Does Survey Length Matter for a Successful Survey?

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The right survey length is a sort of an enigma which various surveyors tackle in their own style. The standard length is as much as you deem appropriate, yet, most of us are always asking about the perfect questionnaire that will not put off the participant instantly or in the middle because of its size. Long story short, there is no perfect survey length that you can implement equally on all of the surveys.

It is necessary to determine the type of reports you are trying to target so that the expected data and the ways to collect it can be evaluated as well. Each type of data is acquired through a unique set of questions. If the number of these questions is insufficient to undertake a commendable research or excessive to make matters worse, then there is not going to be enough valid data for your study and hence, limited or no improvement either. Therefore, it is imperative to set the length for each survey as per the targeted report or data.

Certain categories of surveys are expected to have certain number of questions, such as, 10 to 30 for customer satisfaction or 65 or 80 for employee satisfaction survey. But questions can be added or subtracted to suit individual needs wherever required. This is how you perfect the survey length in order to create a successful survey.

Failing to do that may result in the respondent’s:

  • Rushing and skipping questions
  • Providing invalid information
  • Avoiding the survey altogether
  • Reporting your invitation as spam
  • Asking to be removed from the mailing list.

How can you ensure participation?

There are several ways you can do that. You can maximize the response rate by practicing these strategies:

• Be Clear About the time Estimation

Before you ask people to respond, please understand that they have other commitments to fulfill as well. You can’t just steer them away from their work to attempt your survey or give you accurate feedback without any measure of time consumption. Always pretest the survey and calculate the overall time it takes to answer the whole survey not based on the number of questions or pages. A survey with fewer questions might employ more time than another survey with more questions of yes and no type.

Always mention this assessment of time estimation in your invitation so that the participant would know whether he has enough time or not.

• Stop Making Tedious Surveys For Panel Sample Groups

Sometimes, companies have to rely on panel groups to gain timely responses. These respondents earn a living by filling out surveys. Just because they are bound to fill your survey doesn’t mean you can throw any sort of boring, long, and useless questionnaire their way. And believe it or not, many surveyors do that without even feeling guilty about it.

This attitude typically brings out the tendency in the respondent group to just skim through the questions and attempting the bare minimum to get it over with. Usually they would just click on answers without even reading them, seriously damaging the integrity of your research. This could be avoided by keeping the time limit strictly within 15-20 minutes just like you would in a survey conducted from the general masses.

• Provide Variety of Questions

Too many text boxes in your survey mean that your respondents will have to spend more time creating individual responses. Try to offer them a variety of questions with ready-made answers or ratings. As much as the question length and relevance is important, so is having a variety of question type in the survey. You can also try the Logic option. Multiple choice answers and drop down lists are great to secure more and more responses from your survey-takers.

Tell us what more can be done to secure a valid data for your research? Do you agree that the length of a survey should vary depending on the survey type? Do leave your thoughts in the comments below.

About The Author

Kelvin Stiles is a tech enthusiast and works as a marketing consultant at SurveyCrest – FREE online survey software and publishing tools for academic and business use. He is also an avid blogger and a comic book fanatic.