Using Screening Questions in Your Survey

Using Screening Questions in Your Survey

To go in-depth in any research, it is important to know people’s opinions. Surveys provide a medium of conversation with a lot of people at once. Just like when you talk to friends, you might start by asking about things that matter to them. That’s where screening questions come in – they help you talk to the right people and get the best answers. 

We will talk about what and how to use screening questions to help you understand your consumers and to get the most accurate data!

What Are Screening Questions? 

In surveys or studies, screening questions are the initial questions that help select the right people to participate. Let’s take a look at some real-life examples to understand better:

Movie Survey

If you’re making a survey about your favorite movies that are meant for people who watch a lot of movies, you wouldn’t want someone who doesn’t watch movies at all to answer. So, your screening question could be: “How often do you watch movies in a month?” Those who say “often” or “regularly” could be the ones invited to your movie-themed survey.

Health Study

Let’s say you’re doing a study about sleep habits. You want people who have experienced sleep problems to take part. Your screening question might be: “Have you had trouble sleeping in the last month?” People who say “yes” would be the right fit for your study because they have the experience you’re looking for.

Game Testing

If you’re testing a new video game, you’d want gamers who play similar types of games. Your screening question could be: “What types of games do you enjoy playing the most?” Those who list action or adventure games might be the ones you’re looking for, so they can give feedback that matches their gaming interests.

Benefits of Using Screening Questions for Surveys

Below we have mentioned why using screening questions is a smart move:

  1. Better Targeting: Screening questions help you talk to the right people. For instance, if you’re doing a survey about video games, you can use a screening question to talk only to people who play games.
  1. Saving Time: These questions save time by directing participants to the right questions. If you’re asking about coffee preferences, a screening question could find out if they drink coffee at all.
  1. More Accurate Results: Just like you wouldn’t ask a fish about flying, you shouldn’t ask questions to people who aren’t interested. This way, you get answers from people who care, making your results more accurate.
  1. Personalized Experience: Screening questions make surveys feel like a tailor-made outfit. If you’re doing a survey about smartphones, you can ask about the brand they use, giving a personal touch.
  1. Skip Unnecessary Questions: These questions help people skip questions that don’t apply to them.
  1. Higher Completion Rates: Ever been asked a question that didn’t make sense? It’s frustrating, right? With screening questions, people get questions that actually make sense to them, which means they’re more likely to finish the survey.
  1. Focused Insights: It is important for screening questions to be narrowed down to focus. If you’re researching car preferences, a screening question can ask if they even have a driver’s license.
  1. Reduced Dropouts: Long surveys with irrelevant questions can make people quit. Just like a line at the amusement park – long lines make people leave.Screening questions keep your survey short and interesting. 
  1. Customized Pathways: If you’re asking about fitness habits, a screening question can lead to different sets of questions for runners and swimmers.
  1. Quality Insights: These questions ensure you’re asking the experts, like asking parents about baby products.

Types of Screening Questions

Here are types of screening questions explained in simple and formal language:

  • Demographic Filters: These questions gather basic information like age, gender, and location to ensure your survey represents the right group. For example, if you’re surveying parents about school preferences, you might want to filter out people who don’t have children.

These questions gather basic information about the person, like age, gender, or location. For example: “How old are you?”

  • Professional Background: If your survey is about a specific job or industry, asking about the respondent’s profession and experience helps you focus on the right audience. For instance, in a survey about healthcare workers’ opinions, you’d want to exclude those who aren’t in the healthcare field.

These questions help understand a person’s job or work situation. For example: “Are you currently employed?”

  • Purchase Habits: If your survey is about shopping preferences, asking about recent purchases or favorite brands can help you target consumers with specific buying behaviors. For instance, a survey about electronics can ask whether someone has bought a smartphone in the last six months.

These questions check if someone plans to buy something in the future. For example: “Do you plan to buy a new phone in the next six months?”

  • Behavioral Filters: These questions assess actions people have taken or experiences they’ve had. For example, a survey about travel preferences might ask if someone has traveled internationally in the last year.

These questions focus on actions or behaviors someone might have done. For example: “Have you traveled abroad in the past year?”

  • Interest Filters: When your study relates to certain hobbies or interests, these questions help you identify the right participants. If you’re researching video game preferences, you might ask if someone plays video games regularly.
  • Language and Communication: If language is important, you might ask about the languages respondents speak fluently. This is crucial for surveys that require understanding of specific languages.
  • Tech Savviness: If your study involves online activities, asking about internet usage and familiarity with technology ensures participants are comfortable with the survey format.

These questions find out if someone has specific experience or knowledge. For example: “Have you ever used a computer programming language?”

  • Political Affiliation: For studies about political opinions, asking about someone’s political affiliation can help categorize responses accurately. This is important to ensure balanced results.
  • Health Conditions: When your research involves health-related topics, screening for specific health conditions ensures participants can provide relevant insights. For example, a survey about allergy treatments might ask if someone has allergies.

These questions dig into a person’s habits and lifestyle. For example: “Do you follow a vegetarian diet?”

  • Availability: If your study requires participation over time or in person, asking about availability ensures you’re dealing with people who can commit. This is important for focus groups or longitudinal studies.

Wrapping Up

Using screening questions helps make sure that the people participating in your survey or study are a good match for what you’re trying to learn. By using these different types of screening questions, you’ll be able to gather information from the people who truly fit your research needs.

Asking the right questions at the start helps you create a survey that’s more like a fun and fruitful conversation with your participants!

Survey Point Team
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