This morning I was asked to do a survey on backups by a friend of a friend who is doing an MBA project. An interesting topic and one that is close to my heart as a small business owner who has had two issues in the past four years that I only survived because I run regular backups.
One of the basic principals of building Web survey questions is that the options for answering have to cover ALL POSSIBLE responses – not just the responses you think are most likely.
So with that background, here’s the bad survey question of the day:
Q: How long can you survive without the data and applications on your computer?
- A few hours
- A day
- A few days
- More than a few days
My answer to this question is: I CAN’T SURVIVE!!!
Seriously, in my business I need my data and applications every moment. But I didn’t have an option to present that opinion, and I probably answered all the other questions in a different way because this is so critical to me – which the surveyers won’t be able to segment.
This question could have been easily fixed by asking “How else could someone answer this question?” With the one exception that I had, it’s a pretty complete list. So maybe they could have realised they were missing my answer if they had just taken a moment to think about completeness.
In general, adding an “Other” category allows you to quickly learn that you have missed something – a great best practice because even the best researcher doesn’t know all the options.