make your own survey

How to Make Your Own Survey in 3 Easy Steps

How to Make Your Own Survey in 3 Easy Steps

make your own survey

As a business, you’ve probably mulled over how to make your own survey for market research purposes. The power of survey research is that it allows you to extract data for a wide array of campaigns, such as marketing, advertising, branding et al., on virtually any focal subject of interest.

Surveys are unique in that they collect data from a pre-defined group of people. Online surveys take this method to the next level, as they only permit qualified respondents to enter the questionnaire portion of a survey. 

As such, online survey tools allow you to define the participants allowed to take part in your survey; you can do so by selecting your desired demographics and screening questions. 

There’s more to making your survey — but not much, that is, depending on the online survey tool you use. 

This article will teach you how to build a survey in just 3 steps, a process that correlates with the Pollfish survey platform.

The Benefits of Using Survey Software

Aside from the above, there is an abundance of benefits to using survey software, which is why it is encouraged to make your survey

If you are skeptical about employing survey software that allows you to build and launch your survey in just three steps, consider the following. It enumerates the various benefits of using a survey platform; the fact that you can make your survey in just 3 steps is an added benefit. 

  1. Cost-Effective: Although the total cost depends on several factors, such as deployment methods, survey types and the stipulations of your online survey platform provider, online surveys are generally cheap. At Pollfish, they start at only $0.95 per complete.
  2. Versatile: Software survey often offers versatility in functionality, interface, visuals and more. As such, they allow you to create multiple types of surveys such as multiple-choice, ratings surveys and surveys that focus on different disciplines like customer satisfaction or community feedback. They also allow you to add unique features such as advanced skip logic.
  3. Respondent Control: A potent survey software grants surveys with the ability to identify each respondent by their IP address, so that no person can take part in the same survey twice to skew results. Therefore, if for example, you set your sampling pool to include 1,000 respondents, you can rest assured that there will be 1,000 unique individuals taking the survey, as no responder will take the survey more than once.
  4. Quick and Accurate: Online survey tools collect data quickly and accurately. They can gather thousands of survey submissions in a short period, one that is often no longer than a few days long. The entire sampling is accurate to the study you conduct, as screening questions and demographic quotas ensure only the targeted respondents participate in the survey.
  5. Ease of Analysis: Survey software facilitates the process of analyzing, by allowing you to observe the data in various formats. For example, a strong tool gives you the option of viewing your responses in spreadsheets, graphs, charts and cross-tabulation. This allows you to examine your survey results in a way that suits your preferences best, as some campaigns require specific data formats.
  6. Easily administered and completed: Online survey tools offer the convenience of administration ease and completion. That is because these tools deploy the surveys for you, meaning that you don’t have to worry about reaching your intended target audience and amount of respondents. The Pollfish platform distributes your survey to a sweeping network of over 140,000 of the most popular websites and apps. It doesn’t finish the process until all respondent quotas are filled.
  7. Flexible and amendable: Online survey platforms ought to make it easy to control all survey content; that involves adding different media files to questions, skipping questions (skip logic), using a blend of open and close-ended questions and much more. In short, survey software makes survey-building easy to tailor and change. 

Make Your Own Survey With a 3-Step Process

Now that we’ve covered the bases of online survey advantages, it’s time to put survey building into action. The following elucidates the three steps, or stages, to make your survey using an online survey platform.

These steps parallel the steps required to take on the Pollfish platform dashboard; they make it easy to jumpstart your survey research campaigns. 

Beginning a New Survey Project

When you begin a new survey project, you now have three options. You must select the type most appropriate for your needs. To do so, on your survey dashboard, hover over to "Create project," the big blue button on the upper right side of the screen.  Click on it to reveal the two-option dropdown menu. These two options form the basis of your survey campaign type. The two options for creating a new survey project are:

  1. From Scratch: entails building your survey entirely on your own for custom needs.
  2. From templates: gives you various templates for building your questionnaire, which you can edit (from moving around the questions, editing the question content, adding new ones, adding media files, etc).

After choosing how you will use the Pollfish platform for your survey project, you will be prompted with the following message:

How would you like to collect responses to your survey?

Here you can choose between buying your responses and sending your survey your way. The latter refers to sending your survey across our vast network of publishers, which includes a bevy of websites, apps and mobile sites. This is part of our random device engagement, a kind of organic sampling in which surveys are distributed randomly to users of different digital spaces. This method allows respondents to take the surveys while they are in their organic environments — cutting back on survey bias.

The latter refers to the Distribution Link feature, in which you can send surveys to specific respondents, rather than through a massive network. Out of the many survey sampling methods, this is a non-probability sampling method. This means it is not random and designed to target people you either know, such as in the case of B2B surveys, or, consumers and other web users who have given you their contact information.

This feature also offers convenience sampling, in that it generates a link you can use at various digital properties to send people to your surveys. Willing respondents can then partake in your survey after coming upon your link on social media, landing pages, site pages, your homepage, etc.

Step 1: Enter all your audience qualifications

The specifics of the audience enable you to dictate the kind of respondents to take your survey. These specifications certify that the respondents who answer the survey qualify to take it. 

The audience section is twofold: it features the demographics section and the screener. The demographics section features various demographic categories. You should tick off all the boxes of categories and subcategories that you would like to study in the survey. 

These categories include everything from geolocation — from country to postal code — to employment type, marital status and many other demographic categories. You can assign quotas to each category and subcategory. Or you can set each subcategory to receive an equivalent number of responses.

make your own survey

If this wasn’t granular enough, the screener portion allows you to ratchet up your audience requirements even further. For example, you can ask behavioral questions, such as: how many times a year do you go shopping on [vertical] sites? 

Or you can ask more hyper-targeted demographics questions, such as: how many children do you have? This allows you to choose the answer(s) that allow the respondents to take the survey. 

You can also place preset quotas on the screening questions.

Pollfish offers the addition of multiple audiences for your screener. This way, you can create separate audiences in one survey and achieve any targeting combination you desire. It expands the number of quotas you can employ per survey. Essentially, it allows you to widen your audience in one survey, eliminating the need to create several.

After you’ve applied all of your audience qualifications in the demographics section and the screener, it’s time to move to Step 2.

Step 2: Establish all the questionnaire content

The questionnaire stage is the heart of the survey. This stage allows you to add all the questions that you would like qualified participants to answer. It is the content of this step that will grant you market research data. 

The survey platform you choose should allow you to choose from a variety of question types to add to your questionnaire. These are important as they control the type of survey you can create. make your own survey questionnaire

For example, in some surveys, such as Net Promoter Score surveys, you’ll need to include a numeric scale, as it is the basis for NPS surveys. In Visual Ratings surveys, emojis are required as part of the answer options.

The following lists some of the question types crucial to have in your online survey tool:

  1. Single selection 
  2. Multiple-selection
  3. Open-ended
  4. Numeric open-ended
  5. Rating stars
  6. Likert scale
  7. Matrix questions

The question types should allow for multiple functionalities, such as:

  1. Adding media files to questions (images, GIFs, videos, etc.)
  2. Shuffling answers
  3. Using batch or predefined answers
  4. Adding “none of the above”
  5. Applying logic so users can go on custom question paths depending on their answers

You should be able to regroup questions and answers at the click of a button or two for a flexible survey research experience. This section should also allow you to add in the exact size of your sampling pool, i.e., the total number of respondents. 

Additionally, this stage of the survey-making process should provide you with an estimated survey completion time, so that you will have a sense of how long it will take you to yield the number of responses that you preset.

Review all of your questions, answers, question paths and any other elements you have applied to your questionnaire. Make sure you’re not missing any questions you feel would be pertinent to your survey study.

Also, keep an eye out for spelling and grammar — these are going to go live as they appear on your dashboard. If you’re satisfied with it, then move on to Step 3.

Step 3: Set off the Survey Launch at the Check Out

make your own survey

The final step of the survey-making process is essentially the simplest one, as it doesn’t require ideating or tweaking any in-survey content. Instead, all it requires is to fill in 3 quick requirements and your survey is almost as good as live.

Here are the requirements in 3 small sections making up this final step:

  1. Enter your billing information, such as your address and credit or debit card number.
  2. Choose from 2 options on survey scheduling: either to launch your survey then and there or to schedule it.
  3. Review your payment information in the Cost Analysis; here you can add a discount code if you have one. 
  4. After you’ve reviewed the survey cost, hit the big button that reads “Submit for approval” and your survey is about to go live into the vast ecosystem of partner websites and apps that will deploy it. 

Some online survey platforms (like the Pollfish one) will include a review stage from experts before your survey officially launches. This will ensure all your content is set up to run smoothly, with no glitches, eros, or logical issues. 

There you have it; that’s all you need to do to make your survey and have it distributed to the masses. 

Please note that this process is not universal to online survey tools; rather it is used in the Pollfish platform and meant to illustrate how convenient survey software programs can be when it comes to helping you make your survey. 

make a survey

Reaping the Most out of Your Online Survey Tool

Online survey tools are exceedingly important for market research, however, there’s more to them than just survey campaigns. 

Your business ought to use secondary sources and perhaps other primary sources to bolster your survey research. This will ensure you are conducting a holistic market research campaign. 

Keep in mind that while the survey-building process delineated in this article may seem simple, all survey tools are not the same. Some will demand a much more intricate process to create your survey. Others may not even contain the function of distributing your survey.

As such, you should invest in an online survey platform that provides the most gainful survey research experience. You should opt for survey software that offers a wide range of capabilities and functions (such as the ones mentioned in this article), along with the kind that makes it easy to configure your survey and launch it.

Frequently asked questions

What are some benefits of using survey software to make your own survey?

Survey software offers many benefits to those who wish to make their own surveys. Creating surveys in this way is cost-effective, versatile, flexible, easy to use, allows for easy data analysis, provides a simple way to control respondents, allows for a variety of applications and can be administered from anywhere.

Which three steps are required to make your own survey?

In general, this simple process can be followed: 1) target your audience by defining demographics and screener questions; 2) create the survey questionnaire; 3) launch your survey.

Why is it important to define your survey audience?

In order to ensure high-quality data, you want only qualified respondents to complete your survey. By establishing the correct demographics and presetting the screener to permit only the respondents that answered in a specific way, you are set to receive the respondents that belong to your target population only.

What types of responses do survey platforms typically offer?

A good survey platform will offer a variety of question responses including single-selection, multiple-choice, text entry field, numeric, scaled and visual rating systems.

What other features should you look for when choosing a survey platform to make your own survey?

Advanced features allow you to create better questions and can result in higher quality data. The types of features you should look for include the ability to add media to questions, random shuffling of survey responses, provision of predefined answers to simplify the question writing process and skip logic.

What to Expect from an Online Survey Tool: The Pros, Cons, Applications & More

What to Expect from an Online Survey Tool: The Pros, Cons, Applications & More

The online survey tool is the foremost tool for gaining customer intelligence for various business and research purposes.

As the digital landscape expands and competition stiffens, businesses are vying for online consumers more than ever. As a matter of fact, there are between 12 million – 24 million ecommerce websites worldwide and these figures continue to rise daily. 

Tapping into the minds of customers is thus a necessity for businesses across verticals. As such, one of the most effective methods to conduct primary research on a target market is via an online survey tool.

This method systematically gathers data from respondents by inciting them to take part in various websites and mobile apps.

The internet in general is a sufficient tool for conducting secondary research. An online survey tool couples the internet as a means of distributing the survey, along with the traditional questionnaire. 

This article explores what researchers and businesses alike can expect from the online survey tool.

Defining the Online Survey Tool

This tool merges the digital space with surveys, as it is a kind of software that allows researchers to form a questionnaire, set rules on respondent qualifications and deploy the full survey across partnering websites and apps.

The survey portion of the tool often incorporates two major components: the screener and the questionnaire. The screener portion allows researchers to set conditions on who to permit to move on to the questionnaire.

It collects demographic information, as market research and virtually all others aim to study particular demographics. It also has a section for screening questions, the answers of which determine whether the respondents are qualified to take part in the survey or not.

Researchers can input any question they wish to receive a particular response. Therefore, this portion allows researchers to take a granular approach to who takes the survey. The questions can delve further into demographics, or ask about psychographic or behavioral matters.

There are several things to look for in an online survey tool. There are also various business applications of this sort of tool. In this way, brands should consider it as more than merely a vehicle for collecting question-based data.

Instead, it can provide valuable feedback on critical business matters, such as for improving marketing efforts, advertising, branding and others. 

Other Key Functions in a Survey Platform

An online survey tool doesn’t simply create and distribute surveys, not if it’s a potent one, that is. A valuable survey platform offers other functions

For example, with so many survey software available, researchers often take a dual or even multi-pronged approach for their survey research. As such, a strong survey tool will allow integrations between survey tools. This can mean acting as the third-party survey distributor of a survey created in another platform.

Another function involves creating multiple paths in a single survey, so that respondents are only channeled to questions best suited towards their answers. This involves using advanced skip logic, which routes respondents to the appropriate question based on the answer they provided. 

For example, if a question asks whether a respondent is familiar with a certain brand, they would need to be moved to a follow-up question about the brand — if they responded with “yes,” but not if they responded with “no.” The latter would require another question that better suits it logically, such as a one about awareness of a different brand. 

A strong online survey will also allow researchers to create multiple audiences within one survey. This entails that each audience type can have completely different demographics and quotas for each demographic. The purpose of using multiple audiences per survey is to gain insight across as wide a target population as possible in one interface.

Some survey campaigns will require researchers to do just that.

How Data Is Stored & Presented

Dovetailing off additional functions, an online survey tool stores data and a robust tool can extract the data into multiple formats. The platform itself serves as a database for all the surveys conducted, along with their collected information.

Some platforms enable researchers to extract survey data into various file types. For example, researchers can export their data as cross-tabs (cross-tabulation). This data presentation format allows users to aggregate data and analyze the relationships between variables. The variables are displayed in a matrix, i.e., in rows and columns in a matrix for researchers to quickly find data in corresponding cells.

There are other formats that online survey tools support can export. These include PDFs, Excel sheets and SPSS. The latter is the statistical analysis and machine learning tool from IBM. 

While these help create a more diverse survey research campaign, it is key to note that not all online survey tools include these kinds of data exports. Some may have fewer options, while others none at all.

Aside from different formats of exported files, the data displayed per each survey can also be viewed in different ways. These include tables, pie charts and column charts. These options grant researchers the ability to choose the visualizations they’re most comfortable with, or those that are best for a particular purpose. For example, presentations may require different displays than a research document. 

A practical survey platform will offer several layouts to view and store data.

The Pros

Online survey tools offer a variety of advantages for market research and research for other sectors, such as medicine, psychology, other sciences and more. Here is a list of all the benefits you can obtain from an online survey tool.

  1. Ease of data collection: The online survey tool you use does all the heavy lifting for you in many ways, including collecting participants from your target market. That means no more worrying about how you’re going to get survey respondents to take your survey.
  2. Access to a wide pool of consumers: This kind of tool (the proper variety) deploys your surveys to a massive network of internet and mobile app users. Since millions of users frequent the web every day, you can rest assured that members of your target market will be exposed to your survey.
  3. Saving time and workload: Face-to-face interviews, focus groups, phone calls and the outdated mail-in surveys take too much effort to execute. Besides being more labor-intensive, these methods will also consume a great deal of time that you could be spending on other market research efforts, such as secondary methods, along with other business matters. Online surveys free up much of the time you would otherwise spend on the above methods. 
  4. Insights into personal and sensitive topics: This does not include things like names, addresses and other identifying information. Rather, an online survey tool emboldens brands to ask more personal questions, the kinds that deal with politics, social issues and matters that are private to respondents. These kinds of questions would be discomfiting for respondents to answer face-to-face and even on the phone. But with online surveys, they are granted the confidentiality to give honest answers, including in-depth answers on sensitive matters (via open-ended questions).
  5. Easy set-up: An online survey tool makes it easy to create a survey and design it precisely to a researcher’s needs. This makes it easy to come up with question types, as this tool offers a variety of them, such as matrix questions, rating scale questions, Likert scale questions, single selection multiple-choice, multiple selection multiple-choice, open-ended questions and more. Additionally, this tool makes it easy to add media files for picture choice questions, or a picture-based question. It should make adding things like skip logic free from friction. 
  6. Projected time to complete the survey: A well-built online survey platform will eliminate the guesswork that comes with having your target audience complete a survey. It grants researchers an estimated completion time, so that you will know the approximate time it takes for all your preset survey quotas to be completed by the intended respondent base. 
  7. No cost-based geographic restrictions: This means you can send your survey across the world uninhibited. If your target market has internet access, then they can take part in your survey. Most survey tools don’t charge extra for deployment to specific geographic areas. A strong survey tool also gives you the option of setting up your survey in various languages. 

The Cons

As with other market research tools, survey platforms aren’t free of flaws. As such, business owners, marketers and researchers should understand the drawbacks present in this kind of research method. The following lists some of the stumbling blocks of using an online survey tool. 

  1. Ingenuine answers: No survey is foolproof. Sometimes, the respondents may become bored or tired when taking a survey. Thus, they provide answers that are not accurate to their real opinions and phenomena that occur around them. There are flatliners, those who answer with the same choice in a multiple-choice question consecutively across many questions. Then there are the self-explanatory rule-breakers, who break survey participation rules by lying. There are several more survey respondents to look out for
  2. Some populations have limited availability: Not all members of your target market have quality internet access. Some market segments, such as those who live in particular geographic areas have restricted internet access. This is evident in rural parts of the USA and poorer regions across the world. This can be especially difficult if you run a nonprofit and would like to learn more about a needy population. 
  3. Responses are not always representative of a population: Surveys provide valuable insights, but this data is not always representative of a targeted population. Sometimes, this will require running multiple surveys, or increasing quotas. Also, since certain consumers change their minds, a survey tool will not catch this unless there are follow-up surveys sent to the exact same users who took an initial survey. You will need to pay attention to the margin of error to avoid unrepresentative opinions. 
  4. Repeated survey requests may annoy respondents: Depending on the publisher site or app that the survey is deployed in, and the survey tool itself, there may be repeated requests to take the survey. This is bound to irritate users, which carries the risk of their ignoring the survey, or at worst, leaving the site.

When to Use an Online Survey Tool in the Market Research Process

Researchers can employ this kind of tool at virtually any point in their research process. When conducting market research, it is best to begin with sources of information already made available, aka, secondary research. This will guide your business on the happenings, trends and innovations within your sector and niche.

Moreover, you can use secondary sources to study your direct and close competitors. This includes looking at statistics websites, along with blogs, news sites, forums and others that report and cater to your industry. It is also apt to study the websites of your competitors to see how their products, service and experiences compare with yours.

After you’ve gathered a suitable amount of secondary data, you can make certain inferences on your particular marketing plans or other business goals. At this point, you’ll find some unanswered matters arising, at which point you can generate specific questions you need from your target market. This is where the survey process begins.

During this point, it would be useful to design surveys for specific campaigns and aligning the surveys with the needs of a specific campaign. 

The Verdict on the Online Survey Tool

Survey research requires surveys, as its name implies. An online survey tool is the most powerful source of primary information, because it allows researchers to ask any questions and get answers relatively quickly from their most sought-after target audience. 

This tool supplies all the privacy a respondent needs to confidently and truthfully answer much-needed research questions. Researchers can rejoice in having their surveys distributed across a massive network of online publishers where their surveys will iterate until all the quotas are met and the preset survey amount is completed

Also, since customers spend much of their time online anyway, why not approach them in their natural digital environment? Thus, despite any flaws or slight difficulties the researchers may encounter, our verdict is that an online survey tool is of the essence for a research campaign. 

Frequently asked questions

What is an online survey tool?

An online survey tool is a type of SaaS, defined as a platform that allows surveys to be created, distributed, and analyzed completely within its providing survey platform.

What are some of the extra functions included in a strong online survey platform?

Survey platforms differentiate themselves by offering additional functionality such as distribution on third-party sites or apps, advanced skip logic, the ability to create multiple audiences, and advanced data analysis tools.

What are cross-tabs?

Cross-tabs, or cross-tabulation, is a way of organizing data that allows the user to analyze and understand the relationship between variables.

What export formats should you look for when assessing an online survey tool?

Good online survey tools will offer the ability to export data in a variety of formats including, PDFs, Excel spreadsheets, CSV, and SPSS.

What are some benefits of using an online survey tool?

There are many benefits associated with online survey tools including ease of creation, distribution and data collection, access to a wide variety of participants, and lower cost than other methods of survey distribution.

How Polling Software Disproves that Polls Don't Work

How Polling Software Disproves that Polls Don't Work

polling software

Polling has a bad reputation, but polling software, when used correctly, proves that polls are predominantly accurate. 

In order to receive responses that truthfully reflect the views of a certain population, there are a few things to keep in mind on the nature of polls and survey research. When you take these matters into consideration and couple them with robust polling software, you will be poised to glean useful data that you can use to power any market research campaign.

This article will cover polling software, including instances of it having made accurate predictions, along with the key aspects to keep in mind to reap the most out of your polling efforts.

How the Right Polling Software Predicted the 2016 Presidential Election

The Pollfish polling software was able to predict Trump’s lead in several key swing states back in 2016. While most national and state polls projected Hillary Clinton to win the presidency, Pollfish was able to forecast Trump’s victory in several key states.

The platform discovered Trump’s favorability in purple states including Florida, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Ohio. It also reported Trump winning in blue states such as Wisconsin and New Hampshire, which ran counter to many state polls. These findings painted a far more accurate picture of the direction of the 2016 presidential election. 

This is due in part to the sentiment we studied using the Pollfish platform, which included measuring attitudes around each candidate’s stance on key issues. The platform showed that many of the states with Trump’s victory held his opinions on salient topics, like immigration. 

This polling software was also able to hyper-localize opinions, by amassing respondents based on their US census region, city and zip code. These capabilities, along with calculating the margin of error allowed Pollfish to extract data that was closely aligned with the 2016 presidential election.

Avoiding Inaccurate Data: The Sampling Error & the Margin of Error

Regardless of the polling software you use, by their very nature, polls do not reflect the views of everyone in your target market or subject of interest. The reason is self-evident; it is impossible to survey everyone who fits within your targeted population.

Even those who would not object to participating in a poll may not happen upon one, whether it is over the phone or online. This is especially true in random sampling, in which respondents partake in a poll by chance. As such, polling is subject to several errors.

The most common error found in polling is known as the sampling error, which comes about from using a sample of a population instead of its entirety. The sampling error itself is unknown; it relies on the margin of error for a calculation. 

The margin of error is an estimate of how much of the results of the sample may deviate from chance as compared with what the results would be like if the whole population was polled. It shows the maximum possible size of the sampling error. 

In doing so, researchers can understand the range of data, rather than one number for a truer read. For example, if polling finds that 35% of people use their phones to listen to music and the margin of error is at 5%, the statistic is then expressed as 30 to 40%.

Accurate polling requires using the correct methodology. This involves calculating the margin of error to gather more precise findings. Being able to calculate the margin of error helps researchers pinpoint the degree of variability to expect around responses. This will help gain more accurate insights — the kinds that make accurate predictions.  

Avoiding Polling Biases 

polling software

Regardless of how researchers choose to conduct polling, biases exist inadvertently. In order to disprove the myth that polling doesn’t work, you ought to understand the various biases that you are sure to encounter in the polling process. 

Avoiding these biases will help refine your polling efforts. Most importantly, using the proper polling software will help you avoid these biases by way of its capabilities. Here are the most common biases to avoid and how an online polling tool can help you circumvent them. 

Sampling Bias 

Also called the sampling error, as aforementioned, sampling bias arises when only specific portions of a population take part in a poll. Sometimes, leaving out certain segments, or only polling one is intentional, as it may be part of a targeted effort towards one segment of a target market. 

But when it’s not, it creates polling results that don’t accurately reflect all the views of the segments that make up a population.

To stamp out sampling bias: use polling software that allows you to zero in on your audience, with multiple subcategories. Make sure the software allows you to add quotas on each subcategory; that way you won’t miss the respondents who belong to this category. If you want to study a wide group of people, opt for a tool that allows you to incorporate multiple audiences

Non-Response Bias

This bias refers to the inadequate responses or a low response rate from the respondents who you’re targeting. This can include customers who have made purchases from a long time ago or those who simply do not wish to take part in polling research.

To stamp out non-response bias: Make sure the timing of the survey is not too far away from an interaction with your brand, such as a chat, a call with a customer service agent or a digital experience. You can also send it through various ways of distribution such as via a web page, social media or email. 

The proper polling survey can remedy this without trouble. This is because this kind of software (the right kind, that is) should be equipped with a response-generating capability. This will ensure that not only is your poll sent out but that it doesn’t stop making the rounds online, until it receives the preset amount of responses. 

Often, the software achieves this with quotas and an option for the total number of completes. 

Survivorship Bias 

This type of bias emerges when your polling is only completed by retained customers, clients and longstanding employees. This kind of bias is present specifically within a business survey. It gravely limits your results to people who generally have a favorable opinion of your business. Their opinions are going to differ in a number of other ways from customers who churned or bounced.

To stamp out non-response bias: software can wipe out this bias with the use of screening questions. These allow researchers to ask for specific questions, as they would in the questionnaire portion of a survey; however, the answers to these questions qualify or prevent a respondent from taking part in a poll. 

A potent online polling tool will include several screening questions so that you can diversify your survey respondents. 

Acquiescence Bias

This bias occurs when respondents repeatedly and consistently answer with positive responses or connotations. This can arise due to boredom, so rather than entirely reading a question and thinking about it, respondents just answer with “yes” by default. This can also come about out of politeness or fear of retribution in non-anonymized surveys. 

To stamp out acquiescence bias: Keep surveys relatively short and ensure your questions and answers are 

The best way to minimize the chance of acquiescence bias is to use thought-out questions and answers. You should avoid yes or no questions for this purpose as well.

Polling software is your best bet to clamp down on this bias, as it allows you to create scaled questions. This gives respondents a diverse set of answers, so they won’t feel that the answer they have in mind simply isn't there and then resort to the positive or “yes” answer. A strong polling tool will allow you to create a wide variety of scaled and ratings surveys such as the NPS, CSAT, CET and other such surveys.

Testing Your Marketing, Market Research and Other Business-Related Campaigns

Polls have a bad rep, especially those of the political variety. However, a well-built polling software can overcome any challenge present in market research, which includes gathering responses that are accurate to a specific population.

Aside from making predictions, polling software is also useful for many other market research needs, such as testing the images and messaging of an advertising campaign that’s underway, or seeing if new product releases have been useful for your customer base. 

At any rate, it is crucial to pay heed to the features of the software you seek to use. These should empower your research and help you avoid skewed results and other pitfalls. 

You should also bear in mind the various biases that exist within polling and keep track of the margin of error of any poll. When you couple these practices with robust polling software, you will be on the right track towards obtaining bias-free information that accurately reflects the thoughts of your subjects. 

Frequently asked questions

What is polling software?

Polling software is a type of computerized platform that is used to collect feedback, usually in real-time, from a wide range of people. Polling software is most frequently used to predict the results of elections.

What is a sampling error?

A sampling error is a deviation between the sample group and the actual population. Sampling error occurs when the sample does not represent the entire population or is biased in some way.

What is a margin of error?

A margin of error is a statistical measurement that predicts how many percentage points the results of a sample may differ from the actual value when considering the entire population.

How can sampling bias be avoided?

Sampling bias can be minimized or avoided by using polling software that allows you to target an audience with multiple subcategories or multiple audiences.

What is non-response bias?

Non-response bias is a type of bias that occurs when certain people cannot or will not respond to a survey for a unique reason that separates them from the rest of the population.

How to Use the New Carry Forward Feature for an Enhanced Survey Experience

How to Use the New Carry Forward Feature for an Enhanced Survey Experience

As the heart of any survey, the questionnaire must be contrived carefully so that you receive the responses most necessary for your survey research. Creating the questions themselves can be difficult, especially if you choose to create question paths. 

Pollfish is thus thrilled to present a new feature to make building the questions a much easier task: Carry Forward. This new attribute provides advanced piping capabilities to optimize your questionnaire experience. 

The Purpose of the Carry Forward Feature

As a refresher, piping is a functionality that allows users to place, aka, “pipe,” a part of a question or answer into a subsequent question or answer. 

In the Pollfish platform, piping works by taking the answer(s) from the sender question and inserting them to the receiver question. 

In the first piping iteration, researchers were able to funnel answer choices from one question to another based on respondents’ selections. The following question would carry forward answers from previously piped answers. 

The new Carry Forward feature carries (no pun intended) the function of enriching the question-building experience, as it allows you to pipe questions on more question and answer types, along with other capabilities.

This new feature helps researchers design specific questions that are more relevant to the respondent’s behavior, and more useful to their research

It functions on both selected and unselected answers. It also can be used with:

  • Matrix questions
  • Ranking questions
  • Single selection questions
  • Multiple selection questions

Laying Out the Carry Forward Capabilities

Multiple Selection Questions

Along with carrying forward selected answers, this feature allows researchers to carry forward all the answers that the respondent did not select. 

In the case of a multiple selection question, for example, the feature can carry forward the unselected answers into the receiver question. 

Due to this, when a responder selects all the answers and proceeds, there will be no answer to carry forward, as there are no remaining unselected answers. For this precise reason, the Pollfish platform has developed a validation which exists as a dialogue box. 

This pop-up allows the researcher to know that the Carry Forward feature cannot support this case, as it only works if at least one answer is unselected. This is due to the condition that unselected answers cannot be carried forward if all the answers have been selected.

Advanced Logic

This can be used in tandem with advanced logic, allowing you to augment your survey with multiple layers. 

Enabling advanced logic (ADL) can trigger questions without forwarded answers. For example, when Carry Forward is enabled but a respondent skipped the sender question, the respondent will then be routed to a question without Carry Forward answers

Pollfish has also added front end validation that disables the researchers from proceeding with the previous structure. 

Sender questions with either the “None of the above” or “Other” option must be structured correctly, that is, with multiple selection questions. If these aren’t added to the proper question, there will be pop-up error messages.

Carry Forward Answers that Contain Media

If the Carry Forward answer type is the same or similar to the source (question) type, such as: 

  • single to single, 
  • multiple to multiple, 
  • single to multiple, etc.,

then the platform will carry forward the media files together with the answers.

In other cases, such as different types between sender & receiver questions, there are certain conditions and rules that dictate how Carry Forward will work.

How to maneuver Carry Forward answers which contain media:

  • If the Carry Forward answer type is the same or similar (single, multiple) to the source type ? the media will be carried forward.
  • If the Carry Forward answer type doesn’t support media then:
    • The text will be carried forward if the source answer contains both text and media. 
    • Carry Forward will not be supported if the source answer contains only media. 

How to Add Carry Forward to Your Questionnaire

In order to add the Carry Forward feature, you’ll need to enter the questionnaire portion of the survey first (after completing the audience section). You’ll also need to have your questions and answers in mind. 

You can add Carry Forward when you begin the questionnaire, as you’ll need at least two questions to use this feature, the sender and receiver question. You can also implement it to an existing questionnaire. 

  1. Find the Carry Forward option at the left panel of the questionnaire.
  2. Find a sender and a receiver question you wish to apply the CF feature to. This can be in any order. For example, you can use Question 1 as the sender question and Question 2 as the receiver question. 
  3. Enable this via the receiver question and select “Carry Forward” and then the selected or unselected answers from a previous question (the sender question). 

What Carry Forward Supports Vs. What It Does Not Support

There are certain conditions that need to be met in order to apply the Carry Forward function. There are certain circumstances in which your questions will not be able to implement Carry Forward. 

What it supports:

  1. Carry Forward can be used with single/ multiple/ ranking/ matrix questions when they are designed as receiver questions.
    1. When you carry forward a matrix question, there’s an additional option to narrow the choices based on selected columns, unselected columns, rows for selected columns, rows for unselected columns, and columns for specific rows.
  2. It is supported by single, multiple, open-ended, numeric, ranking, matrix, slider and OE when they are set up as sender questions.
  3. The researcher can carry forward all the questions that the respondent didn’t select. 
  4. There is simultaneous support of advanced logic and Carry Forward.
  5. It supports Order/ Shuffle answers for funneling questions. 

What it doesn’t support:

  1. Carry Forward cannot be used with description questions, Net Promoter Score (NPS) surveys and visual ratings surveys.
  2. It does not support screening questions and therefore cannot be used in them.
  3. It does not support the option of “Group and Randomize.”

Note: Closing off, you should know that responses that are carried forward will be treated the same as other answer choices on the results page.

We suggest you preview your survey design before submitting the survey itself. Try it out!