mind that surveys speak in two languages; words and visuals. So, your survey’s first impression relies on these two complementing each other.

Images, colors, and fonts

We are sure you already know this, but we’ll say it again – colors, fonts, and images are important! Plenty of studies (shout out to Internet, Phone, Mail, and Mixed-Mode Surveys: The Tailored Design Method by Don Dillman, Jolene Smyth, and Leah Melani) show that these incite feelings and attitudes on people, which means you shouldn’t overlook the impact these can have on your respondents.


You can find endless research on colors, fonts, and images and we encourage you to do so, however, today we’re taking it a step further. We want to focus on matching your survey’s visuals to its content.

Avoid bias by conveying the same message through visuals and words

Make sure your visuals and text are saying the same thing. If you have chosen a casual and informal tone in order to target a certain segment of respondents but your visuals are strict and rigid, you’re creating cognitive dissonance and influencing your respondents’ performance.

For example, if you conduct a survey on attitudes towards different social media platforms and you use Facebook’s color scheme, you will end up with invalid data


Your survey is part of your brand

Every and any interaction that customers have with your brand is defined as a touch point, and it can have a positive or negative effect. Your survey is a touch point, it’s part of your brand, that’s why your survey design should align with your brand identity and be consistent.

We live in an online world, which means customers experience brands throughout a variety of channels and it’s important to keep their experience consistent. So, if your website and social media are branded then your survey should reflect your company’s brand presence as well.

Engage your audience through visuals

You have chosen a specific tone and words to address a specific audience, however, have you chosen the right visuals? For example, let’s say you’re conducting a survey about homeschooling and include images of classrooms, however, your target audience is homeschooled children, then these images are not going to resonate with them, they might even hit the wrong note. Make sure your visuals align with your content and brand, as well as speak directly to your target audience.


Ultimately, you can jeopardize your data by overlooking your survey’s visual design. Remember, it is the first thing your respondents will notice and you don’t want to lose them before they even read the content of your survey. Visual design done well can increase response rates and minimize bias, however, when done poorly it can have the opposite effect.

Enalyzer provides multiple survey design templates, which can serve as a great starting point for your survey design – the possibilities are endless.

3 tips to avoid survey fatigue

When collecting data from an audience, you need to be respectful of their time and you want to make sure…

When collecting data from an audience, you need to be respectful of their time and you want to make sure your survey keeps the respondents engaged from “hello” to “thank you”. A key aspect of keeping your respondents engaged is avoiding survey fatigue.

Survey fatigue can be divided into two different types, both of which can have a profound effect on your survey’s response rate, as well as the quality of the data collected.

The first type of survey fatigue starts before your survey even begins and stems from the increased amount of surveys currently being circulated. People are constantly being asked for feedback, whether it be by the local grocery store or their workplace, and are simply tired of answering surveys. This type of survey fatigue is the hardest to battle as this is not really dependent on your specific survey, but an overload of surveys in general.

The second type of survey fatigue is related to the fatigue your respondents may feel when actually taking a survey. This type of fatigue happens if your survey is too long, complicated, or confusing and may lead to the respondents rushing through or exiting the survey prematurely- leaving you with a lack of quality data. 

Though the above might sound bleak, don’t fret! We have comprised a set of tips for how you can avoid your respondents getting survey fatigue.

Don’t drown your audience in surveys
Don’t send more surveys than absolutely needed. This way the chances are higher that your target audience will respond to the survey, as opposed to if they have already received four surveys from you this month. If your organization is dependent on sending out a lot of surveys, try to keep track of when different departments are sending out surveys, so the same people are not answering surveys from multiple departments at the same time.

Communicate the survey’s value clearly
If the respondents know how their responses will be used and what the aim of the survey is, they are more inclined to stick through the survey. So make sure to communicate this clearly. When designing your survey reflect on and efficiently communicate the following to your respondents:

  • Why should they take your survey?
  • What will the answers be used for?
  • How time-consuming is the survey?

Always think of your respondents
Though the survey might ultimately be beneficial for the respondents themselves, through for example improved work or customer experience, while taking the survey they are doing you a ‘favor’ by sacrificing their time. This is not something that should be taken lightly, so make sure that their time isn’t wasted which can be done by:

  • Using behavior and conditions to make your survey as ‘respondent-friendly’ as possible. This way you won’t confuse your respondents with irrelevant questions.
  • Asking the right questions and not asking too many of them. Keep it simple and only ask the questions you absolutely need to. Short and sweet is the way to go. Put your survey to a ‘nice to know vs. need to know’ test. If questions in your survey are ‘nice to know’ rather than ‘need to know’, drop them. This will give you better quality data and a higher response rate ensuring that you get the information that you ‘need to know’.
  • Get creative. A good looking survey is inherently more pleasant to answer so put some effort into your survey design. If you need inspiration check out our blog post on flawless survey designs.

7 golden rules for survey question writing

What is a good question? A good question, is a question that asks the right thing in the right way….

What is a good question? A good question, is a question that asks the right thing in the right way.

Last week we talked about asking the right things by transforming your objectives into survey questions. Today, we will look at how to ask the questions the right way, to ensure higher response rates and better data.

For this purpose, we have comprised a list of 7 golden rules for survey question writing:

  • Clear questions are the best questions
    If your question is not clear, your answer won’t be either. So keep it simple, to make sure that your respondents understand what you’re asking.
    A question should only include a single idea, including several questions will confuse respondents and it will be impossible for you to interpret their answers.  Let’s try this in practice:

    If a respondent answers “satisfied” to this question, how will you know what it means? Is the respondent satisfied with the teacher or the catering? Or maybe the respondent was “very satisfied” with the teacher and “unsatisfied” with the catering? See, it’s confusing!
    A simple mistake as this, creates invalid feedback on the teacher and catering during the course, making it impossible to come up with solutions. These types of double-barreled questions can often be spotted by the use of the word ‘and’, signaling the connection of two different focuses: “… the course teacher AND the catering”.  In other words, by applying the one-idea-per-question rule, you won’t confuse your respondents and collect sound data.

  • Avoid hypothetical questions
    When you ask hypothetical questions, it often results in unreliable data caused by respondents not being able to understand your hypothetical scenario. The question “Imagine that you’re buying a new car, what kind of financing will you prefer?” is virtually impossible for someone that has never considered buying a car, or doesn’t have the knowledge of the different financing options, to answer. Instead, it would be better to ask someone who has recently bought a car how they financed the purchase.
  • It’s all about the context
    In some cases, questions and their answers will only give insights if understood in a certain context established by other questions. For example, if asking about a respondent’s attitude towards Buddhism, can you adequately interpret this without finding out about their attitudes towards religion in general, or other religious groups? In such a case, contextual questions are your friend since they ensure that you’re getting the full picture and the valid information you need.
  • Your response options have to be all-inclusive
    Make sure that your response options allow respondents to answer your question. Let’s look at an example:


    Here, a respondent who has worked at Enalyzer for over a year but less than 2, can’t adequately answer the question. This will inherently have an effect on your data’s validity, plus he/she is now feeling left out and no one wants that. In this case, you need to make sure that your response options fit all possible answers. For the above example, one could add an extra response option, ‘1-2 years’ or extend one of the other options to include this time span.
  • Find the balance between being too specific and too broad
    When writing survey questions, you need to keep your survey’s goals and objectives in mind at all times in order to make sure that your questions allow for the answers you need. So, it might be necessary to reflect on the correlation between being more specific or sufficiently general and the possible answers you can get.
    General questions can sometimes lead to information that is difficult to interpret. For example, let’s say that you’re a business owner that is interested in knowing what customers think about your service. To find this out you could ask “how well do you like my services?” rated on a scale ranging from “not at all” to “extremely well”, but what would a possible response to this mean? What exactly does it mean that someone likes your services? Instead, you could ask more specific questions such as “would you recommend my services to others?” or “would you use my services again?”.
    In other instances, you may need to evaluate whether your question is sufficiently general in order to make sure that the answers you are getting accurately reflects the respondent’s attitude towards the topic of choice. For example, if you ask someone how they have thrived at their workplace for the last week, you could get a very different answer than if you asked them how they have thrived there the past year. Perhaps, the respondent had a bad week, but this doesn’t necessarily reflect their sentiments at their workplace in general.
  • Keep them relevant
    When making a survey always keep in mind that you’re ‘borrowing’ time from your respondents that they could have otherwise used on something else. Therefore, it is important not to waste this time by asking irrelevant questions. Avoid this by going through all of your questions before sending your survey, making sure that you actually need to ask the question and whether you need to ask it at the level of detail you currently have. For example, if you’re asking a question about your respondents income, do you need to know the exact number, or would your reporting needs be satisfied by income ranges?
  • Make them neutral
    Survey questions and response options should be neutrally formulated so that you don’t lead respondents to a particular response. Also, respondents should be able to answer questions both positively and negatively. Here is an example:

    In this example, the response poles, disagree and strongly agree, are not balanced and there are more positively loaded options than negative ones. This should be avoided as it can sway the respondents’ replies and no one likes a manipulator!

Transform objectives into survey questions

To get relevant insights from your survey, your questions need to directly address your survey’s goals and objectives. But how…

To get relevant insights from your survey, your questions need to directly address your survey’s goals and objectives. But how do we turn survey objectives into survey questions?

Today, we are going to break down survey objectives into themes and sub-themes that will make up our survey questions. Interested? Keep reading.


The Goal

  1. “Assess the Enalyzer’s staff attitudes towards this year’s summer party”

The Objectives:

  1. “Assess the employees’ satisfaction with this year’s summer party”
  2. “Explore employees’ opinions on the different aspects of the party to see if there is room for improvement”


Let’s start by identifying the themes and sub-themes each objective contains. Themes and sub-themes are the specific things you wish to learn and they will make up your survey questions.

Objectives, themes and sub-themes

Once you got your themes and sub-themes in order, start writing your questions. The table below is a simple example of how themes and sub-themes can be converted into questions:

Sub-themes and survey questions

But this is just the beginning! Survey question writing is a science in and of itself. Questions should be clear, unique, neutral, balanced, and more.

Start by identifying themes and sub-themes and come back next week! We will be going through the art of writing good survey questions.

Fun fact: The summer party was a success!

Preparation is key

There are two  types of people in this world, those who start a survey by writing down the survey questions,…

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!

General considerations

Surveys seem simple, you ask a question, get an answer, and make a decision based on the data collected. What…

Surveys seem simple, you ask a question, get an answer, and make a decision based on the data collected. What if I told you it’s not as easy as it looks? Asking the wrong questions can lead to bad decisions.

That’s why it is important to know the basics of survey science. During the following weeks, we’ll bring you a series of articles on everything you need to know about survey design.

Where to start?

Preparation is crucial. Before you start writing questions down, you have to think about the purpose of the survey, its objectives and goals.

If possible involve the study’s stakeholders in the preparation stage. They can provide the study with greater insight and make it more relevant to your audience, which will lead to a high response rate.

One size does not always fit all

One-size-fits-all surveys are rarely the optimal solution, especially for surveys that are targeting large audiences. For example, an employee satisfaction survey should be tailored to the whole organization and to its respective departments, since there might be notable differences between their frameworks and conditions.

General Tips

  • 15 minutes

Take it from us, people start leaving the survey without completing it, so make it easier for your respondents and yourself and stick to the 15 minute mark.

  • Relevant, easy and inviting

Irrelevant and complicated surveys cause frustration and irritation. Respondents should use their time answering the survey, not trying to understand it.

  • Pilot test

What are friends for, if not to pilot test your surveys? Exactly! So, before launching your survey, show it to a friend and ask for feedback.