12 tips for designing very good surveys

A very good survey produces high-quality data. It is clear and easy to complete. It evokes the truth.

Check these tips on how to design a very good survey.

Set goals beforehand

What do you want to learn from your people? Each survey question should contribute to achieving the primary goal.

Explain the purpose of the survey

Do it before a person clicks on the link. Repeat it on the intro (first page) of the questionnaire.

Use very clear language

Keep questions simple, direct, and without jargon.

Avoid Yes/No questions

FACT: Most things are more complex than Yes or No.

Make the questions closed-ended

FACT: Surveys are not the best method for collecting qualitative data.

Avoid leading questions

Leading (bad): “We just launched our awesome app. How much do you like it?”
Neutral (good): “What do you think about our new app?”

Give balanced options

Unbalanced (bad):

  • Strongly agree
  • Agree
  • Somewhat agree
  • Slightly agree
  • Disagree

Balanced (good):

  • Strongly agree
  • Agree
  • Neutral
  • Disagree
  • Strongly disagree

Don’t ask two questions in one

Two in one (bad): “How would you rate our website and app?”
Instead, ask separately: “How would you rate our website?”, “How would you rate our app?”

Arrange questions thoughtfully

Start with general questions. Continue with more specific questions. Leave sensitive questions for the end.

Use survey logic (branching)

Survey logic lets you show questions based on previous answers. It ensures that each person only sees questions relevant to them.

Make questions optional

Only make questions mandatory when absolutely necessary. You can include a mandatory branching question at the beginning of the survey.

Do a pilot test

Testing a survey before launch will help you identify potential problems and fix the survey to ensure it records high-quality data and is easy to use.

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Arnas Aleksandravičius on LinkedIn