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Ensure your surveys give enough options

Earlier this week, I answered a brief survey from a Government body – correction, I tried to answer a brief survey but the questions stopped me.

For a series of items, you had the choice of yes (I want to get this) or no (I don’t want to get this).  And you had to answer yes at least one to have your survey accepted.

However, for three of the items I already have them. So my answer is neither yes nor no, leaving me in a quandary about finishing their survey.

I choose to answer no because I didn’t want duplicates but I wonder how much that has skewed their results? And how many other people in my position chose no?

When writing surveys and forms

It is really important to think about your questions from every angle to be sure people can complete your survey/form.

Making your questions easy to answer

I think it’s especially worth thinking about if you have made the answers black or white – can you be sure no one will want to answer grey?

exclude people if options are too few

Assuming only two currencies definitely excludes some people

If you’re asking for a gender, under 18/over 18 or in business/not in business, there is a clear either or response. However, as soon as you have a less concrete option, be careful to include that in your possible responses.

While ‘other’ or ‘unknown’ may seem weak answers, they do at least give people the option of completing your questions without getting stuck or making up answers.

And a ‘both’ or ‘all of the above’ answers give a lot more choice, too.


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