Collecting Quality Data | MDRG

Collecting Quality Data

Justin Loehn

Quantitative Research Analyst

Collecting data can be easy, given you are using a panel that can supply the respondents you need. But, collecting purely valuable data can prove to be more of a challenge. Most survey respondents are motivated by the reward; some respondents spend all day taking dozens of surveys to make money, others take surveys to access downloadable content for mobile games. The issue we face as researchers is engaging rewards-driven respondents enough to provide genuine feedback. Often times, we find at least 10-15% of respondents speeding or flatlining through a survey, leaving us with data that can be less than desirable. After designing hundreds of surveys, we developed survey best practices that are more successful at engaging respondents to provide valuable feedback. The key to engaging respondents to provide genuine feedback is in the format and methodology of the survey design.

The following are four tips for an engaging survey design:

    1) Short survey length

    Everyone’s time is precious, including your respondents’, so don’t waste time with unnecessary questions.
    Our rule of thumb when writing surveys is to keep the length around 10 minutes. If you decide to write a survey any longer than 10 minutes, you might start to realize some inconsistent or incomprehensible feedback caused by respondent fatigue. Make sure you have the questions that you need and do away with those that are not pertinent to your research goals. Be considerate of your respondents’ time and mental stamina and you will begin to see more valuable results.

    2) Comprehensible questions

    Make all questions clear and easy for the respondent to determine what you want answered.
    Overwhelming respondents with ambiguity will cause respondents to leave inconsistent feedback. Their responses are often reflective of their comprehension and purpose of the question. Respondents like to know how their input makes a difference, so clear and direct questioning will result in clear and consistent answers.

    3) Engage respondents with entertaining questions

    Gamify methodologies and implement visual exercises to break up the arduous task of survey taking.
    Make completing surveys less arduous by incorporating more game-like and visual elements to make providing information feel more like a fun and entertaining way to share input and less like an interrogation. Utilizing System 1 methodologies, such as Metaphor Elicitation, are often successful at making studies more entertaining for respondents. Keep in mind, your survey design should avoid gimmicky questions and be clear and concise with your line of questioning.

    4) Make surveys relatable

    Format surveys to use scenarios that are easily relatable for respondents.
    If your survey happens to be on a topic that respondents can genuinely get excited about, then you should have no problems collecting high-quality data. Unfortunately, not all survey topics can be captivating enough to engage all participating respondents. In that case, writing questions with scenarios that best reflect the customer experience can make questions relatable and easier for the respondent to answer.

    In Conclusion… Short, unambiguous, entertaining, and relatable survey designs will generate higher quality data.

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