The Five Finger Rule for Surveying

Zoho Survey | March 16, 2017 | 2 min read

World-famous psychologist and physician, George W. Crane once said, “language is the apparel in which your thoughts parade before the public”. So, when you frame questions that express your thoughts in a survey, you have to proceed with caution. An unclear question will not only give you poor results but could present an obstacle in getting the customer feedback you’re counting on. In addition, your customers could take offense to a poorly worded question, and your potential customers could just remain visitors. To make them feel special and wanted, you need to first empathize with them. When you know what they want, you will write better questions. Remember that, a good survey question has the power to make a lot of conversions happen. The following tips will help you in this task.

1. Ask gender-neutral questions. It is a good practice to be inclusive and treat all genders with equal importance. Be gender-neutral and write your questions wisely, considering all your audiences in mind.

Bad example

Have men descended from monkeys?

  • Yes
  • No
  • Not sure

Good example

Have human beings descended from monkeys?

  • Yes
  • No
  • Not sure

 

2. Don’t rely on jargon. Use it where appropriate.

Always remember to use simple, direct language. Depending on your audience, product or industry, jargon can make your language precise and credible. But it’s not suitable for every survey because not every customer can relate to it.

Bad example

Do you own a CintiQ?

  • Yes
  • No

Good example

Do you own a graphics tablet? (For example, a CintiQ.)

  • Yes
  • No

 

3. State the goal(s) of your questionnaire at the beginning.

Before your customers take your survey, they want to know what it’s all about, and what your objective is. Stating the goal of your questionnaire at the beginning makes your goal immediately clear to the customer. Plus, you will have a clear idea of what questions you need to ask. Not only does explicitly defining your goal help you write good questions, but it also helps customers know what you intend to ask them.

 

4. Do not force your respondents to answer.

Respect your respondents’ privacy and let them decide whether to answer a particular question or not. Avoid questions that intrude into their personal life, family, or religious beliefs.

 

5. Do not ask long and leading questions.

Long questions can easily bore your respondents, cause them to lose interest, and half-finish your survey. Leading questions subtly direct respondents to respond the way you want them to. This would definitely compromise your survey results, which in turn would affect your business decisions.

Bad example

Don’t you think Zoho Survey is the best survey building tool?

  • Yes
  • No

Good example

Which among the following do you think is the best online survey building tool?

  • Zoho Survey
  • SurveyMonkey
  • SurveyGizmo
  • Qualtrics
  • Others

So, there you go! You are now equipped to build an outstanding survey. But Zoho Survey is here if you’d like a little backup. With 200 templates, Zoho Survey makes survey building easy for everyone, no matter how diverse your audience is. Voilà, you know what to do next!

Try Zoho Survey today