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Preliminary Steps: Basic Guide to Designing Online Surveys

Questions to Ask Before You Get Started
Before you get deeply involved in the design of your surveys, it is important to first answer a few initial questions:

1. What is the issue at hand?
This seems like an obvious question, but it is important to have a clear objective. Surveys can be done on a periodic basis, for regular customer or employee satisfaction assessments. They can also be reactionary, or in response to some voiced concern such as declining sales, lower satisfaction levels or increasing employee turnover.

2. What do you want to find out?
Survey administrators utilize surveys to diagnose an identifiable problem or concern. The discoveries from these surveys should directly support strategic or business decision-making.

3. Who you are surveying?
Identifying your participants is crucial, because certain groups may differ in their survey habits than others. For example, paying customers usually have no problem voicing their opinions of a product/service. On the flip-side, an organization’s employees tend to be more reluctant to give critical feedback, especially when the survey is being used to critique management, company policies, etc.

4. How do these individuals feel about taking online surveys?
Some individuals may be more Internet-savvy than others. Survey administrators should keep this in mind before they deploy all of their surveys online. Researchers should spend some time segmenting their survey respondents in terms of how they communicate (via email, phone, regular mail, etc.).

5. How often do you ask these individuals to complete surveys?
It is very common for individuals to become tired of taking surveys. It is important not to survey your respondents too often, or else they may stop taking your surveys for good.