6 Things to Watch Out for When Writing A Survey
26 Feb 2019

Writing a survey can be tricky. The way in which you phrase a survey question can influence your data. If you write the questionnaire wrong, your data will end up being skewed. A poorly phrased question or too can turn into a real problem for your results. In order to avoid biasing your research, watch out for the following common missteps:

1. Be clear.

It is very important that a survey is written in a clear and concise manner. Uncomplicated language should be used in a survey to avoid confusing respondents. Avoid technical terms and jargon, instead, make questions as easily understood as possible. It is important to provide adequate definitions and examples where needed throughout your survey.

2. Keep the survey accurate.

A common pitfall on in survey writing can be as simple as asking a question about the respondent’s age. If asking respondents their age and categorizing it, make sure you correctly group the ages. For example, 25-30 and 30-35, this will confuse respondents who are 30 years old as they will not know which group to select and it will also hinder analysis.

3. Ensure your questions are not leading.

Leading questions may influence responses by containing wording that may have an effect on respondents. These questions can work their way into your survey without you realizing as they are hard to catch. For example, asking “how expensive is this product?” will immediately lead the respondent to believe that the product is costly. The survey should aim to be unbiased and ask, “what is the price of the product?”.

4. Avoid loaded questions.

A loaded question in survey writing can force a respondent to answer a question without it reflecting their option or situation. For example, instead of asking “do you enjoy watching sports?”, yes or no. Ask “do you watch sports?” and then ask those who do watch sports, “what is your favorite sport to watch?”. The respondent might have never watched sports before and therefore not know the answer to the previous question. Asking the question in this way will provide much more accurate, detailed data which will be easier to analyze.

5. Refrain from incorporating double-barreled questions.

It is impossible to collect precise data from a double-barreled question. An example of a double-barreled question is asking if a concept is interesting and effective. This does not give respondents the option to give an answer to both questions. They may find the concept interesting but not effective but have no way of responding with the correct information.

6. Do not ask questions in absolute terms.

Absolute questions are questions that force a respondent to give an absolute answer. These questions are not flexible. Respondents cannot provide useful information if they answer an absolute. An example of an absolute question would be “Do you play sports? yes or no. With this question, someone who plays sports twice a year has to answer yes along with the people who play sports everyday. In order to get a more detailed answer and provide clearer data for the researcher, ask the respondent how many times a week/month they play sports.  

Although these errors seem obvious, it is very common for them to appear in surveys. It is essential to keep these six common missteps in mind when writing your survey.

The main goal of every survey is to collect useful information that is both accurate and easy to analyze, however, if one of these mistakes makes its way into your survey it could bias or damage your data and make it impossible to interpret. It’s vital to your results to follow these rules. Just a little question bias could ruin the survey responses and turn your results into a nightmare. Don’t let it happen by following these easy steps.

Want to Learn More About Market Research? Here are some blog posts to check out!

  1. What Questions Should You Ask a Market Research Company
  2.  Types Of Market Research Every Advertiser Should Know
  3. What is Advertising Research?
  4. Why Primary Research is Necessary When Launching a Brand

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Virtual Reality & Qualitative Research: Fad or Here to Stay? 
18 Feb 2019

Written by: Pallavi Kalla 

Virtual Reality (VR) in the past was something of a whimsical idea, only thought to exist in Sci-Fi movies. However, today, virtual reality has started to become more accessible in the real world. Companies are implementing virtual reality in new creative ways, now more than ever.

Merrell, an outdoor footwear & apparel company, came up with a creative approach to implement virtual reality. The brand held a VR exhibition, in which they had people wear Oculus Rift headsets and walk along what Merrell called their Merrell Trailscape. People were put in a VR landscape of mountains and boulders, simulating a rigorous hiking experience with crumbling ledges and rickety wooden bridges, to help promote the company’s shoes. This experiment was Merrell’s first time using “walking around” virtual reality, which proved to be very intriguing for their audience.[1]

Other innovative methods that brands have employed the use of virtual reality: Six Flags debuted its first VR rollercoaster, in which riders wear Samsung Gear VR headsets on virtual fighter jets, offering consumers a unique experience.[2]

Marketing teams are not only utilizing virtual reality, but researchers have also found the technology as a new tool for qualitative research. Though focus groups are beneficial, we are just collecting information as the participants are sitting in the facility room. This is where VR comes into play, virtual reality can be used to understand the way customers behave when surrounded by the stimulus rather than just talking about it. The new technology allows participants it interact and respond to stimuli in a whole new light

Ethnographic research is another way that virtual reality has impacted market research. Ethnographic research is often costly, timely, and can feel intrusive to participants – as groups are typically conducted at a participant’s home or when they are shopping at a store. VR eliminates these barriers having the people interact in a virtual home or buy through a virtual store with a VR headset, and this way researchers can be capturing the person’s experience and insights in real time. Virtual reality will help researchers understand the consumer journey better without actually having the shopper gong to the physical store.

Though virtual reality is still in the early stages, it looks like it is here to stay. Regarded as a useful market research device, with its endless new imaginative concept’s companies can create. VR has not only advanced and upped the way companies promote products but has helped market researchers in progressive and forward thinking when conducting qualitative research.

[1]“Merrell Thrills and Frightens People with a Crazy Oculus Rift Mountainside Hike,” Adweek. February 2015. www.adweek.com/creativity/merrell-thrills-and-frightens-people-crazy-oculus-rift-mountainside-hike-162831/.

[2]“20 Innovative Ways Companies Are Using Virtual Reality,” Inc.com. October 2016. www.inc.com/ryan-jenkins/20-innovative-ways-companies-are-using-virtual-reality.html.