Because of concerns about the effects of category order on responses to closed-ended questions, many sets of response options in Pew Research Center’s surveys are programmed to be randomized (when questions have two or more response options) to ensure that the options are not asked in the same order for each respondent. For instance, in the example discussed above about what issue mattered most in people’s vote, the order of the five issues in the closed-ended version of the question was randomized so that no one issue appeared early or late in the list for all respondents. Randomization of response items does not eliminate order effects, but it does ensure that this type of bias is spread randomly.
Simon Slade, CEO and co-founder of Affilorama has experienced first hand the benefits of having remote workers at his company, “By allowing employees to work remotely," he says, "you can hire the best of the best while not limiting yourself by geographical restrictions. At Doubledot Media, 19 of our 28 employees work remotely, and I have seen no difference in job satisfaction or work performance. If anything, my remote employees' production rate is higher because they are better equipped to avoid distractions.” The benefits also extend to his bottom line, “telecommuting saves me money because they pay for their own computer, electricity and other utilities.”
I just wanted to let you know that SurveyPlanet is a great business tool, helping my organization obtain some really important feedback from key stakeholders. Data we will now be using to refine our customer and volunteer experiences throughout the year. The online survey tools are incredibly user-friendly, and the survey proposition is far more useful than we ever thought it was going to be. SurveyPlanet has enabled us to obtain important information easily and in a format that is powerful and unambiguous. So thank you!
Select a representative sample: Selecting a representative sample from your sampling frame is also important for collecting valid and reliable data about the population of interest. For example, if you are sampling from a large database of customer email addresses and only wanted one response per household, you might want to cross-check each email address against mailing addresses and remove duplicates to avoid some households having a greater probability of selection. Then you would likely draw a random sample from the remaining list of email addresses.

An example of a wording difference that had a significant impact on responses comes from a January 2003 Pew Research Center survey. When people were asked whether they would “favor or oppose taking military action in Iraq to end Saddam Hussein’s rule,” 68% said they favored military action while 25% said they opposed military action. However, when asked whether they would “favor or oppose taking military action in Iraq to end Saddam Hussein’s rule even if it meant that U.S. forces might suffer thousands of casualties,” responses were dramatically different; only 43% said they favored military action, while 48% said they opposed it. The introduction of U.S. casualties altered the context of the question and influenced whether people favored or opposed military action in Iraq.


Marketer Adrien O'leary uses Zapier to share his FluidSurveys survey with every new contact he adds to his Knack database. Zapier copies the email of the contact, and sends it to FluidSurveys, which then sends the survey invite to the new contact automatically. "I also pass parameters in the survey URL so some elements of the survey (like name of a client's business) can be customized," says Adrien.
The survey building interface walks you through adding your questions, and is reminiscent of Windows 2000 in its simplicity. You can’t add images or logic to your questions with the free version, but you can mandate answers and give respondents the option of filling out an “other” category for each question. You can also run Likert scale survey questions with Survs.
The biggest draw of taking online surveys is that you can take these surveys whenever it’s convenient to you. You decide when and where you take these surveys. All you need is a laptop or mobile device that can connect to the Internet. So relax and take some surveys while enjoying your favourite café or in front of the tv when the kids are asleep, it’s up to you! And best of all - you’ll get paid for it.
Design and pre-test questionnaires: Designing the questionnaire carefully and then pre-testing it before fielding it to your entire sample is crucial to getting data that are valid and reliable. For example, careful questionnaire design and pre-testing can help reduce the chance that respondents may interpret the meaning of questions differently. Future posts in this series will tackle these important steps in much greater detail.
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