How to frame survey questions that the audience will actually answer

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Posted by: Aishwarya Bhatia
Category: Survey
How to frame survey questions that the audience will actually answer

Evidence-based policymaking requires robust databases that help policymakers approach welfare empirically and logically. Analyzing the data collection process will show just how important survey questions become. While we understand that forming precise and succinct questionnaires may seem like the only key to getting reliable data, other factors affect respondents’ answers and how they react to the interviewer.  

  • Environment is key 

For an interviewee to be comfortable and amenable to giving responses, their time and space need to be respected. Interviewers should visit/call to set up an appointment in advance, ensuring the respondent’s availability to participate in the survey. 

  • Use of accessible language in the questionnaire  

The survey tools must be customized according to the language most accessible to the respondent. The interviewer must also communicate with the respondent in the said language, making the communication process easier and more effective. 

  • Concise and precise questionnaires lead to high-quality data  

In the case of shorter surveys, the questionnaire must not exceed 15-20 pages and must be presented as clearly as possible. In the case of longer questionnaires, breaks and pauses must be incorporated within the survey to avoid getting fatigued responses which can affect the reliability of the data. 

  • Building a rapport with the interviewee invites trust 

By communicating the purpose of the study effectively and making the respondent as comfortable as possible, the interviewer creates a trustworthy space and makes the respondent part of the process. 

  • Questions must be framed from the lens of the respondent 

It is possible for researchers to lose objectivity and present questions in a way that might not be clear to the respondent, thereby affecting the quality of the data. Therefore, questions must be created from the lens of the respondent in easy, effective, and accessible ways. 

  • Incentivizing the purpose of the survey can lead to more involved responses  

Since data collected from surveys can be used to formulate welfare schemes for many communities, communicating the purpose of the study can be used as an incentive to invite active participation in the survey, making the respondent a part of something bigger and more meaningful!  

Aishwarya Bhatia, Sambodhi

Author: Aishwarya Bhatia