How to create more inclusive surveys

How to create more inclusive surveys

In this article we will review:

Inclusive surveys creation is a strategy to better serve people from various backgrounds and situations, like ability, gender, religion, age, education, socioeconomic status, quality of life, and others. It is concerned with the language and accessibility of a survey.

Inclusion is one of the factors that contribute to the elimination of systemic inequalities in a wide range of industries and the creation of new jobs. Furthermore, this factor can be used to create higher-quality surveys.

The best surveys are designed to be inclusive, from the language to the respondent experience. This generally entails surveying with empathy, respect, and clear motives. When you think about asking respondents about things like religious affiliation, sexuality, or gender identity, you create an inclusive survey. Or when you plan the path your respondents will take through your survey and why or when they may feel excluded. These small gestures make a big difference, and they help survey creators develop the habit of thinking broadly.

Tips to help you create more inclusive surveys

While there is no set formula for creating an inclusive survey, some general guidelines exist. Here are a few pointers to get you started on creating inclusive surveys.

Pay attention to your demographic questions

Demographic questions focus on your respondents’ identities (e.g. age, race, gender, sexual orientation, and income). Including them in your surveys can help you better understand them.

However, these questions can feel personal, particularly those concerning diversity, equity, and inclusion. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t ask them—it just means you should be clear about why and how you’ll use the information. Knowing this will assist you in developing better questions that are motivated by intention.

For example, you can create a question about belonging to a specific sexual orientation group using strong wording and a yes/no response. However, you may overlook one of the categories, resulting in an awkward situation and confusion for the other person. One of the most effective ways to address this issue is to include blank fields where the respondent can enter their response. It will also broaden the scope of the survey. Furthermore, you can use the data from empty fields to generate answers in the future.

Remember that you must always be upfront about the reasons for collecting specific demographic information. It is worth noting that most people will share such details regardless, but they will be more willing to do so if you explain why you need such information and how specifically their answers will be used. This is where you should provide some context before the survey, revealing its purpose and making it more accessible to all respondents. For example, suppose you state that all demographic information will be used to improve work organisation with a client audience. In that case, you will significantly increase the number of respondents who will truthfully fill out such surveys.

Explain why you’re asking demographic questions.

While some respondents may not be hesitant to answer demographic questions, others will be more willing to share that information if they understand your motivations and how their responses will be used. You can accomplish this with a simple survey introduction that explains the topic and purpose of your survey.

Context is vital. A bookstore that asks survey participants about their sexual orientation or gender identity, for example, may have an easier time if there is some indication that the information will be used to stock merchandise relevant to its customers or to plan community programming.

Don’t mandate respondents to answer all questions

Nobody enjoys being asked an awkward question. In this regard, mandatory questions are impossible to create because they discourage respondents from completing the entire survey. According to available statistics, 27% of respondents will refuse the survey if they discover they cannot skip one or more questions. As a result, mandatory questions severely limit your sample of results because you will receive far less data.

Due to this, to attract more survey respondents, you must provide the option of skipping questions. This demonstrates respect for their boundaries and values, making the survey more inclusive and exciting.

Explore the skip logic

Skip logic allows you to direct respondents to a specific question or page based on how they respond to a survey question. This survey feature generates personalised survey experiences in which respondents only see questions that are relevant to them. This is particularly useful when creating inclusive surveys.

Assume you ask your respondents for their religious affiliation, and one respondent selects “Islam.” If you go ahead and ask about their favourite Christmas tradition or how frequently they attend Church, that respondent may likely feel ignored or unwelcome. They may even abandon your survey if they encounter such irrelevant questions.

You can use skip logic to personalise their survey experience and ensure their time and responses are valued. Furthermore, this feature will assist you in gaining a better understanding of respondents’ backgrounds and experiences, allowing you to create future surveys based on those insights.

Watch your language

Language is a powerful tool, and it is critical to use it correctly. Incorrectly spoken phrases can seriously offend someone or completely turn them off from taking the survey. As a result, you must use inclusive language in your surveys. This entails using language with diversity, respect for all people around them, and sensitivity to their differences.

At the same time, there are numerous ways to apply this approach in practice. As an example:

  • Always keep historical context and implications in mind.

We cannot always predict how common phrases and words will be received. For example, when developing services based on “traditional methods,” they may refer to a racist story that will be offensive to a particular group of users.

Avoid slang and idioms by using only the most specific wording that is equally understandable and neutral to all users.

  • Stop focusing on specific ideas and concepts.

Your survey should not establish a single correct or “normal” point of view. To show respect for all people and create a supportive work environment, it is necessary to generalise all values as much as possible. In a survey, for example, assuming that your respondent already has a university degree, a high-paying job, or a home is unacceptable, as this may not be the case.

  • Use expert resources.

If you are unsure how to approach the formulation of a specific question, you can use unique reference materials to solve the problem. Furthermore, it is critical that you do not make any incorrect judgments or take any wrong approaches.

This is why we discuss finding the right market research agency, top market research companies in Africa and why Survey54 is the best buddy you need for African surveys at length. Check these resources before you commence your next survey project.

Start designing inclusive surveys today.

You can take numerous simple but effective steps to make your surveys more accessible to a broader range of people. Make your survey questions clear and concise for accessibility. If there is information that respondents can only obtain by looking at an image, try to include context in the question text. If you’re personalising your survey with colours and design elements, ensure the colour contrasts are readable, and your design is as inclusive as possible. Finally, before submitting your survey, review it for accessibility and inclusivity.

We hope these suggestions help you establish a foundation for developing more inclusive surveys. Remember that there is always more to learn about thinking and surveying.

If you need help with your organisation’s diversity, equity, and inclusion goals, contact the Survey54 team for a personalised, professional, yet inclusive survey approach.

Subscribe to our blog