Chapter 2

How to create and run an effective survey

In this chapter, we run you through a quick checklist for creating an effective survey and share the steps you need to follow to achieve your research goals.

1. Create the research plan

Creating a plan for any research activity is crucial. Before you get started with your survey, you want to be sure that your research objectives, goals, and questions are laid out and agreed upon with stakeholders.

In your plan you should include the following:

  • Research objectives: What you’re doing, why you’re doing it, and what you hope to learn
  • Research questions: Not to be confused with the interview—or survey questions—these are the questions that you’re hoping the research will answer. On the other hand, interview or survey questions are the questions that you would ask your participants directly.
  • Survey questions and types: These are the questions you will ask in the survey to help uncover insights about the research questions. There are many different types of survey questions that you can use. More on this below.
  • Survey participants: Who are the people you want to survey and why? Depending on your research goals, consider whether you want to hear from existing or new users, and what the rationale is for your choice.

2. Align with your team

Be sure to share your plan with stakeholders. Because research is a team sport, it’s important to make sure all stakeholders are involved in the research planning process.

You want to align with your team as early as possible to avoid surprises later down the line. When you start to receive feedback from your customers, you will already know that others on your team are getting the information they need to inform decision-making.

3. Create the survey

Create the survey into the survey tool you’re using with the various survey questions you’ve decided on in your survey plan.

4. Test the survey

Test the survey by sending it to yourself and at least two others to go through the flow and catch any issues or inconsistencies.

5. Launch 🚀

Once you’ve amended any issues with the survey from the test step, send it to your customers and start collecting feedback!

6. Monitor

It’s a good idea to keep an eye on the feedback as it starts to roll in. This is helpful because you can start to get a sense of how people are responding to the questions and if you’re getting the types of answers you were looking for, with the right amount of detail.

Depending on the tool you’re using, you may be able to make some adjustments while the survey is live, or you’ll have to close the current survey and start a new one.

Continue reading to the next chapter to learn about the key survey design principles to keep in mind to create effective surveys and gather actionable insights.