More Ways That Survey Questionnaire Software Can Help You Get High Quality Data
An earlier blog post cited some ways in which high quality survey questionnaire software can help ensure that you get high quality data. These included randomizing question and answer choice order, limiting answer choices based on prior answers and designating particular answers, such as “none of the above,” as exclusive. This post describes some additional ways a program can help ensure that you get quality data.
One of the most important is the ability to automatically skip over questions that don’t apply. For example, a health survey should not ask men about their pregnancies. Most survey solutions provide a basic form of skipping or branching, in which the answer to the current question can determine which questions is shown next. More sophisticated programs can let you skip after one question based on the answer to an earlier question. The most sophisticated solutions let you skip based on a combination of answers to multiple questions. For example, you could ask only women in a particular age range who lived in particular parts of town about nearby women’s health clinics.
Another way a program can help you improve the quality of your data is to let you combine information you have about people in advance with their survey answers. This information can aid your analysis. It can also potentially let you contact people again to clarify their answers or to invite them to participate in a follow-up study. A good tool should also allow you to skip questions based on information you have in advance.
Another feature that can improve data quality is the ability to check the total of a series of numeric answers. For example, if you ask people what percentage of the time they do X, Y and Z, you can make sure that their answers do not exceed 100. A sophisticated tool will also let you check that the total of one series of answers equals a previous answer. You can ask farmers how many acres they plant and then how many acres they devote to each of a series of crops and require that the acres for the individual crops add up to the total number of acres.