Every good idea should be supported by extensive research. Businesses can’t afford to go to market with a new product that hasn’t been properly researched. If you’re unconvinced, let us remind you of “new Coke”, which was launched in 1985 after Coca-Cola lost market share to their rival, Pepsi. Coke’s decision to alter their traditional recipe resulted in major outcry from consumers, who inundated the company’s call centers with more than 400,000 complaints. Coca-Cola apologized and took “new Coke” off the market, returning to their tried and true recipe, to the relief of their customers. Where did they go wrong? While they did test the new formula on 200,000 subjects, they tested on taste alone, disregarding the fact that consumers make purchasing decisions based on habit, nostalgia, and loyalty as well.
The only thing worse than no data is bad data, because bad data will lead to bad business decisions. We’ve compiled a list of 5 best practices to improve the data quality of your research.
Keep it short and sweet. Goldfish have an attention span of 9 seconds; adult humans have an attention span of 12 seconds. The order of the questions and the time it takes to fill out will play a vital role in the respondent’s answers. Ask the harder questions at the beginning of the survey, and limit open-ended questions, which require more effort to answer. Make sure each question is designed to get you relevant information, so you’re not wasting your respondents’ time.
Have a clear purpose. Before conducting a survey, establish a clear objective. What are you hoping to learn from this research? Do you have a clear objective, target, and the right methodology? Test, test, and test again before deploying your survey to ensure you didn’t lose sight of your objective.
Allow for “not applicable” and “prefer not to answer” where appropriate. 31% of people say they give an inaccurate answer to a survey question because the question doesn’t apply to them. By always giving respondents an option to choose “not applicable”, “other”, or “prefer not to answer”, you can control the quality of your data.
Make it user-friendly. By making the survey accessible both online and via mobile, the respondent rate increases greatly. Put yourself in the respondents’ shoes, and think about what would help you while completing a survey. Ensuring respondents have enough room to easily read and answer your questions, keeping header labels that define sections in view, and making the touch points as large as possible will create a better user experience for the respondent.
Avoid bias. Question bias, or a leading question, is when the design of a question or the way it’s asked leads respondents to answer one way or another. For example, the wording in the following question is leading the respondent: “Do you agree that the iPhone is the best smartphone on the market?” You may not even be aware that you have worded a question for a particular answer, which is why you should always have someone else review your survey with a fresh set of eyes.
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