5 Rules that will get you the Market Research You Need
So, you’ve just left your strategy meeting with your colleagues. The topic at hand is market research. You’ve been tasked with conducting research to gather information about your company or client’s consumers— their needs, desires and performances. Deploying a survey [questionnaire] is a great way to get the market research you need.
After designing research surveys and marketing questionnaires, I came up with five rules on structurally designing a survey that will give you the data you’re seeking and reduce your margin of error.
Rule 1: Demographics are key
Whether directly in the beginning of your market survey or directly at the end, be sure to have questions that target demographics — age, race, gender, employment, sexual orientation, etc. All these factors play a huge role in the data you receive and how it correlates to the information you’re looking for.
Because demographics are important, you want to be sure that your questions aren’t misleading and your formatting is correct.
Rule 2: Avoid leading questions or loaded words
Leading questions are used to change the minds of the respondent. They can subtly prompt a respondent to answer the question in a specific way, causing your data to be skewed.
Example of leading question: What are your issues with engagement on social media?
Question without lead: Tell me about your engagement on social media.
The above question leads with the assumption (assumptive principle) that you’re having issues with engagement on social media. The question without the lead gives the respondent the opportunity to think about their engagement on social media— whether it’s good or if there’s room for improvement. A question without a lead helps to create cleaner data.
Rule 3: Never ask two questions in the form of one question.
When asking two questions in the form of one, you create a dichotomous question and create room for error. A respondent may choose an answer for only one part of the question and not the other, yet you apply the answer to both questions. As you build your questionnaire, you want to reduce your margin of error with every question.
Example of dichotomous question: Do you think checking social media in the morning or evening is more successful?
Better question: When is a better time to
Rule 4: Be wary of open-ended questions.
Open-ended questions are a great way to receive free-flowing thoughts from the respondent. They aren’t restricted to choose the answer the questionnaire provides, but rather create their own. Open-ended questions can even provide a different perspective to the topic at hand. However, too many open-ended questions can create unclear data. If you’re asking a question where you need a specific answer, provide the question in a different format (multiple choice, check all that apply, etc.) and use logic to get more ideas based on what they choose.
Rule 5: Watch the formatting of your questions
Now that you understand rules one to four, you’re ready to design your survey.
Bonus: force respondents to answer? Ensure privacy?
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