10 Tips For Designing An Online Questionnaire

Philip Cleave
May 20, 2013

Creating a top-notch online questionnaire that will deliver the expected results is certainly not easy. Designing an online questionnaire is a time-effective and cost-effective way to collect opinions and feedback from consumers – the more detailed and accurate the online questionnaire, the better. Marketing and advertising agencies rely heavily on these questionnaires, and they help them gather precious, unbiased information that will not only increase productivity, but will also be of great help during future marketing campaigns. Here are 10 tips for designing an online questionnaire:

Keep it short and simple

Long and complex questionnaires are certainly the most efficient in terms of data collection but by designing such a questionnaire, you risk to bore the person in question who will give fast and inaccurate results just to get it over and done with. Complex surveys will result in respondent fatigue, so the perfect online questionnaire should not take longer than 10 minutes for the respondent to complete.

Avoid using just closed questions

Closed questions (where the respondent can reply either with a pre-defined answer) are short and concise, but why limit the potential of your questionnaire to dull responses when you can actually squeeze out more information?

One question at a time

One of the most common mistakes made by people when designing an online questionnaire is that they ask two, three or even more questions at the same time, which makes it extremely difficult for the survey taker to remember each one of them. Avoid questions that are difficult to recall!

Unbiased questions work like magic

Biased questions or questions where the answer is already embedded in the query tend to irritate the respondent, who can refuse to answer that particular question. Having said that, it is important to avoid leading or biased questions – allow the respondent to provide his or her own opinion in an accurate and honest point of view, without influencing them in any way.

Avoid ambiguity

Never ask questions that can be easily misinterpreted, as this ambiguity can lead to answers that are totally out of context. Focus on the response you are looking for and create simple, clear questions that leave no room for misinterpretation.

Never forget the purpose of your online questionnaire

While some questionnaires aim to collect information and feedback about a particular service or product, others are aimed at people who want to express themselves, suggest improvements or to come up with new ideas. What is the goal of your questionnaire; what do you hope to achieve with it? How will you use the collected information and how do you hope the results will affect the company/product/service in question?

Opt for rating scale questions

In a nutshell, rating scale questions refer to the “On a scale from one to five” type of single answer questions that are usually used to rate a product or a service. If you plan to use them, make sure to stay consistent throughout your questionnaire and never change the number of points on the rating scale, otherwise you risk confusing the respondent.

Ask for a second opinion

It is highly recommended to get a second opinion regarding your online questionnaire prior to launching it. Avoid asking friends or family, unless you know they can offer unbiased, objective feedback. For the best results, it is highly recommended to pre-test the questionnaire with several members of the target audience.

Always put yourself In the mindset of the respondent

Put yourself in the shoes of your respondent and try to be objective when answering the questions. Is there something you dislike about a certain question, or you feel that it does not cover a specific point that must be mentioned? Try to be your best critic.

Consider rewards

Last, but not least, keep in mind that perhaps one person out of 10 is willing to sacrifice 10 minutes of their time to answer your questionnaire, so giving them an incentive is certainly a great idea. A sample, a freebie or something that will motivate them to answer your questions (and to give honest, accurate and complete answers, not some fast replies that hardly have any value) will certainly help!

In conclusion, these 10 useful tips will help you make an outstanding online questionnaire design. No matter if you have experience in the field, or you are a beginner who’s trying to design a complete, accurate and up-to-date questionnaire, these hints and advice will undoubtedly come in handy!


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