So I just completed a survey about bottled water usage. The survey was a few open ended questions about bottle water consumption and was done by a U of M student. In general it was fairly well done, though it does raise some interesting questions.
1. What does the student hope to gain from these insights? 10 or so open ended questions about bottled water, most of which were not really in depth, and somewhat difficult to answer due to ambiguity.
2. How does the surveyor hope to code these open ended questions? Is she looking for patterns or methods? Or just a few insights? If it's just for insights, wouldn't a focus group have been better for her purposes?
3. As previously mentioned, some of her questions were a bit confusing and difficult to understand. Not to mention a bit weird. In my opinion, if you're going to ask questions that are difficult to understand or that seem a bit weird or random you should include a "why we're asking this" or "what this has to do with it" area. Now this area could be placed afterwards as an explanation, or before, to provide insight so that participants are more likely to give full, thought out answers that are relevant.
Things I think she did well:
1. She gave plenty of space for answers (it was an online survey, but still, madprops)
2. She added incentives to take the survey (chance to win a gift card? I'll bite AND extra credit in my class? double score)
3. She explained what the survey was for and the benefits etc before the survey even started
4. She kept it brief. Always the most important part. A persons time is important and worthwhile and should be honored.
Anyways, that's it on this subject...