When looking to assess public opinion or understand a specific set of people, there’s no better tool than a survey. They’re the reliable first step in change for many companies and institutions alike. They’re also fairly simple, but surprisingly challenging to make competently. Here are some key decisions to make when designing a solid survey.
What question is looking to be answered? Before building the survey it’s important to know what it’s aimed at. This can translate directly to the actual questions, but should be a separate discussion before creation begins.
What groups are being questioned and how? In terms of steps to creating a survey, the actual execution is one of the easiest. The hard part is knowing how the survey will get to people and how to ensure it’s being finished. This can be a question one gets better at answering with each survey.
How will data be analyzed and reported? Arguably this is the most important decision in the entire process. The question of analysis is not only one of statistics, but also practicality. There are modern services which can handle this process automatically, but that may not always be the best option. Reporting data is also the only reason this all matters, if it’s done ineffectively then the survey is effectively null.
The questions listed here aren’t overly complex, but they take thought and time to perfect. Importantly, they also get easier with time and experience. Surveys are a great tool that only become more powerful with more data and more time. Use these questions and the decisions made as learning experiences moving forward.