Did you know that NOT getting a response to a survey question can be a good thing?

Did you know that NOT getting a response to a survey question can be a good thing?

Dr. Jian Huang February 10, 2016 by Dr. Jian Huang

One issue we see authors wrestle with when drafting an online survey is whether or not they should require participants to answer certain questions. The compulsion to force a response from someone is understandable. After all, the point of the survey is to collect as much information as possible and there are always certain questions in a survey that are more important to the survey author.

Where things get problematic is when a respondent comes across a question that doesn’t particularly apply to them or they simply don’t have a strong opinion. The survey should allow participants to skip these questions or provide a response that reflects their indifference. When a survey writer neglects to include these options and forces a respondent to answer it often leads to a couple of disastrous results.

  1. Respondents will quit the survey. Participants find it frustrating when forced to answer a question and there isn’t a response available that best fits their attitude and opinion on the question. Often this will cause them to simply drop out of the survey and lead to lower rates of response and completion.

  2. Generates bad data. Survey participants will provide false data when they are forced to answer a question and there isn’t a response option that accurately gauges their opinion. They will select anything just to get to the next question and add a major source of bias and skew the survey results.

Survature’s unique AnswerCloud question tackles this problem to the benefit of the survey giver and the survey taker. Improving the online survey taking experience is a top of mind issue at Survature. We addresses the frustration that arises when participants are forced to respond by making the selection of a question response a “free form” experience. Participants can select or change responses to the question in any order they wish or simply ignore responses. This unique interactive question design appeals to participants and has resulted in high completion rates.

Believe it or not, with a Survature survey, the lack of a response also benefits the survey giver. Survature captures and analyzes survey taker behavior and uses that process data to determine what matters most to participants. Our analytics take into account any responses that are NOT selected and factor the lack of response in our priority results. Not getting a response is another way for us to validate the degree of importance certain responses do or don’t have with the survey’s audience. The amount a data captured during a Survature survey is second to none. Revealing both the ratings and their relative priority is a game changer and delivers another layer of insight that isn’t available with other feedback tools.

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Dr. Jian Huang
Dr. Jian Huang

Jian Huang is the Chief Executive Officer at Survature providing the vision for reinventing the way the world experiences surveys. He is a professor of computer science at the University of Tennessee (UT) researching data analysis, visualization, and human-computer interaction. His research has received funding from the National Science Foundation, the US Department of Energy, the US Department of Interior, Intel, NASA, and UT-Battelle. Jian received his PhD from the Ohio State University.