Friday, July 3, 2009

How to Make Sure your Surveys are More than a Waste of Paper

There's a great article on Ragan that raises some important questions about survey writing. One example they give shows how to think about the end results you want out of a survey before distributing it.

"A popular question on readership surveys goes something like this: 'How much of the employee magazine do you read? All / Most / Some / None.' One problem with this question is that it would yield data of limited value. What if you learned that 60 percent of employees read “most” of the publication? Does reading “most” of the publication help them in their work? And what parts of the publication do they read? Even if you knew what parts they read, how would that help you improve the parts they don’t read?"

Instead, they recommend to ask more specific questions that yield results you can actually use to evaluate. "A better question would be: 'From the list below, select the publication features you find most relevant to your everyday work.' A list would help you pinpoint what people read, and the phrasing of the question asks them to rate the relevance of the features in the specific context of their everyday work."

For more tips on survey writing, click here to read the article "Ask the right questions to get useful survey data."

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