Paul Rudd Information Professional

expertise gained through experience

Creating Good Surveys: Top Tips

Creating good surveys is a lot easier with services such as Survey Monkey but if you are like me and you might have to create a varied range of types of surveys it still poses a challenge. But by following some key principles reading this post should make it a lot easier for you.

All the surveys I create are online but the advice in this post will also be useful for paper based surveys too.

Creating the survey 

  • Keep it short
  • Make sure the questions are easy to understand
  • Where possible use a scale to get a more accurate gauge of the each participants views
  • Leave space for qualitative feedback with every quantitative based survey by creating a comments box beneath each question
  • Test the survey on a selection of people first to make sure that all the questions are genuinely easy to understand and make sense

Using rating scales 

One of my most commonly used rating scales is the Likert scale which measures how strongly you agree or disagree with a statement and I typically use the following choices for my scale:

  • Strongly agree
  • Agree
  • Neither agree or disagree
  • Disagree
  • Strongly disagree

Often the Neither agree or disagree option is removed as it can be seen as not really being of value, its inclusion in a survey can often lead respondents to not make a proper decision in response to your survey.

The Likert scale can also used to measure the following by just changing the choices from those list above:

  • Satisfaction = Very satisfied, satisfied, neither satisfied nor dissatisfied, dissatisfied, very dissatisfied
  • Extent = To a large extent, to a moderate extent, to some extent, to a little extent, not at all
  • Helpfulness = Very helpful, somewhat helpful, neither helpful or unhelpful, not very helpful, not helpful at all
  • Interest = Considerable interest, moderate interest, some interest, little interest, no interest
  • Importance = Very important, important, moderately important, of little importance, unimportant
  • Quality = Excellent, above average, average, below average, extremely poor

Deploying the survey 

If its an online survey its worth doing the following before you deploy the survey to make sure you get as many responses as possible

  • Send an email out to survey participants informing them of the date and even time that you will deploy the live survey
  • Provide an end date for the survey to try and make sure potential respondents know they need to complete it by a certain date
  • Send an email reminder/s out nearer the survey end date

For further information check out the following web pages: