Creating surveys is the easiest way to gain valuable information about products or brands. Unfortunately, there are several problems that might arise which can render the answers less accurate. Before you open your survey for participation, make sure you can capture higher-quality responses.

1. Make Sure Your Answers Fit The Questions

One of the biggest mistakes on surveys is the answer choices or type of answers available do not always fit the question. Without meaningful answer choices, you can never assume the answers are accurate. For example, one of your questions might ask the participant whether they rent or own their residence. At a minimum, there should be a third option to include "neither." There are will be a number of people who do not fall neatly into the rent or own category. Even worse can be a situation where a question is best answered as open-ended. Limiting participants to a few answer choices rarely capture the true answer. Open-ended options can give participants the opportunity to explain their choices or offer new ones.

2. Limit The Likert Scale

Likert scales are frequently used in surveys because they are easy for participants to select their level of agreement or disagreement about a product or statement. Try to reserve Likert scales for questions that are not well-suited for other types of responses, such as open-ended or multiple-choice. One problem with the Likert scale is not the scale itself, but the way people generally answer.

Participants generally answer on one extreme or another, with little thought toward answer choices in the middle of the scale. It is rarely a reflection of their strong like or dislike of a product or statement, it is just easier. This means your data is generally not a true representation of the thoughts of participants, which can make interpreting results problematic. Although it can take more time to analyze results from open-ended questions, you can simply toss data out that is gibberish.

3. Include Better Honesty Checks

Most surveys include one or more questions that are used to determine if a participant is thoroughly reading the questions and/or being honest. This can save researchers time because the survey can automatically end if a participant is not paying attention to the survey. One problem with this approach, especially if you conduct surveys online, is people who participate in many surveys already expect these questions.

Many online surveys contain the same "check" questions for various companies. When participants answer these questions, they are not always paying attention, but are so accustomed to the question they automatically know the appropriate answers. Frequently incorporate new questions to keep participants on their toes. This way, participants who actually read the survey are rewarded for their time and fewer people make it through the survey with little or no effort.

Constructing a good survey takes time, but the more effort you put into your survey, the more likely you will receive accurate answers. Contact a company like Murray Hill National for more information and assistance.