In February 2013, we started working on a project called ‘Revival of Surveys‘. A great name, for an even greater challenge! In line with our InSites Congress theme, the scope of this project was to rethink surveys and to level up! This project started with an internal leverage phase which confirmed that it was time to revive surveys on three dimensions.
1. From boredom to engagement
Online surveys are part of an online engaging environment. Online, everything is interactive, engaging and gamified. Yet, filling out online surveys is not a very engaging activity and participants are ultimately always only one-click away from exiting our surveys. Furthermore, it is getting harder and harder to attract participants and response rates are declining every day.
We thus need to level up the engagement level of our participants, because we believe that engaged participants lead to better and richer responses and will help us attract new respondents for future research. When trying to understand engagement, it is important to recognize the concept of motivation. Motivation can be explained by the ‘Self-determination’ theory which shows that motivation is a continuum going from non-motivation at one end over extrinsic motivation to intrinsic motivation at the other end. In survey research, participants are rather located on the left side of the continuum, where they are mainly driven by external factors to participate in research. Our goal should be to move participants to the right side of this continuum, where their engagement is driven by internal factors.
2. From solitary to conversation
Filling out surveys is a rather a-social activity where participants cannot interact with other participants. Researchers often still believe surveys take place in an experimental environment, while we know that a lot of surveys are filled out when people are also doing something else simultaneously (e.g. when watching television, while talking to others).
Consumer decisions are always taken in a social setting and therefore it is important to include this dimension in survey research. Including a social dimension in research, where participants see the answers and results of others and can start a discussion, allows getting a richer and greater understanding.
3. From quarantine to consumer context
In reality a lot of decisions are taken in a certain context or occasion (e.g. in a store, at home..) and it is important to grasp the context consumers are in when, for example, they are using a certain product or brand. Traditional surveys give us the numbers that form the basis for our decision making; linking these with user-generated content (pictures, interpretations…) can provide us with a greater and richer understanding.
Thus the survey of the future, in our perspective, should provide you with the numbers and quantification you are looking for, together with an understanding of the consumer context.
Capturing the above, we developed a set of new tools and task-based elements that provide us with content, context, engagement and conversation. Curious to find out more about the details of our new tools, story and cases…? Read our full paper on Collaborating beyond responding: