Over the past few years, technology has changed the way research data is collected. Since this, online data collection practices have increased in popularity due to the increased access to the internet. Consequently, online panels have become the main avenue to collect data about a specific audience. Data quality encompasses several aspects, one of which is research methodology. The way research is being done highly affects the quality of the results. Survey research is one of the most common ways to conduct a study and data quality can be affected due to the design of the survey.
According to a recent study conducted by Forethought Research, survey design has a direct relationship between respondent engagement and data quality. The research also showed that survey design influences the respondents’ perception. This indicates that respondent engagement is key in order to ensure data quality since lower engagement increases the risk of unreliable data. Survey design is imperative to keep respondents engaged. Therefore, researchers need to have a better understanding of survey design, which could influence the level of engagement in a research study.
Survey design encompasses several elements such as content, question types, guidelines and survey length. The content of the survey is the foundation of the study. By delineating the content and understanding the targeted audience, the type of questions used in the study will set the parameters for the respondents’ engagement. (If you want to learn more about the types of questions to keep respondent engaged please click here.) Another element to consider in the survey design process is the utilization of clear guidelines to properly guide respondents through the study. Additionally, the survey length is a pivotal variable that could affect data quality, since tedious surveys lead to high exit rates and low response rates. Ultimately, all of these elements have an impact on data quality.
There is no single design method that affects respondent engagement. However, it has been proven that surveys that require more than 20 minutes to complete (and have very few interactive questions) lead to low response rate and high drop out rates. While it is true, survey design has a direct impact on data quality, it is important to remember that without a high level of respondent engagement data is unreliable. Companies conducting research for key business decisions need to ensure that the design of their survey is optimal in order to obtain quality data.
In summary, survey design not only influences whether respondents abandon a survey, but also impacts the quality of the data. The ability to understand survey design methods can aid survey designers maximize engagement and increase the reliability of the data. As audiences become more difficult to reach, researchers and survey designers need to implement effective practices such as dynamic questions and incentives to ensure a higher respondent engagement. In today’s global technological environment groups, people are constantly bombarded with information. It is crucial to understand that when conducting a study, the effective use of survey design can help in the data collection process.