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#90 - Surveys that Work Resume Part III - The Most Crucial Question

Sent the February 01st
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Article written by
Juan Jesús Millo

Writing of the week

Following on from previous post, I continue my notes on chapter 1 of Caroline Jarrett's book Surveys that Work, setting your survey goals, this time on How to choose your most crucial question (MCQ).

If you could only have one question answered, what would it be? This question should be the core of the research. The answers give us a rich source of data to make a decision, otherwise why would we ask it in the first place? This question is defined by Caroline as "The Most Crucial Question (MCQ)".

The formula she advises us to use is: "We need to ask _____, so that we can decide _____." Some points to keep in mind when defining it are:

  • Attack your most crucial question. Unpack the question as much as possible - is it understood, is it too general, is it too specific, are we using a precise time-space, etc.
  • Decide your "defined group of people". Who is the target, who should answer it? The structure Caroline gives us is: "We need to ask ______ (people who you want to answer), the question ______ (MCQ goes here), so that we can decide ______ (decision goes here).
  • Check that a survey is the best method. A survey is a quantitative technique, so if we are in the Discovery phase, an interview may work better, or a Usability Test, or even the Analytics software itself.
  • Your question should be answered by people? Possibly your analytics software has a thousand data that can give you the answer before even considering a survey. Maybe even an A/B test is enough. Analytics and an /AB testing will always be much cheaper.
  • And finally, What number do you need to make a decision?: Defining beforehand what number you need to make a decision is of vital importance, what if more than 70% answer X in this question, what if they answer more than 90%, what if we are not clear and the answers are homogeneous?

After these steps, we will have a bomb-proof crucial question!

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