March 5-6, 2019

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Writing Better Questionnaires: How to Identify and Fix Biases and Communication Errors in Your Surveys (45-minutes session)

Room 2 | 11:30-12:00 | Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Writing a questionnaire is arguably one of the most challenging forms of writing. It is a conversation between you and hundreds – and often thousands – of diverse respondents. The conversation may take 15, 30 or even 45 minutes. Every single question has to be written so that each of these diverse respondents understands each question exactly the same way, can recall the information you are asking about and will answer accurately and without bias. Unlike a live conversation, however, you are not there to clarify ambiguities or keep respondents from dropping out.

Writing a high-quality questionnaire is far more challenging than we admit. Too many of our questionnaires are too long and poorly written, resulting in bias, measurement error, high dropout rates and increased costs. In the end, we misunderstand our customers and markets and often make poor decisions. David F. Harris, author of The Complete Guide to Writing Questionnaires, will present several examples of questions that have problems you probably don’t see and he will show you how to fix them. He will present data from experiments that will show you how to reduce bias and improve your ability to communicate with respondents. He will give you guidelines that you can use immediately to start writing better questionnaires and get better information for decision-making.


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