Let me ask you a question

14 Aug

One of the many things I do to scrape a living together is survey design (because for all the jokes about becoming like J K Rowling, writing is not a lucrative profession). For a very reasonable fee, I either build people a survey from scratch, or tell them what’s wrong with their own one. And often there is plenty wrong.

Just as my work as a proofreader means I can never simply read text without picking out all the errors, so my work as a survey designer means I can never take an online survey without going “that’s ambiguous”, “you should allow more than one option here” or “this matrix is far too big”, and so on.

These things are not just annoying for the people taking the survey; if you ask the wrong questions, or provide the wrong answer choices, you end up with unreliable data, or your respondents give up halfway through, both of which rather defeat the point of sending out the survey in the first place.

But rather than try to explain what I mean in this post, I’m going to invite you to take a survey I have specially designed to be as useless and annoying as possible. SurveyMonkey rates it as ‘great’, by the way (see the picture below), which just shows why you need to apply human intelligence to these things.

What a wonderful survey I have designed, according to SurveyMonkey!

I won’t be held responsible for any damage to your phone that occurs from throwing it across the room in frustration.

I only have a free SurveyMonkey account (because the paid ones are so ludicrously expensive) which means that only the first 100 people to click the button will be able to take the survey. If the maximum has already been reached, drop me a note in the comments below and I’ll see what I can do.

And if you are now in awe of my survey design skills, you can hire me on PeoplePerHour. Or just consider this your free tutorial in how not to design a survey.

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