• Bolt Insight

The Do's and Don'ts of Market Research Surveys

Updated: Sep 15

Crafting a survey that is user-friendly, visually impactful, and with good questions and flow is both an art and a science. Market research surveys can seem straightforward, but the truth is, if you want to create an effective survey there are some clear dos and don'ts.


The process of conducting effective market research surveys always starts with having a clear idea of what you want to study as well as how you plan to analyse the results. Writing a good survey questionnaire requires high-quality research data and accurate analysis. The questionnaire is the heart of every survey and designing an effective questionnaire is dependent on many different factors with errors in every corner.





This article takes you through a useful dos and don’ts checklist of market research surveys to help you design a survey that captures all you need.


The Don'ts of Market Research Surveys


1. Leading Questions


A leading question is the one that suggests the participants with an answer. Leading questions sway the respondents to one side of the argument.


For example: “How good was your experience with our maintenance service?” In this question, even before getting a positive or negative response from the respondents, you have already assumed that the quality of your maintenance service was good.


Leading questions results in skewed responses and doesn’t provide you with the quality insights you need for your market research.


2. Double-Barreled Questions


A double-barreled question is a combination of two or more distinct questions. Aiming for a single response for distinct questions often results in either a non-response or a response that is difficult to interpret.


For example: “Would you like our service to be cheaper or more value for money?” In this example, two separate topics are grouped into one question. For some of the respondents, the meanings for “value for money” and “cheap” might overlap. Hence, it’s best to avoid asking such questions.


3. Technical Jargon, Acronyms, or Abbreviations


The use of technical jargon, acronyms, or abbreviations in your survey tends to significantly lower the response rate as not all the respondents are familiar with complex terminologies.


Hence, you must avoid their usage unless you are absolutely confident that the participants know what they mean. However, when it’s absolutely necessary to use an unfamiliar term or acronym, make sure you provide a definition for the same.


4. Vague Quantifiers


Vague quantifiers like “often,” “rarely,” “sometimes” don’t convey a uniform meaning to every participant and should be replaced with a more definite range or attribute.


5. Ambiguous Questions


It is easy to overlook these flaws in questions because at times the questions look honest and relevant. But, the truth is, the vague nature of many questions confuses the customers and thus, results in poor or inaccurate responses.


Using words like “think,” “feel,” or “expect” in the survey questions tends to attract different reactions from different people. Often, the range obtained with such questions is so broad that it makes the data more or less unusable.


It is important to be focused and specific with the questions you are asking such that the respondents interpret the questions just the way you want them to.


6. Forgetting to Test Your Market Research Surveys:


Testing your survey before you field it is a crucial part to ensure survey success. It saves you a lot of effort, time, money, and keeps you away from the disappointing off-target data associated with a poorly-framed survey.


Pilot test your survey by sharing it with a few respondents or other people. The purpose of a pilot test is to let you know if your questions, language, or answering format is confusing or ambiguous. It is crucial to know how respondents are interpreting the survey questions to make the necessary changes before rolling out the surveys.



The Dos of Market Research Surveys


1. Introduce Your Survey with a Welcome Message


This helps respondents to understand the context better. When respondents understand why and what they are being asked, the response rate enhances and so does the quality of market research data.


The introduction should also include points like how the information will be gathered and analysed. Also, make sure to include the consent option or the confidentiality and anonymity option in your survey introduction.


2. Be Conversational and as Sincere as Possible


Write every survey question with clear objectives, simple language, and proper grammar. Some questionnaires are so lengthy that they result in annoying and frustrating the respondents. To avoid this problem, make sure to keep the survey questionnaire as simple as possible with precise, specific, and to-the-point questions.


Additionally, questions that seem unimportant or unnecessary to the study should be excluded from the survey. However, no matter how important conciseness is to a survey, it should not be done at the cost of confusing your respondents with poorly structured questions. So, keep the language concise, but provide complete information about how to accurately interpret the question.


3. Use Scales When Possible


Scales takes away the ambiguity associated with questions and helps you receive easily measurable and specific responses.


For example: Instead of asking, “How good was your experience with our maintenance service,” you can ask, “On a scale of 1 to 10, please state how satisfied you are with our after service?” Giving a full range of options helps you get accurate responses that truly reflects the sentiments or experiences of the participants.


4. Make Questions Situational When Possible


Situational questions use circumstances that someone has not experienced. It is hard to prepare answers for such questions and therefore, these questions help to decrease the survey bias if any. However, sometimes respondents face difficulty in understanding hypothetical scenarios, and hence, such questions should be thoroughly analysed before including them in the market research survey.


5. Include Enough Response Options


Including “don’t know,” or “not applicable” options to your surveys help you get the most honest answers from your respondents. Sometimes, if these options are not included, some respondents feel they are being pressured to answer a certain way and they choose to opt-out.


Final Thoughts on Market Research Surveys


To sum it up:

  • Be sure to start with clear goals and objectives.

  • Keep the surveys concise and relevant to your respondents.

  • Avoid leading or loading the questions

  • Keep the information simple and easy to understand.

  • Provide your respondents with a full range of options to get the most accurate answers for your market research surveys.

Proper attention to survey format and design is necessary to receive reliable and quality information for your market research. Bolt Insight can help create and design effective surveys to get the most accurate and useful results.