The 6 Effective Parts of How to Write Up a Survey

The 6 Effective Parts of How to Write Up a Survey logo

How to write up a survey is easier and more useful than you think. Given that surveys are one of the easiest passive forms of UX research and that 71.6% of respondents prefer to fill out a survey online rather than by paper or face to face, online surveys are one of the best and easiest forms of getting information from users and finding pain points.

A survey is a way to gather information from a group of people about something, using a series of questions that users or respondents answer. Online surveys are conducted by getting users to go to the survey URL (usually through email or newsletter attachments or links through receipts upon purchase of items or services) and filling it out (usually with a discount, coupon, or gift card as incentive).

How to write up a survey includes:

  • Picking a topic,
  • Deciding the type of Survey,
  • Writing the instructions,
  • Writing the questions,
  • Picking a reward for the users.

Benefits of a survey

There are a few benefits of knowing how to write up a survey.

Research

There are a few benefits for this method of research. First, it is inexpensive; if you write it yourself and use a free hosting service like Google Forms, it’s practically free. You just need to get users to the survey (and actually take it, of course).

Surveys can be conducted anonymously with the user’s personal information kept out of the research study. This is a relief to users since most people like to minimize sending their personal info over the internet. The only issue with this is that it makes it difficult to detect ‘fake’ users or users that don’t fall into the target audience for the survey.

This method is mostly passive so you don’t have to take time out of your or your customer’s day to conduct this research (most people actually like taking surveys at night rather than during the day). Online surveys are remote so users can take them whenever or wherever they want, making it very user friendly.

Magnifying glass over a web page

Surveys also make it easy to collect data for displaying in graphs and charts: “55% of users say…”

Pain points and Opportunities

Conducting surveys will allow customers to let you know about issues in a process. You can find: 

  • Physical pain points, 
  • Emotional turn-offs or frustrations,
  • Potential additions to make products or tools better,
  • New products or services to add to your brand.

How to Write Up a Survey

How to write up a survey is made of five steps.

1. Pick a Topic or Process

Pick a topic or process that users went through or go through that you want to learn more about. This can be anything from how they found the brand to how they feel about the prices of specific products. Make sure you are clear about what you want to know about the topic or process and how much time and money you want to put into developing and running the survey.

red question mark among black question marks

2. Decide the Type of Survey

Some surveys are short and free to run while others are longer and have financial rewards to respondents for finishing them. How long the survey is will decide which way to go. A majority of respondents like a survey to be around 2 minutes long, and most respondents will not finish a  survey if it takes longer than 5 minutes to complete it. Also, start thinking about the types of questions you want to ask since the type will affect the survey’s length and time; are they going to be multiple choice (relatively quick and easy) or fill in the blanks (long and time consuming).

3. Picking a Online Survey Platform

If you’re crafty with code, you can design your own survey on your own site using HTML and CSS. There are videos on YouTube showing how to do just that. If you rather use someone else’s software, there are a few free options to base your survey on.

You can make a basic survey using:

4. Write the Instructions

Many readers will skip the instructions and just jump into the questions; it’s true. But some people will read the instructions and most people lose trust in surveys that don’t have instructions at all. They don’t need to be complicated or long; one long or two normal length sentences will do to describe that this is a survey for ‘x’ brand and that this information will be used for helping the brand improve and further develop.

5. Write the Questions

Consider both the type of question and the number of questions for the survey. 51.3% of users prefer around 10 to 20 questions per survey depending on the difficulty and length of the questions. I generally recommend 10-15 multiple choice questions with a few optional fill in the blank questions to expand upon critical points and issues. Remember that the longer, more difficult, and more invasive the survey is the less likely that users will finish it.

6. Pick a Reward for the Respondents

Lastly, pick a reward to incentivize users to complete the survey. If it is a short and easy survey, it is not necessary to give rewards for finishing it, but realize that you won’t get that much crucial information from that kind of survey. Given that 83.8% of respondents like a cash voucher or gift card as the reward for their survey inputs, these are the most rewarding options to get users to finish the survey; they are also the most expensive. If you prefer cheaper options, try coupons or discounts at your store or shop (this also gives users incentive to buy more of your products).

Summary

A survey is a way to gather information from a group of people about something, using a series of questions that users or respondents answer. Online surveys are conducted by getting users to go to the survey URL (usually through email or newsletter attachments or links through receipts upon purchase of items or services) and filling it out (usually with a discount, coupon, or gift card as incentive).

How to write up a survey includes:

  • Picking a topic,
  • Deciding the type of Survey,
  • Writing the instructions,
  • Writing the questions,
  • Picking a reward for the surveyees.

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