For many people, nothing is more intimidating than a blank sheet of paper. This is certainly true for product managers tasked with writing questions for a market survey. Whether you are a beginner or expert, writing survey questions from scratch can be daunting because there are so many factors to consider.
Fortunately, survey templates are available to give you a jump start. Templates corresponding with a product team’s most common research objectives help you get over any writer’s block you may be feeling and quickly build a high-quality survey. In this third blog in the beginner’s series, we’ll guide you through the process of selecting a template so that you can get to analyzing valuable market data in a flash.
You can read A Beginner’s Introduction to Product Research to start at the beginning of the blog series.
Learning objective drives research questions
Before you can select a template, you must first define your research objective. What is it you want to learn by surveying consumers? Typically, this is determined by your high-level business goals.
We recommend you set only one learning objective for each survey. This helps to keep your research survey short (we recommend no more than ten questions) and focused, which ensures that participants provide quality responses from beginning to end. If you have multiple objectives, you can break them down into separate surveys. After all, part of the point of using a research platform is being able to get feedback more often.
As you formulate your objective, we recommend you consider these factors:
- Who is going to use the research results?
- What is their perspective on the business problem?
- What specific decision do you want to make based on research results?
Challenges writing test questions
With an established objective, normally you would proceed to write questions. Writing questions from scratch can be difficult because there are myriad factors to consider −including question progression, eliminating bias, selecting the best response type (yes/no, scale, rank order, etc.), minimizing participant fatigue, and collecting data that satisfies your objective. Experienced researchers deal with these issues for a living. Product managers typically do not!
That’s why a robust research platform will contain templates created by research experts. Templates are prebuilt to address all these factors. They provide a solid foundation of questions that you can tailor to your particular product or service.
Product teams have common learning objectives
Most product teams have similar objectives, regardless of industry and company size. This is what makes templates so powerful. Feedback Loop, for example, is specifically designed as a product research platform. It’s unsurprising therefore our templates allow you to leverage a set of questions that are field-proven to generate product insights in situations similar to yours.
While you may need to adapt some questions to the specifics of your industry, a well-constructed template will still remove most of the work.
How to find the best templates for product research?
The answer to this question depends upon your vehicle for conducting research. For example, if you are surveying your existing customer base using Google Forms or other generic tools, you can leverage templates available on the web. Alternatively, a market research agency that conducts focus groups likely maintains a library of templates it uses for interviews.
Research technology platforms use technology to automate the task of developing a consumer audience, formulating questions, executing the survey, and analyzing results (See A Beginner's Introduction to Research to learn more). These systems include a template library corresponding to their area of expertise. For example, Feedback Loop specializes in product research and offers templates corresponding to these common learning objectives of product teams:
Explore consumers’ behavior and understand the problems they are looking to solve. This template can be used in the beginning phases of a product lifecycle to identify areas of opportunity.
Evaluate initial responses to a new concept or offering and gauge what resonates most and least with consumers. Running a series of these tests with different concepts allows you to iterate on your solution while ensuring that you can benchmark results with standardized questions.
Identify the features that resonate most and least with consumers. This feedback can inform the level of priority you associate with each feature while surfacing opportunities for new features.
Product naming ideation
Identify the most popular product name options amongst consumers. This feedback helps you make informed naming decisions as well as generate new name ideas.
Improve clarity in messaging by evaluating how well consumers understand terms and phrases in your messaging or designs.
Get feedback on the clarity and usability of your designs by asking what consumers think different buttons and icons mean.
Ad visuals testing
Test static ad content, such as a brochure, leaflet, banner, or poster, and gauge what resonates across several dimensions.
Test a screen or image in order to learn what UI elements resonate most and least with consumers. You can upload a screenshot of a window or section of the page you’d like feedback on.
Position new concepts or images head-to-head and gauge which resonates most and least with consumers. This template exposes up to four different concepts in a randomized order and asks a series of follow-up closed and open-ended questions to capture which concept is ultimately preferred and, importantly, why.
Download the Survey Template Cheatsheet
Templates accelerate survey development
A template typically includes draft questions and responses that you can quickly edit to suit your product or service. If the template has been well-constructed by expert researchers, questions will be phrased to eliminate bias and ordered to minimize fatigue and maximize engagement.
When the templates are embedded in a research technology platform, that platform will assist the survey creator with survey design and presentation. This helps ensure that participants can quickly and easily understand questions and respond with insightful feedback. When the template questions include visuals, the platform also handles the presentation of graphic files that you upload to the platform, aligning the images with questions for readability.
Don’t write survey questions from scratch
If you’re a research beginner, writing your own survey questions from scratch isn’t just daunting. It can also degrade the quality of your results by introducing problems from low response rates to invalid data. Instead, leverage a field-proven survey template that is aligned with your research objective. Templates reliably produce quality results for product teams.
When you leverage a research technology platform, templates are included with the service, giving you a turn-key solution that automates every step of the process for fast, high-quality results.