Survey Methodology: Effective Ways to Test Your Online Surveys!

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Photo Credit:'s aydinynr

Online surveys are relatively easier. At, they are extremely easy. So once a surveyor has finished creating a survey following all the tips and tricks we share on our blog; does he really need to test it before sending over to his respondents? The answer is: Yes, he does.

To some, critical analysis is a daunting task. It requires asking questions and they don’t feel clever enough to ask the right ones. The questioniaphobia may increase the amount of time they need to craft the questionnaire. Such people would check and double-check each question naturally. But what they, and essentially most of the surveyors, tend to overlook is the neutral feedback they need from people they are not targeting as respondents.

They also forget that sometimes, mistakes disappear in the background as they read the text way too many times in their minds or focus on other elements such as the structure and flow of the document. For situations like those, one needs to bring into play different approaches to test his survey.

Following are the most potent methods to evaluate your survey’s efficiency. We suggest that you follow them step-by-step.

1. Plan Out For Testing And Improvement

Your survey schedule may be overloaded with multitasking but as we have discussed, it is imperative to find time for trial and fixing of errors. After making changes, you will need to test again to see if you have improved it enough for the desired results. Since testing itself is a lengthy process, we advise you to start as soon as you are done creating the questionnaire. Even before adding the logic questions which we’ll discuss in the next point. Time is of the essence in business but timely testing saves you tons of trouble in the long run.

2. Test Before And After Adding Logic

Initial testing is best right after creating the basic questions; i.e. before attaching logic to them. Even if you test after adding them, you would have to make further changes later on which only waste more time. Besides, it is convenient to move questions and sections around before adding logic to them. Once the primary questions have been tested thoroughly, you can add logic and test gain.

3. Test On Different Browsers

You may guess which browser your respondents would use if you target a particular sample of people, but you can never be too sure. Instead of making guesses or just trying the survey on your favorite browsers, test it on as many as you can. Your survey should be compatible to all the major browsers, at least, such as, Internet Explorer, Chrome, Firefox, etc. Most of the surveys are now attempted through a mobile device; therefore, it is highly important to make your surveys responsive. You can even create free online surveys from mobile.

4. Find Neutral Audience To Take Your Test

Like we said earlier, it is always a good idea to test your survey by asking random people to attempt it. Those people need not be included in your target audience. They can be your friends, colleagues or family members, but they would give you a good feedback on the craft and convenience of taking your survey. For example, you can count on your friends to give you concrete advice on how to improve your wording or syntax of the questions. They can also pinpoint any issues that might occur while taking it on various browsers or on their phones.

5. Engage The Stakeholders To Attempt The Survey

By the time you decide upon each of your questions, test on random audience, add logic, etc. your stakeholders would be impatiently waiting for the survey to reach their actual audience. It is then the perfect time to contact them and ask them to attempt the survey, just to see that the final product is exactly what you all had expected.

As the stakeholders would have various things on their mind, you are better off sending the survey with a reminder of goals and the targeted results. If they suggest more questions, only include those which are in-line with your survey objectives.

6. Check Usability Of Results

So now that you are done with adding questions and contacting people for feedback, it’s time for the ultimate test – i.e. checking the usability of survey results – before the final show down. It’s true that you and your stakeholders would know what you want to ask, but most of the times, that’s not enough. You need to be sure that your queries would produce an outcome that will lead to actionable results. You need to check how the data will look in reports. If it’s unusually hard to analyze, you need to revise your phrasing or diction or take whatever measures necessary to make it simple.

By running a test data, you can see what things need to be included or excluded to acquire the perfect survey report.

7. Use A Sample Of Real Respondents For A Final Review

This step is optional. Once you have carefully followed all of the tips mentioned above, you may decide to simply send out the survey to the entire target audience. But, if you are looking for absolute satisfaction before you can reap the benefits of your hard work; you are better off taking one final step to ensure its – or rather yours – success. Take a sample of your real respondents and first try the survey on them only. This will help you achieve actual responses and make sure that the received data looks exactly like you expected. If there are no major changes or issues, you can use this data along with the rest later on.


Survey methodology helps you develop the most effective surveys you can possibly think of. There are various strategies to ensure the success of your surveys. Sure the content needs to be unique, but the drill remains the same. All surveys need to be tested before they are disseminated among respondents.

Do you use any of the strategies discussed in this article to test your online surveys? Which of these steps do you find more advantageous and what can you add to this procedure from your own experience? Tell us your story in the comments.

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.