Whole numbers or ranges?

When we write surveys, we often have to make a choice for dollar or frequency questions. We can ask for a precise number such as:

How many times have you visited any of our stores in the past twelve months prior to your most recent visit? (Please enter a number from 0-365)

Or we can ask for an accurate range such as:

1-2 times
3-5 times
6-10 times
Over 10 times

With the typed in field, it's unlikely a respondent can provide a quick answer. Instead they have to stop in their tracks, attempt to mentally tally, and then still throw a guess into the field. Interestingly, the people who will be most inconvenienced by this question are not the first time shoppers, but the more frequent customers.

While the ranges still involve a pause and tally, if you construct good options for your audience they'll quickly zero in on one or two that feel about right. Then it's just a quick mental check to see which is the best fit. Because you're asking for them to select within a range, this tends to produce an answer which is more accurate than the single value.

Whenever you have this type of question, take a moment to ponder whether the "precise" approach is really going to get you the best quality information or whether you'll be well served by another method.

Need a Hand?

A little help can add a lot of polish—or just save hours and headaches:

(206) 399-2344 Download VCard LinkedIn Profile

Ann worked with us on an accelerated project... helping us ‘soup to nuts’ in defining our research objectives, methodology, survey design and ‘out of the box’ survey promotion ideas. She was a very fast learn, interacted beautifully with our client, and truly delivered on all commitments... exceeding expectations in a very short time period.

Bruce Scheer
Partner, CMO