Steps for creating an effective online survey

Keeping in mind the wide availability of the different opportunities to take up online surveys, it is easy to find out and do effective data evaluation through these surveys. It is important to ensure that the survey has been designed carefully in order to yield useful and valuable data.

1)      Preliminary Research: It means to identify what you need from the survey explicitly and also know clearly what you expect or hope to do with that information.

2)      Establish a target for the survey: The survey software requires the researcher to specify and identify the respondents for the survey by entering an email list. There have to be parameters to identify the people that have to be included in the list. The advantage of identifying the target respondents is that you get the foundation for designing the questionnaire with specific needs. A tailored questionnaire targeting the chosen set of appropriate respondents increases the response rate of the survey and gives more valuable data as an outcome.

3)      Frame simple questions in the questionnaire: A generalised requirement for a good questionnaire is the simplicity of the questions. It applies all the more for an online survey as most respondents would not take the effort to read the survey more than once.

4)      Static order of Questions: The order of the questions should be static which means that the questions should appear in the same order for all respondents. It helps to have a controlled result of the survey.  The questionnaire should begin with questions that the respondents found very interesting. Thus an effective survey should slowly transit from most to least personalised questions. Group questions developing a block of questions addressing similar themes is a good idea as it brings back very specific data.

5)      Premium formatting options: most of the survey sites do offer the option of customizing the layout of the survey and formatting. What works best here for online surveys is to present each question on a separate page so as to avoid over whelming response of the respondents looking at the long list of questions. A progress bar though is useful and necessary in that case.

6)      Final test of Survey:  The survey should be tested fir grammatical, linguistic, typographical errors and ti not forget the behavioural perspective to understand the reaction of the respondents to the questions.

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