Four ways to make a better survey, WebExpo2023

The monument to the Velvet Revolution. It's a small plaque on a wall. The top of the bronze plaque has life-sided sculptures of 8 hands, above the date 17.11.1989. Below the plaque, someone has left a branch of dried flowers.
My walk back from the survey workshop unexpectedly took me past the tiny but very moving monument to the Velvet Revolution in November 1989. The hands are life-sized.

In this half-day survey workshop for WebExpo2023, I led a lively group of Czech attendees through four methods for improving their next survey:

  1. Goals: Ruthlessly focus your survey on an immediate decision.  I talked about the survey process from goals to decisions. Attendees practiced working through an exercise to ensure that the survey will deliver the data you need to make a good decision.
  2. Sample: Write an invitation that makes people want to answer. I explained my ideas, gleaned from survey methodology, on why people do or do not respond to survey invitations. Attendees put the theory into practice by writing an invitation to an example survey.
  3. Questions: Ditch the rating scales. In this section I described my version of the four steps of answering a question, and why the rating scales we see everywhere are difficult to create. The practical exercise was about turning a rating question into a good question.
  4. Responses: Lose your fear of open answers. Although it’s true that numeric answers can be easier to analyse, open answers can get you more accurate data. The practical exercise focused on turning a set of open answers into rich data.

Thank you to the WebExpo conference team and to all the people who joined me and made the morning fun for all of us.