Lots of organisations use surveys or questionnaires to collect information about their work. 

But how can you make yours stand out? Here are some top tips for a great survey. 

The most important thing when creating surveys is to work out what information you want to find out. You should do this before you write your questions! If you are clear in your mind about what you’re trying to find out then when you get to writing your survey it’s likely to be clear and to the point.  

Our second top tip is to keep your questions simple and straightforward. One question should be asking one thing so that people know exactly what it is they are being asked. “How would you rate the service, the staff, and the location” is potentially confusing, instead you could separate this into three questions, each asking about one part “How would you rate the service”  

Make sure you don’t use jargon or acronyms that people won’t be aware of like “How many B2BCB classes have you taken in the last month”. This would be better asked as “How many back to basics cookery and baking classes have you taken in the last month” 

Don’t be leading in your questions, for example “How much of a difference did this programme make in your life” … assumes it did make a difference! Instead you could ask “Has this programme impacted your life in any way?” 

Thirdly, think carefully about the survey structure: be brief! No one wants to answer a survey that goes on and on 

Consider using a mixture of closed questions (like yes/no, multiple choice, number scales) which are easy to answer, as well as open ended questions with comments boxes which may provide you with more in-depth information 

Make sure your questions flow in a logical order, so that people answering it are taken on a journey. You could start with easy to answer closed questions, and then move into open questions that require more thought  

Introduce your survey! Make it clear at the beginning what the survey is about, how long it will take, what you will do with the information and why you are asking. Be sure to thank your respondents either at the beginning or the end. 

Finally – putting your survey into action. Take it for a test drive first to check that it works, and make any adjustments if needed. Think about whether you will be carrying out your survey in person, over the phone, online, or maybe a mixture of all three. 

There are plenty of online tools for creating and sending out surveys including Survey Monkey and Google Forms. These also simplify collating all of the results in one place, because it does it automatically.  

For more information

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