Three Ways to Improve Online Verbatim Data
Good open-ended questions and thoughtful responses to these questions can yield amazingly rich and insightful data. But given the generally poor quality of responses to open-ended question in mail surveys, some have speculated that open-ended questions in online surveys would suffer a similar fate.
Research seems to show this is not the case. Further, a study just published in the Summer 2009 issue of Public Opinion Quarterly outlines three ways that we can improve the quality of responses in on-line surveys:
- Make the boxes in which respondents type their answers larger
- Explain to respondents that their answers can exceed the size of the box
- Tell respondents how valuable their input is, and encourage thoughtful answers to each open-ended question
These simple techniques will encourage respondents to give more complete, detailed, and thoughtful answers to our questions, yielding rich and insightful data.
—Joe Hopper, Ph.D.