Tips: online surveys

Online surveys can be a great way of doing research, but sometimes their implementation is poor.  If you want to avoid some of the common pitfalls, here are some simple tips:

  • If the survey is by email invitation, explain how you have their email address and why they are being asked to do the survey

  • Have profiling/screening questions to ensure that only the right people complete the survey (this is especially important if you’re using a third-party email database)

  • Have a progress bar, or some way that the respondent can see how much longer the survey will take

  • For ‘closed-ended’ questions, include an ‘Other’ option and allow people type in their answer.  Also include a “don’t know/ no opinion” option.

  • Allow people write their own comments (they will give you good insights)

  • Using relevant images and graphics can make the survey look more professional, and more enjoyable for the respondent