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  • Writer's pictureAnpar Research

How To Do A Survey In 9 Easy Steps

Updated: Apr 4

How to do a survey - a finger pointing to a mobile screen showing how online survey works in 4 steps

Learn how to do a survey by following these 9 easy steps to help target audiences or to optimize product or service offerings even on a tight budget from outlining objectives to analysing the results.

[Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links, meaning we get a commission if you decide to make a purchase through these links at no additional cost to you.]

Step 1 - Outline the key objectives for doing the survey

The first step you need to make before you get started with a survey, is deciding what are the research objectives in defining the purpose for the research that you need answers for. This will help give you a clear picture from what you will gain from it.

In targeting your survey, you will need answers to these types of questions such as whether you need feedback for a website, service or product? Is the information you need of a specific nature or not? Is there particular audience you have in mind? Does the survey need to go out to your current customers or the general public?

For example, the purpose of the survey could be to understand customer satisfaction, gather feedback on a product, or explore market trends.

Step 2 - Define the target audience you want to survey

Determine the group of people you want to survey. Define the characteristics and demographics of your target audience. Consider factors such as age, gender, location, and other relevant demographics. A well-defined target audience ensures that the survey results are representative of the population you want to study.

For example, if conducting a customer satisfaction survey for a mobile app, the target audience might be "Users of the mobile app aged 18-35 who have made a purchase within the last three months."

Step 3 - Decide on the best research approach to take

Decide on the survey method that best suits your objectives and target audience. Common methods include online surveys, phone interviews, face-to-face interviews, or mailed questionnaires.

Select a method based on the accessibility of your audience, budget constraints, and the complexity of the questions. Online surveys are cost-effective and efficient, while face-to-face interviews may be more appropriate for in-depth discussions.

For example, if the goal is to gather quick feedback on a new website feature, an online survey might be suitable. However, for in-depth opinions on a new product, conducting face-to-face interviews or focus groups might be more appropriate.

Step 4 - Develop the survey layout and formulate the questions

The developing the survey layout is crucial in answering the research objectives and keep your target audience engaged. Therefore it should follow a basic structure of introduction, screening and profiling your audience and then getting your main questions answered followed by some background questions such as additional demographic questions or requesting for further participation in future research.

There are various types of questions you can use in a survey from closed questions with yes and no type of answers to open ended questions where people can explain in detail in their own words, the reasons why. The preference for most people taking part tends to be multiple choice questions.

The questions you produce need to be simple and clear and avoid any technical terms if you can, otherwise give an explanation of the term used. Due to routing, participants answer the appropriate questions and skip the irrelevant questions based on their previous answers. This makes for shorter survey experience and a better chance of the survey being completed. This is all explained in more detail in How to design a good questionnaire 

There are two main kinds of questions that you need to be aware of – open questions and closed questions that consists of a variety of question types. It’s good to be consistent and use mix of these questions where relevant to avoid boredom to set in amongst the participants but try not to use more than two open questions as it adds a lot time to the survey.

Open questions give participants the opportunity to answer the question in their own words, where they can express the reasons why they purchased a particular brand or what they don’t like about a website rather than being prompted to select an answer.

Closed questions give participants a choice of options to choose from like a single response with a yes or no answer to multiple responses to a question like mobile brands you are aware of from a list.

Below are different types of closed questions you can use in your survey.

     Single response questions

Single response as the name suggests is where only one answer is allowed like what age group they fall under. Even many questions covering attitudes of the participant are single response from a pre-coded list.

Multiple choice questions

Multiple choice questions allow participants to offer more than one answer. This could be from a list of brands that they may know of, considered, purchased or used and is easy to fill out. If your using a list of answer options, please make sure the list is randomised to avoid bias.

Rating scale questions

Rating scale questions are a scale of numbers that are likely to be from 0 to 10 and are used to ask participants to rate a website, service or product on different things.

EXAMPLE – Q. On a scale of 0 to 10 with 0 being not at all to 10 being extremely likely, how likely are you to recommend Brand X to friends or family?

Likelihood to recommend scale is one of many things to remember in how to make an online survey

Likert scale questions

Likert scale questions helps to establish the level of agreement from the participant for each statement on a 5 or 7 point scale about a brand or a person’s behaviour. It can be from “strongly agree” to “strongly disagree” but also the level of likelihood to buy as well.

EXAMPLE – Q. To what extent do you agree or disagree with the following statements?

I enjoy entertaining people at home

1. Strongly agree

2. Slightly agree

3. Neither agree nor disagree

4. Slightly disagree

5. Strongly disagree

Ranking questions

Ranking questions are needed to find out what aspects participants rate in order of importance for a website, service or product. It’s best practice to ask the participants to list their top 3 factors in order from a list of factors. Randomisation or rotation should be applied to the list to avoid any bias towards the factors at the top of the list.

Step 5 - Inviting people to take part

There are a number of ways to invite people to your survey. Deciding who you would like to take part in the survey, will help you choose the best method to contact potential participants. This could be paying for the use of a panel survey of a specific audience, post your survey on a social media platform and email your current customers or subscribers. Plus ensuring to clearly communicate the purpose of the survey, assure confidentiality, and encourage honest responses.

Step 6 - Gather the results

The success of the survey is largely dependent on the number of people you invite who complete the survey, which is also known as the response rate. To increase the chances of completion, you can offer an incentive in the form of a prize, a gift or a donation to charity.

This is often used in panel surveys where participants accumulate points, which can be exchanged for vouchers or cash. Also offering a summary of the survey results for those who complete the survey is another incentive that you can offer.

Step 7 - Analysis of results and draw insights

It’s best for a visual form of the results in charts and graphs for quick reference of findings in reports. Text from open ended questions can be analysed through grouping of themes, are shown in word clouds or even coded for measurable results (time consuming and expensive).

If you are using a field and tab agency to run a panel survey, you are likely to receive the results in Excel tables unless you have analysis software like SPSS or Q, where you can receive the results in a different file format. The great thing with an online survey is you can see the results in real time through a survey portal to gage where your results are heading.

It's best to produce the report of your findings to see if you have achieved your research goals in providing the crucial answers to your questions in order for you to take action. The type of insights you can gain from an online survey is customer feedback, the level of customer satisfaction and highlight key areas of influence.

Step 8 - Come up with a strategy based on these insights

Following the analysis of the survey data gathered and the insights drawn from this, it's time develop a strategy to tackle the issue at hand. In understanding your target audience's needs, preferences, and behaviours. It is important to identify the emotional triggers, deep-seated frustrations, and unmet desires that influence your audience's decision-making process.

For example with these insights in mind, your strategy should focus on creating a captivating message that resonates with these motivations. This message should not only highlight the benefits of your product or service but also address the specific concerns and aspirations of your potential customers. The ultimate goal is to establish a connection that goes beyond surface-level understanding and makes your audience feel truly heard and valued. Remember, the most effective message will tap into your audience's subconscious needs and present your offering as the most compelling solution available.

Step 9 - Take action by putting the new strategy into practice

Use the survey results to make informed decisions, implement changes, or guide future strategies. For example, If the survey identifies a need for additional employee training, take action by organising relevant training sessions. If customer feedback highlights a desire for more product features, use the insights to inform the product development roadmap.

Key take outs

There are a number of ways to do online research whether that’s through secondary sources or carrying out your own market research, the most popular is online surveys using survey platforms like JotForm. This method of online research is quick, easy to carry out and is relatively inexpensive.

Download this free E-book from JotForm to also learn how to make use of the platform's productivity and automation features.

The needs of most businesses especially small businesses and independent websites can be met through short and simple online surveys targeting a particular audience. Taking into consideration the technological advancements in the present climate, the business insights gained from online research is invaluable.



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