Prolific surveys – Building surveys that yield meaningful data

Prolific surveys – Building surveys that yield meaningful data

Surveys are a valuable tool for gathering insights into people’s opinions, experiences, and more. However, creating effective surveys that yield meaningful data requires thoughtfulness and care. As a survey platform, Prolific enables researchers to connect with diverse, quality participants in field surveys that lead to impactful discoveries.

The first step in creating an effective survey is to clearly define your goals. What questions do you want to answer? How will you use the results? Get very clear on the insights you’re hoping to gain. Equally important is understanding your target demographic. Researchers easily find niche, representative samples through Prolific’s diverse participant pool. Consider factors like age, gender, ethnicity, income level, education, location, and more to determine your ideal respondents. Defining goals and audience sets the foundation for impactful survey questions.

Crafting engaging survey questions

With goals and audience defined, carefully craft each survey question to capture meaningful data.

  • Avoid leading or loaded questions that influence responses. Stick to neutral wording.
  • Use simple, clear wording easily understood across education levels.
  • Limit the use of open-ended questions as these take more effort to analyze. Use strategically when seeking qualitative insights.
  • Use a variety of question types like multiple choice, scales, rankings, and more to add engagement.
  • Logically order questions in coherent sections or group-related questions.
  • Use skip logic rather than asking irrelevant questions based on previous responses.
  • Keep surveys concise. Long surveys lead to survey fatigue and unreliable data.
  • Test questions with a small group to identify any confusion before fielding at large.

The care put into crafting questions significantly impacts the reliability and depth of data collected. Well-written, strategic questions drive impactful discoveries.

Balancing compensation and data quality

An in-depth prolific surveys review allows researchers to compensate participants with cash rewards upon successful survey completion. However, compensation must align with estimated effort to yield the highest quality data. These guidelines help strike the right balance:

  • Compensate above minimum wage rates per estimated time. This incentivizes effort.
  • Avoid overpaying as it attracts professional survey takers just doing it for cash.
  • For surveys estimated to take 5 minutes, £6 per hour is recommended by Prolific. Increase pay for longer surveys.
  • Use built-in attention checks to validate respondent effort and discard low-quality data.
  • Leverage Prolific’s built-in tools like time limits on questions.

Following these compensation best practices significantly improves result accuracy and depth while maintaining budget.

Testing and optimizing

With your initial survey ready, conduct a soft launch with a small group to identify issues before full distribution. Request participant feedback on the survey experience to catch problems like:

  • Unclear wording or confusing questions
  • Technical issues like formatting abnormalities
  • Very lengthy sections testing patience
  • Insufficient compensation for time required

It’s normal to overlook issues that an outside perspective will catch quickly. Use early feedback to optimize the survey and improve the participant experience. Continuously test and enhance the survey even after launch to yield increasingly meaningful data over time. The iterative process of survey improvement never stops.

Deriving powerful insights

After closing the survey and downloading the raw data, rigorous analysis uncovers the most powerful insights.

  • Comparing key stats across audience groups and questions to spot key trends.
  • Running statistical significance testing on differences uncovered between groups.
  • Analyzing verbatim open-ended responses to understand the ‘why’ behind sentiments.
  • Creating compelling data visualizations that quickly communicate findings.

The Linkedin article on Prolific Surveys platform provides built-in tools that facilitate effectiveness across the entire survey lifecycle, so researchers focus their energy on the discovery process itself.

Danny Legge