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Don't (survey)monkey around: Learn to make your surveys work

How to avoid traps and errors so you get engaged respondents, actionable feedback & accurate results from your surveys
3.9 (35 ratings)
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1,117 students enrolled
Last updated 9/2015
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  • 2 hours on-demand video
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► More than 30 minutes of FREE PREVIEWS below to see if this course is for you!


** Updated June 2016 **

You just created a survey for your customers, members, employees, or students - that's great! Now comes the hard part: trying to get a lot of people to fill it out and give meaningful comments so you have valid and useful results. But since most people ignore surveys and those that bother filling them out often skip over important instructions, make rating errors, and write vague and unhelpful comments, what meaningful decisions can you really make from these misleading results?

Where do you go for answers? If you have a LOT of time or a LOT of money, you can do what most people do:

1. Search the Internet. Spend hours and days reading what works for other people - which leads to conflicting opinions and misleading answers.

2. Ask your colleagues. Everyone has an opinion, right? Ask enough people and you'll end up with many situation-specific answers that don't work for you and a lengthy survey that few people will fill out.

3. Call in the experts. Pay someone else to improve your survey - which costs $ and eats up your time. Frustrating because you know you could have done it yourself!

► Let me offer a far better alternative: Enroll in this course to get expert advice you can quickly apply yourself.

The Survey Doctor is here to give your survey a quick tune-up! Get out the survey you are working on and let me share research-tested solutions and insights that you can immediately apply to your survey items, scales, and instructions that will yield interpretable results to take correct action. In fact, these are the same tactics that I have used to improve surveys and evaluation forms created at 650 colleges, training organizations and Fortune 500 companies. But once you join the Udemy community you won't have to pay my fees or travel expenses! :)

Within a couple hours you will be able to:

  • Ask the RIGHT questions in the RIGHT way to get interpretable results
  • Dramatically boost response rates (without paying anyone!)
  • Get relevant and actionable written comments from respondents you can use
  • Engage people to WANT to fill out your survey
  • Eliminate costly incentives and "survey fatigue"
  • Smile with confidence and satisfaction knowing that all the efforts you put into creating your survey will now yield huge returns and valid results
Who is the target audience?
  • You play a role in creating/administering/analyzing web-based or paper-based surveys for members, clients, prospects, students, instructors, alumni, employees, or other key respondents
  • You want to improve some aspect of your surveys, such as: (1) get higher response rates, (2) collect more meaningful and clear results, (3) spend less time and money on incentives, (4) generate more useful and actionable written comments, or (5) get more participation and enthusiasm from respondents
  • NOTE: This course may not be necessary if the results of your surveys are not the basis for important decisions (e.g., you only do quick “doodle polls” to check available meeting times)
  • NOTE: This course may not be necessary if your past survey efforts have all yielded high response rates, meaningful and interpretable results, and you have no trouble getting people to fill out your surveys again and again
  • NOTE: This is not a course about "how to make a million dollars sitting at home filling out surveys!"
Students Who Viewed This Course Also Viewed
What Will I Learn?
Avoid the 5 devastating errors made by nearly all survey creators that discourage respondents and muddy your results
Avoid the 5 major traps that are built-in to SurveyMonkey, Qualtrics, Survey Gizmo, and other survey-creation tools
Craft instructions/email invites/survey items that inspire people to give deep and meaningful feedback that you can take action on
Dramatically increase response rates on your surveys
Learn expert tactics unknown to most experts (e.g., response scales mismatched to survey items, survey flow)
Learn the best ways to incentivize respondents (hint: all of them are free!)
Recognize the difference between survey items that yield interpetable and meaningful results, and those that do not
View Curriculum
  • Would be ideal to be familiar with one of the web-based survey creation tools available, such as SurveyMonkey, Survey Gizmo, QuestionPro, SmartSurvey, etc. (NOTE: course content will apply to paper-based surveys but many examples are from web-based surveys)
  • You have created at least one paper-based or web-based survey; Or you have created MANY surveys (e.g., it’s one of your job duties)
  • Be ready to learn insights and solutions that will put you in the upper 1% of all survey creators!
Curriculum For This Course
Expand All 18 Lectures Collapse All 18 Lectures 01:56:51
What will I learn in this course?
2 Lectures 18:53

This lecture answers the question "Is this course for me?" and describes the 3 areas of content in this course:

  • "Devastating errors" that ruin all your efforts
  • The traps found in your survey tools that reduce response rate
  • The tactics that will make you the Survey Guru at your organization
Preview 13:40

This lecture summarizes the 5 devastating errors discussed in detail in the next section. By identifying and removing these errors your surveys will draw attention, your response rates will increase, and your respondents (e.g., members, employees, customers, students) will provide richer and more meaningful feedback.

What are "devastating errors" and how to avoid them
5 ways to make people ignore your surveys
6 Lectures 28:02

Surveys often ask us for feedback on things that can't be changed anyway. Here are some examples to avoid so as not to annoy or disappoint your target audience.

What NOT to ask on your survey - part 1

Surveys often ask us for answers that are already obvious or should be known. Here are some examples to avoid so as not to make your target audience feel like a number.

What NOT to ask on your survey - part 2

This video alone will give you huge results - how to generate meaningful honest and actionable feedback on your comment boxes.

Preview 11:30

A true Survey Ninja skill to learn! Even many experts make this error that causes their surveys to lose so much useful information. Here is how to identify and fix these errors.

Asking the right questions in the wrong way

Response rates plummet when you have too many purposes in the same survey. Here are alternatives to incorporate in your surveys.

The problem with multiple purposes

Wow, you are in the top 10% of all survey creators and nearly a survey guru already! Here is a summary of all that you have learned so far.

Summary of the 5 devastating errors
5 avoidable traps found in your web-based survey creation tools
6 Lectures 31:51

This lecture summarizes the 5 "traps" that nearly all web-based survey tools unknowingly incorporate into their products. By choosing their defaults or not being careful, your response rates will be lower and your results less interpretable. Here is a summary of these traps.

What are "traps" and how to work around them

Here it is, the most annoying feature found in any web-based survey tool. Using this default feature is guaranteed to make your response rates plummet. Here are several alternatives.

The #1 way that survey tools make your response rate plunge

A common trap - and one that is even mistakenly preached by web-based survey companies as a best practice! - is including the Not Applicable option. Here I give examples of when to include and NOT include on your survey.

Preview 03:40

If we want your people (e.g., your members, employees, customers, students) to ever respond to your NEXT survey, we must incorporate these ideas into the confirmation page of your surveys.

Confirmation pages - the rarely used opportunities

Ah, another Survey Ninja insider tip! Even the experts miss this one and this trap is baked into most survey tools. Here is how to avoid it.

Mismatches between survey items and response scales

It is so important to consider your survey to be a conversation with your respondents in order to avoid this trap. Here are examples to help keep you on the path.

Unnecessary complexity baked into your survey tools
"Beyond Expert" tactics to put you in the top 1% of survey creators
3 Lectures 33:12

Wow - you are already in the top 5% of all survey creators and on the cusp of being a Survey Guru! Here are even more tactics that even experts overlook.

Preview 02:37

Here is the lesson that I have taught to hundreds of organizations, often saving them thousands of dollars spent on useless incentives. Hope this sparks some ideas for you.

Incentives that work & popular ones that don't (and cost a ton of money & time!)

So often overlooked is the messaging throughout the survey process - email invitations, instructions at the top of the survey, explanations within the survey, etc. We need to take time to craft these messages to engage our audience.

Instructions that engage people to WANT to fill out your surveys
Ah... NOW you can launch that survey with huge confidence!
1 Lecture 04:53

Surprise! A gift for you to continue the work we've started together.

Next Steps
About the Instructor
4.0 Average rating
42 Reviews
1,263 Students
2 Courses
The Survey Doctor

For two decades, Matthew Champagne, Ph.D. has influenced survey and feedback practices in learning organizations worldwide as a senior research fellow, university professor, theorist, serial entrepreneur, and in-demand speaker. He has authored more than 75 articles, books and how-to guides with practical solutions to create high-quality survey instruments and processes that have been implemented at more than 600 organizations. Dr. Champagne's theories and research spawned the web-based course evaluation industry in higher education and he helped create many of the innovative web-based technologies used today to improve the quality of training and customer service.

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