Polls are a great way to gain valuable information about something very specific. However most polls aren’t very effective – for several reasons.
If you want to run an online poll that is actually effective and able to obtain useful and meaningful data – there are a few tips that you should try to follow:
- Don’t confuse polls and surveys
Always remember that a poll is a single multiple-choice question that is used to gather data about that one specific thing. Anything more than a single question is a survey.
The difference between polls and surveys is important. However what is more important is that you don’t advertise a survey as a poll (or vice versa) as that will lead to fewer responses.
- Make sure the question in the poll is not leading
Seeing as your poll hinges on a single question, it is important that it isn’t a leading question. If it is then the accuracy of the answers (and therefore your entire poll) will be compromised.
The best poll questions are completely neutral, and do not imply or suggest a response in any way. As a rule you should avoid hypotheticals that may implicitly contain an opinion one way or another, and also steer clear of emotional or absolute words.
- Keep the question short and clear
The question that you ask in your poll should be short, and its meaning must be clear. If people are confused about what you’re asking, the answers you obtain may be based on an inaccurate perception of the question.
Questions that are shorter and less embellished are also less likely to contain language that is leading.
By keeping the question short you can avoid inadvertently combining two questions into one – which could affect how meaningful the data ends up. If your poll question contains an ‘and’ or ‘or’ in it, you should carefully check that it is really a single question and not two rolled into one.
- Provide a complete and balanced set of answers
The answers in your poll should be balanced to avoid any response bias being introduced into them. Skewing answers in a certain direction will make it more likely for the responses to be skewed in that direction as well.
For example: ‘Very good, good, and bad’ are skewed in a positive direction. A more balanced set of answers would be ‘Very good, good, bad, and very bad’.
To make sure your answers are complete, you should cater to responses that may be outside of the options that you’ve listed. In particular adding an ‘Other’ option or one for ‘None of the above’ can help, and the former could even pave the way to a more detailed response.
As you can imagine if you want to run an online poll you need to be able to create one and customize its structure and design. That is often a stumbling block for many people, but there are platforms that can make it easier such as AidaForm Online Form Builder, for example.
If you take advantage of the tips listed above, you should be able to create and run far more effective online polls. Not only will they help you to get more responses, but they will ensure that the data you do gather is more accurate and useful as well.