It’s easy to learn about writing better survey questions when you take every survey that crosses your desk. Last week, I shared an example from a survey that I received after attending a web-based workshop.

Here’s another example from that survey:

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Please rate the webinar presenter.

[] 1   [] 2   [] 3   [] 4  [] 5

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I see two problems:

  1. The scale is not defined: is “1” good or bad?
  2. What criteria am I using to rate the presenter? Is it her ability to speak clearly? Or is it her ability to use the features of the web meeting tool? Perhaps a combination.

I’d fix this question by breaking the presenter’s effectiveness into key elements and asking a series of questions to understand how the presenter did. And change the scale, of course.

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Today’s presenter was easy to understand.

[] Strongly disagree   [] Disagree   [] Agree  [] Strongly disagree

Today’s presenter was knowledgeable about [insert topic].

[] Strongly disagree   [] Disagree   [] Agree  [] Strongly disagree

Today’s presenter provided ideas that I can use.

[] Strongly disagree   [] Disagree   [] Agree  [] Strongly disagree

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Being specific about the attributes of a successful presenter helps with two things: makes it easier (and faster) for a respondent to complete the survey and provides actionable data.

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