The team my son supports were playing a soccer match on TV – and he wanted to see it.
But he didn’t know what channel it was on.
He’s a kid – so if he wants information he goes about getting it in the easiest way possible. (There’s a lesson there for us all!)
Anyway, maybe the TV Guide (newspaper supplement) was missing – it’s a not uncommon experience in our house! Maybe he wasn’t well versed in accessing online TV guides. Maybe he was just being lazy!
Whatever the reason, he asked me a question:
“Dad – is the game on RTE 2 or 1?”
It was obvious what he was asking. He wasn’t asking a yes/no question. He was confident the match was on one of those 2 channels and he just wanted to know which one.
But his question illustrates an important point about questionnaire design. You want to make questions as easy as possible for people to answer. And that includes avoiding any ambiguity. The proper aim is to never have any respondent confused about what a question means or how it should be answered.
So yeah – brevity is a laudable goal. But whatever number of questions you ask – 1 or 100 – make all of them easy to answer. Because everyone, including you, me and all your potential respondents, wants less hassle in life.
Besides being nice to your respondents, it’s also more directly in your own rational self-interest to make your questions easy to answer. You’ll get more accurate answers and avoid making decisions based on questionable data. You’ll also quite possibly get more people to complete the survey as they won’t have confusion as a reason to bail out early. The more answers – the more accurate the results.
If you’re ever crazy enough to want to design your own survey without my help, then all hope is not lost. Before you launch your survey, have me review it.
Take a read here for more detail on my 100% guaranteed survey review service.