Keep Your Survey Responses Relevant: Say Hello to Skip Logic

But I don't drink wine!

Imagine that you’re talking to your friend, Wendy. She brings up wine tasting and asks which vineyards you have visited. You politely reply that you don’t drink so you’ve never been. Wendy, however, keeps right on asking you about wine tasting–What type of wine is your favorite? Is it true that red wine tastes better with steak? How about with fish–red, white or what about sparkling? After each question, you reply–”I don’t drink!–each time getting more confused and a little bit angrier. What’s wrong with Wendy?

Surveys, as we’ve said before, are like conversations. A good survey, just like a good conversation, would smoothly change the subject from wine to something else as soon as you’ve made it clear that you don’t partake in spirits. How’s this accomplished exactly when creating your survey?

Say hello to skip logic!

What’s “skip logic”? 

Skip logic is a function that lets you program what questions a respondent actually sees in your survey. Basically, it lets respondents skip over questions that don’t apply to them based on the answers they provide.

For example, let’s say we’re a little bored with the Bloody Mary as the go-to brunch cocktail and we want to make up a new one. So we’re gonna whip up a survey to find out what kinds of alcoholic and non-alcoholic brunch beverages are the most popular. Including lots of questions about the specific types of alcohol that people like in order to get a more detailed picture of what our cocktail should taste like is important.

Adding skip logic to our survey lets us first ask whether our respondents drink alcohol or not. Their answer will determine which set of questions they see next. For those folks who report that they do not drink alcohol, skip logic would then skip over all of our follow-up questions having to do with alcoholic drinks and they’d land on our next set of questions–the ones about our non-alcoholic brunch beverages. Respondents like Wendy, who do drink, would answer “Yes” and she’d be taken to our set of questions about favorite types of alcohol, and then to the brunch beverage questions.

Why use skip logic?

It keeps the bad data out. If a question doesn’t apply to a respondent, he or she won’t know how to answer it. So if Joe doesn’t own an iPhone, asking him to rate the last five apps from Apple he’s downloaded is going to be pretty pointless. Asking an irrelevant question like this will usually result in the respondent giving a random answer which will negatively affect your data quality.

It keeps the good data in. Everyone loves a shorter survey! Giving people fewer questions to complete means higher completion rates and more thoughtful responses. If you want to know about commuter satisfaction with buses and trains and Sue only takes buses, and Frank only takes trains, they’re both more likely to finish the survey and give you the thoughtful feedback you’re looking for if they only have to answer questions about the kind of public transit they actually use. Respect your respondents’ time and the quality (and quantity!) of your data will benefit.

The bottom line. Using skip logic will help you rake in better data AND more of it! It will keep surveys short and respondents engaged. It pretty much solves all your problems, except of course, what to do about your friend, Wendy…

How do I do it? Never fear! We’ve got a resource page on how to set up Skip Logic in our Help Center. Just click here and we’ll walk you through the each of the steps. You’ll need a paid account in order to start using this feature for your next survey and if you’ve any additional questions along the way, don’t be shy, just let us know in the Comments below!

Image courtesy of BigStock photo

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Inspired? Create your own survey.

Inspired? Create your own survey.

  • http://www.tumblr.com/http:%5C/%5C/jeffreysimmons.tumblr.com%5C/post%5C/43547618664%5C/light-drawing-number-21-february-19-2013 tumblr

    Hi there would you mind sharing which blog platform you’re working with? I’m going
    to start my own blog in the near future but I’m having a hard time selecting between BlogEngine/Wordpress/B2evolution and Drupal. The reason I ask is because your layout seems different then most blogs and I’m
    looking for something unique. P.S My apologies for getting off-topic but I had to ask!

    • Kayte K

      Hi there- we use WordPress. Good luck with your blog!