Survey questions are closed-ended questions you can add to an Exchange to learn more about your participants and get their perspective in a more directed way with a defined set of responses. They are a powerful tool for digging deeper into Exchange results; but, like Voltaire and Uncle Ben (from Spiderman) have told us, with great power comes great responsibility. In this article, we’ll be walking you through when to use Survey Questions to enhance your Exchange, how to do it, and when they are best avoided.
The Power of Survey Questions
Survey Questions are useful in a few different ways. While your Exchange is open, they can tell you who has participated and who hasn’t. Keeping an eye on the proportions of participants who have responded in different ways to a question about age or location, for example, can let you know which groups may need a little more encouragement or reminding to share and rate thoughts before the Exchange closes.
After your Exchange closes, you can use Survey Questions to dig deeper into your results. Several features of the Discover Dashboard can help you make use of your Survey Questions data:
- Use Heatmaps to see how different groups of participants rated the major themes in your Exchange.
- Use Differences to see how participants agreed and disagreed on specific thoughts, then use your Survey Questions to learn more about the various interest groups that were formed.
- You can even filter Thoughts by the manner in which participants responded to Survey Questions.
Note: Survey Questions will not display results for response options with fewer than 6 responses to preserve participant confidentiality.
Types of Questions
The two most common types of Survey Questions are demographic questions and opinion questions.
Demographic questions ask participants to tell you a little more about themselves. Some examples of good demographic questions are:
- Which of the following best describes your role within our organization:
- At which location do you most commonly work?
- How long have you been a part of our organization?
Opinion questions ask for closed-ended feedback to a specific question. These can include yes or no type questions such as:
- Did you attend our all-company meeting last month?
These types of questions could also include a rating scale, such as:
- How strongly do you agree with the top goal outlined in our plan?
- Strongly Agree
- Strongly Disagree
If there are common questions that you or other leaders in your organization often use you may also have the option to use a question template for setting up your survey questions, if templates have been created for the room you are working in.
Tips for Writing Good Questions
One important consideration when adding Survey Questions to your Exchange is that participants are required to answer them before responding to the main open-ended Exchange question. That means that you will need to include options that apply to all your participants.
- If you aren’t sure whether or not your response options capture everyone, include an "other" option using the "Add 'other' option" button at the bottom of your survey question response list in the edit screen.
- If a participant could belong to more than one group, make sure you enable multi-select answers by clicking the check box up and to the right of your question on the edit screen. Please note that this feature cannot be turned off again once the Exchange is active.
- If a particular question does not apply to some participants, include a “not applicable” option.
- If your question is potentially sensitive, include a “prefer not to say” option.
Only ask as many questions as you need. People will only be willing or able to spend a certain amount of time participating, and you want most of that time spent sharing and rating thoughts in response to your main Exchange question. Always ask yourself: “Will this question add value to my results?”.
Your questions also need to be understandable and answerable for all of your participants. Make sure that you don’t ask a double-barrelled question (two ideas in one) like “How satisfied are you with your salary and job conditions?”, because participants could feel differently about each idea.
Finally, keep in mind that participants can only choose ONE response unless you've enabled multi-select answers. Make sure your questions can be answered simply.
When to Leave them Out
No tool is useful in all situations, and Survey Questions are no different. Each one you include takes participant time and attention away from your main Exchange question and, in the case of demographic questions, asks participants to give up some of their privacy. Avoid asking survey questions when:
- Your main Exchange question is complex and may require your participants to conduct additional research or read supporting documents,
- They will not add value to the analysis phase,
- Or the number of participants is small enough that the groups will only have a few members each (and you could possibly guess who shared which thought).
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