The best way to do market research will always be surveys and interviews. The problem is that most people never take a class on how to do either. Surveys are your low-cost way to reach a large sample group, and this post will cover Dium's top 3 tips for creating surveys.
1. No Leading Questions
Creating a survey is usually seen as a quick and easy activity, but crafting an effective survey is deceptively difficult. One common mistake that surveyors make is asking leading questions. Leading questions are questions that prompt or encourage the desired answer. These questions lead to confirmation bias or other biases, meaning you won't get an honest response.
See if you can spot the difference between the questions "How fast was the red car going when it smashed into the blue car?" VS "How fast was each car going when the accident happened?"
The first question implies that the red car was at fault, and the word "smashed" implies a high speed. The second question does not assign any blame or pre-judgment. (Media College)
There are many ways that make a question leading, but a quick test is to tell someone your question and ask if they can guess the answer you want to hear. If they can guess what answer you want, the question is leading.
2. Make Sure Your Intent is Clear
Another common mistake we see is surveyors not putting themselves in the shoes of the people they are surveying. You have to remember that not everyone uses the same vocabulary or phrases that you use. In fact, they might use the same vocabulary and phrases, but for different things. This can cause confusion in the intent of your questions and invalidate the responses.
To make sure your intent is clear, Dium recommends cognitive interviewing. Cognitive interviewing is the process of going through your questions and answers with someone to understand how they are interpreting them and how they choose their answers. In other words, it lets you see if your intent is aligned with the way others interpret your questions and answers.
3. Know Why You are Asking a Question
Every question in a survey is asking someone to give their time and energy to help you. You want to maximize their efforts by understanding why you are asking a question and what insights you are hoping to get. This understanding will let you decide what questions are worth asking and how to format your questions and survey to maximize the data collected.
For instance, if you are trying to find out the biggest pains your market faces out of a list of various pains, it's better to have them rank the pains in that list instead of asking them to "pick your top pain." This will maximize the data you get so that if the top picked pain is not easy to solve or not the pain you are solving, you have a full ranked list.
Check back next week for Dium's key tips on giving interviews.
"Fortunately for serious minds, a bias recognized is a bias sterilized." - Benjamin Haydon
- More info and an example video on Cognitive Interviews https://www.simplypsychology.org/cognitive-interview.html
- Checklist on how to make a survey