How to ask the right question in a questionnaire or survey to extract relevant data for the company? This is a common question for managers. But the fact is that asking questions is something intrinsic to human beings. From early childhood, when we develop speech and begin to communicate effectively, curiosity is present.
When a child wakes up to the discovery phase in the early years, it is common to see him asking his parents why it is like this or how something happens. This behavior indicates a willingness to learn and become involved with the world.
So, as we grow, the questions become more complex and the answers more difficult to find. Often, we can’t find out what we need about an issue and make the wrong conclusions.
So, however, have you ever stopped to think that these unsatisfactory answers might be the result of a poorly asked question?
So, knowing how to ask the right question is being able to extract valuable information. This is an essential skill to define the strategic planning of organizations and increase adequacy when making decisions.
Creating a good survey is the first step
Different types of questionnaires can be applied. For example, traditional multiple-choice forms, focus groups, direct user contact — which you can do in person or via telephone or email communication — and, more recently, interactive online quizzes.
However, it is useless to use the right tools if you do not correctly prepare the questions.
How to ask the right question?
Below are some tips on how to ask the right question and get great results with quizzes?
Determine the problem
After all, how can you ask the right question without first knowing the problem you need to solve?
It is necessary to be clear, from the first moment, what you want to know at the end of the research. The definition of the problem will guide the elaboration of the questionnaire and organize the project as a whole.
Every research comes to supply a need for information. However, to collect it with the best quality, it is necessary to consider precisely what should be answered.
Be it a question related to the public, be it a question directed to the employees of a company, be it a need to collect information about a particular situation or hypothesis.
Define the audience
Knowing what to ask necessarily involves knowing who to ask. Delimiting your target audience in a detailed and objective way is the first step in a successful questionnaire. So, the target audience should not be too broad.
There are several criteria for determining it: age group, location, socioeconomic status, behavior and personality, shared interests, etc.
Target your audience to increase search suitability. For example, it’s better to talk to a hundred people who want to talk about a specific topic than to have a thousand random responses from random respondents.
To adopt that mindset if you want to ask the right question.
Choose transparent and objective questions
A poorly worded question is confusing, and if it is too long, it can impair understanding. Don’t go around too much to deal with the matters you need.
Be objective and use plain language. The respondent needs to understand precisely what you asked. Any noise between reading the question and acting on the answer impairs comprehension.
Avoid closed questions
Open-ended questions encourage the respondent to respond in their own words. When asking a closed question, the interviewer already directs, in some way, the answer to the question. Allowing the interviewee to speak on the subject can bring creative ideas.
Ask impartial questions
Again, the way the question is asked should not drive the respondent’s response. The question needs to be impartial – this is essential when it comes to asking the right question.
When the interviewer makes a value judgment on a statement or makes assumptions for the answer, he restricts the respondent’s options.
A question presented in the following way: “how good is the company?”, for example, already supposes a positive evaluation. So a fair question, in this case, would be: “how do you rate the company?”.
Ask specific questions
So, to have specific answers, you must also detail the questions. On the other hand, very abstract questions do not usually add pertinent information to the research, and the objective is to collect information that generates productive actions in the future.
Choose the correct language
Even if you know how to ask the right question, it’s no use if the language doesn’t suit the audience. The tone of a survey needs to be appropriate. The approach is different depending on the profile of the target audience of the quiz.
A survey applied to a young audience has a different language than a business customer satisfaction survey, which is also different from an internal organizational climate survey, and so on.
Adopting the wrong tone when designing the questionnaire will cause strangeness in those who will answer it. Therefore, aligning the issues with the target audience’s interests and applying the research to people compatible with the determined profile.
Choosing respondents who do not match the established profile will influence the survey result.
Merge question types
Nothing prevents the inclusion of questions of different types when designing the research. However, switching between open-ended questions, multiple-choice questions, or a level scale, for example, makes the quiz more attractive.
Choosing just one type of question can make the process lengthy and even monotonous for the interviewee. Instead, boost your ability and creativity with different questions to extract the best information from the respondent.
Be careful with the size
So, ask the questions that need to be asked. Questionnaires that are too long tend to discourage the respondent.
It is essential to assess the relevance of each question before entering it into the questionnaire. Furthermore, for the efficiency of the survey, the respondent mustn’t lose interest during the process.
Empty or hasty answers to reach the end of the research harm the result.
Test the quiz
Applying the research without first taking a test can make it a failure. For example, they assume that the questions will cause the interview to trace a path that will be productive for the company without attesting to this assumption.
Preferably, give the test to a person who was not involved in the questionnaire design process. Thus, there will be no addictions acquired in the process; and your results will be closer to the natural effects of the research.
Master the research topic
Asking questions about subjects you have no ownership of will be extremely arduous and result in unproductive research. If you don’t master the topic, involve someone who has this knowledge in the process.
A survey written by a layperson is likely to be fruitless, as shallow questions will yield external results.
Thank the respondent
The survey can only have resulted if someone is willing to answer it. Therefore, it would not be possible to apply without the respondent’s involvement, with the initiative of sharing their opinions and giving up their time to read and answer the questionnaire.
Therefore, at the end of each survey, be sure to register your appreciation for the respondent’s collaboration; emphasizing that the information will be helpful in the search for improvements based on what was reported.
How to ask the right question: Practice the art of asking
As with any activity, they are asking the right questions takes practice. Interviewers will do better as they gain experience. Asking questions is a technique like any other and can be improved upon. With each quiz, new learnings will come.
You will gain confidence and have more security when formulating the following surveys. But, first try to read books, articles, and articles on the subject. There are many good options in bookstores, newsstands, and on the Internet.
Creating a LinkedIn profile can be an excellent way to go. The social network has several corporate profiles with excellent information that can be useful for professional growth. Finally, knowing how to extract the correct information from precise questions is essential for companies to understand their customers and employees and stand out in the market.
But, for that, it is necessary to use the most appropriate tool in addition to mastering the art of asking questions. Now that you know the main tips for developing a quality questionnaire, it’s time to put all this into practice and formulate the best method for applying your research.
However, how to do this? A system that collects information and enables organizations to implement quick actions is essential. With all this information at hand, the manager has an incredible opportunity to make their organization more productive.