Guide to Best Practices When Creating a Survey
Posted by Melinda Barnsley, Last modified by Melinda Barnsley on 03 January 2020 11:17 AM

Preparing Your Survey

Guiding Questions:

  • What do you want to know?
  • Why do you want to know it?
  • What do you plan to do with the information once you collect it?

Clear Research Questions and Purpose:

  • Survey should collect good data - do not collect data just because it is interesting
  • Survey should not burden participants
  • Verify if the data is already available somewhere else
  • Would a focus group or interviews be a better way of obtaining data

Designing Your Survey

Fixed-Choice Questions:


  • Easier data collection and analysis
  • Best approach for large populations
  • Various ways to ask questions


  • Not necessarily the participant's actual¬†thoughts or feelings

Open-Ended Questions:


  • Obtain participants honest responses
  • Complete and interesting data


  • Participants maybe reluctant to take because more effort is needed
  • Analysis is more difficult because of irrelevant responses and match each participants thoughts into a category

Good Questions:

  • Proper English
  • Clear, short prompts
  • Avoid asking two questions in one question

Visual Ease:

  • Use "Preview Survey" to test multiple devices
  • List answers down not across
  • Limit what you place on each page - too much can be distracting
  • Use the "Look and Feel" to customize the survey
  • Keep it simple

Implementing Your Survey

Questions to Answer First:

  • What is your audience (population)?
  • Do you require to send to all or just a sample of the audience?

Sending your Survey:

  • Use an anonymous link
    • Good for sensitive topics
    • Could result in duplicated data
  • Survey panel
    • Can easily track responses

Concerns of data security

    • Combined approach
      • Use "Survey Flow" to add "End of Survey" element

    Tracking Your Response Rates

    What is your expected response rate:

    • Depends on the survey and the audience you targeted
    • Usually 20-35% for a 10 minute survey is average

    How to increase your response rate:

    • Incentives increase response rates but it depends upon your audience and budget
    • Be creative with your incentives - it doesn't have to be expensive
    • Reminders work because participation drops off after a few days. Bring it to the front line again

    Taking Down Your Data

    • Deactivate your survey
    • Download data

    Reporting Your Results

    Best if your data is

    • Simple and straightforward
    • Clean data - no tinkering with the original data
    • Requires only simple reporting

    You can always go to Qualtric's centralized website to meet any additional academic support needs. 

    (0 vote(s))
    Not helpful