At Survey Methods, we routinely look at the surveys that we receive in our in boxes and see if they can’t be completed better. One of the most common problems we’ve found with a lot of these surveys has to do with the way the survey utilizes survey logic.
We received an example of a serious survey logic flaw with a recent survey one of our members was given about elective surgeries. The survey could easily have used survey logic, but instead forced the user to answer dozens of questions all for no actual gain.
What the Survey Did
The survey was for a health insurance company. It was about whether or not the respondent had considered or completed any optional cosmetic surgeries. The survey presented a giant list of nearly every type of cosmetic surgery available along with the response options of “have had this surgery,” “have considered this surgery,” and “have not considered this surgery.” These are very slightly paraphrased.
There were roughly 70+ different types of surgery, along with a final question of whether or not the respondent has ever considered a different type of cosmetic surgery not listed or whether they have not considered any type of cosmetic surgery at all. All questions were mandatory.
What the Survey Could Have Done
This is a clear example of where survey logic could have made the survey much easier on the participant. There were two options that would have made the survey significantly shorter, and vastly reduced dropout rate:
- Asking the question: “Have you ever considered any type of elective surgery or cosmetic surgery before?” would have easily allowed those that have never considered the surgery to skip all of the questions. Instead, each respondent had to answer the question with “no” one by one until it was completed.
- The company could have looked for groupings. There are ample ways that you can group surgeries together to make it easier, with a list. Only if they select the group of procedures do you bother to ask them about each one individually.
Not to mention a “select all that apply” would have been far easier on the respondent and utilizes no survey logic at all.
This was a long survey that could easily have been a much shorter survey, and chances are the completion rate for this survey reflects that. While the survey was not terrible (and yes, there were other flaws as well), one simple change would have made the survey much better, and probably allowed for more informative results.