Testing 1…2…3: Quality Assurance in Launching a Survey
An important consideration when conducting quantitative research is ensuring that you reduce the occurrence of errors as much as possible. Establishing processes to reduce errors in the methodology and ensuring high quality responses will help guarantee that a survey’s results represent the proper target audience for the given study. Neglecting to reduce errors or check for poor performing respondents can leave you with a spreadsheet of useless responses in need of replacement. Even worse, moving forward with your inaccurate results can leave you with the wrong impression about your audience, leading to wasted marketing dollars.
In addition to accounting for error when planning your study, error can be further reduced by checking technicalities within the survey throughout the survey’s lifespan. Here are some tips on what to keep an eye on when launching a survey:
Test Your Survey Internally
Before sending your survey out into the world, take it yourself. Ask your colleagues to take it too! Make sure that all of the programming within the survey is working correctly. Test multiple times with various combinations of responses. If a question is meant to reject unqualified respondents, test each answer to ensure that only the proper responses are let through to the next stage. Testing your survey will help reduce technical glitches and programming errors in advance of your launch.
Soft-Launch Your Survey
Gather a small portion of respondents before fully launching your survey. Take the sample and sort through their responses. Are unqualified respondents successfully completing the survey? Are qualifying respondents being prematurely ejected from the study? If you answer “yes” to either of these questions, it may be a sign that you should adjust the programming or targeting settings of your survey. Conducting a soft launch is a great way to catch these issues early, before too many responses fall through these cracks.
Check Your Responses Regularly
Throughout the time that your survey is live, sort through new responses and remove bad-quality responses. Look for signs that the respondent may have rushed through the survey without fully paying attention. Perhaps they gave short and repetitive answers to open ended questions. Maybe they gave the same rating to every question in a Likert scale. Whatever the reason may be, it is best to remove these respondents and find someone else to complete the survey so that your results are as accurate as possible. Doing this in small batches throughout the survey’s lifespan can help you save time. This can also help you avoid thinking you have reached your goal and closing the survey before suddenly needing to replace a large chunk of bad respondents.
Whether you are conducting research for yourself or for a client, you want to make sure that end results are as representative of your target population as humanly possible. Checking for quality and error at all stages will not only help you achieve this goal but will ensure that you do so in a timely and efficient manner. Keep these testing tips in mind the next time you launch a survey. Good luck!
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