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Creating a Practical Survey: The Effect of Survey Design on Data Presentation

Creating a Practical Survey: The Effect of Survey Design on Data Presentation

The types of questions you create in a survey play an important role in what the data looks like in the Analyze section (and also in the download formats!). Depending on what you want to do with the data, consider how you want it to be presented. Taking this initial step before creating your survey will make the analysis portion much easier. This blog highlights step 3 of our 7-Step Checklist for Creating a Practical Survey.

Open-Ended vs. Close-Ended Questions

When designing a survey, think about what you want to do with the data. Do you want to scan through hundreds of open-ended comments, or can you ask multiple choice questions instead to get that same information? We do offer a Text Analysis feature, but you may not want your entire survey to consist of only open-ended questions.

Example: You want to know how your members enjoyed an exhibit at your museum.

Instead of asking all open-ended questions like:

You could ask close-ended questions with a predetermined set of answer choices:

Rating/Matrix or Multiple Choice (Multiple Answers) Questions

Before using these specific question types, consider if an alternate type could work better to show the data output you want.  Rating questions are good to use if you want to tabulate a Rating Average.  Keep in mind, though, that matrix questions can harm data quality.

How these questions are exported:

When using Matrix/Rating and Multiple Answer questions, the data in the full spreadsheets (i.e. All Responses Collected) and SPSS are going to spread over several columns. It is good to be prepared for this, so you aren’t surprised by the data output after you have collected responses.

For example, multiple answer questions (e.g. Multiple Choice Multiple Answers Allowed/Rating/Matrix) always remain expanded in the full spreadsheet and SPSS exports.  Each answer choice is assigned to its own column.  If there are 5 answer choices in a Multiple Choice question and respondents can pick more than one answer, Excel and SPSS show the data expanded into 5 columns (e.g. J, K, L, M and N).  This can get complicated if you have a Matrix with Drop-down menus question that has 20 rows, 10 columns (drop-down headers), and 5 possible answer choices in each drop-down.

NOTE: In SPSS if you want the data to not span over multiple columns per question, then we recommend using Multiple Choice (Only One Answer) question types.

Additional Examples

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