The Long Survey Will Be Replaced By the Sparse Survey

Guest post by Jeffrey Henning. Jeffrey Henning, PRC, is president of Researchscape International. He is a Director at Large on the Marketing Research Institute International’s Board of Directors. You can follow him on Twitter @jhenning. Ray Poynter argues that the long survey will be replaced by ongoing discussions, in-the-moment research, and observational data. I think it is far more likely that the long survey will be replaced by another type of survey. This is much less of a change for corporate researchers and research agencies than shifting to radically different methodologies. Researchers today are very comfortable with developing long and complex surveys. And of course an entire industry exists providing access to panelists who will take surveys. Long surveys, however, produce lower quality results than shorter surveys, as Ray points out. Respondents tire, and begin satisficing, providing less accurate answers as survey length increases. Respondents who stick with a long survey often differ in key ways from the target demographic; this bias is exaggerated even further when researchers throw out incomplete responses. Respondents are increasingly taking surveys on mobile devices, where long surveys get even longer as compound questions such as matrix or grid questions get rendered as a series […]