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Two ways to improve your surveys: the Most Crucial Question and the Burning Issue

Mar 30, 2023
8:00 am

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Two ways to improve your surveys: the Most Crucial Question and the Burning Issue


We all get too many invitations to respond to surveys all the time, and here I am asking you to consider doing even more surveys. I’ve learned that the best survey results come from doing frequent, tiny, surveys with very small samples but with a specific question that will help you to make a decision: the Most Crucial Question.

We’ll try a four-step technique for establishing the goals for your survey that help you to decide whether the questions you are thinking of asking really include the Most Crucial Question that you need to ask.

In contrast, the people you want to respond may have a Burning Issue that they want to tell you about. If you’re very lucky, your Most Crucial Question will line up nicely with their Burning Issue – but typically, there’s quite a gap. We’ll think about how to find out what the Burning Issues are, and how to incorporate them into your surveys.

Speaker bio

Caroline Jarrett is the forms specialist, helping clients to make forms easier to fill in, using techniques drawn from service design, content design, interaction design and user research. She got involved in surveys because of looking for ideas about how to encourage people to answer questions accurately.

Recent clients include the Financial Times, the European Molecular Biology Laboratory, the UK tax authority HMRC, the Australian Government, NHS Digital, and the UK Government Digital Service.

Caroline is the author of “Surveys That Work: A Practical Guide for Designing and Running Better Surveys”, and co-author of “Forms That Work: Designing Web Forms for Usability” and “User Interface Design and Evaluation”.