How to Estimate the Length of a Survey
In Versta Research’s Winter 2011 Newsletter, published just this week, we describe a simple method for estimating how long it will take respondents to complete surveys.
Here we offer the “Versta Digest” version as a handy reference card. Once you get the hang of it, you don’t need the examples and explanation. You just need to know the rules. We recommend reading the full article first, so you know what we’re talking about when it comes to “points.” Then, when you need a refresher or a reference source, consult these rules:
- One point for each simple question or scaled response
- One point for every two response options in a multiple choice question
- One point for each row in a grid question
- Two points for any response that requires mental calculation
- Three points for every short response to an open-ended question
- One point for every three sentences of extra text that respondents must read
- Tally up the points
- Divide by 8 for online survey length (in minutes)
- Divide by 8 then multiply by 1.5 for phone survey length (in minutes)
The system is straightforward, easy to learn, and easy to execute. It is a method that really works and that we have validated against hundreds of different types of surveys over the past several years.
Once you know how to determine survey length, you can think more strategically about the ideal survey length to optimize the value and content of a survey within your budget. Call us at 312-348-6089 with any additional assistance you may need.
—Joe Hopper, Ph.D.