Respondent Engagement: Revisited

A few months ago we posted a blog called “Looking Good: Respondent Engagement with Online Surveys”, which spelt out how Surveygoo follows the current thinking in the online research world. Keeping respondents interested in surveys through a range of visual features and question styles is something most online research professionals are keen to do.
The latest issue of the International Journal of Market Research, publishes a paper called “Myths and realities of respondent engagement in online surveys”. For those who have the time its definitely worth a read. The authors undertook a comparison of four types of survey design broadly following recognised styles of online survey which they have named: Text only (which have few graphics); Decoratively Visual (which use a range of attractive visuals); Functionally Visual (which incorporate flash and drag and drop style questions); and Gamified (which refers to game-like style questions, also known as gamification).
Incidentally, Surveygoo question styles and themes, in our view give users the ability to create Decoratively Visual and Functionally Visual surveys. Gamification is something we are interested in looking at in the future.
The authors of the paper conclude that “creating a more enjoyable survey experience is still a worthwhile goal” even though they do not necessarily (and automatically) lead to direct improvements in respondent engagement. The “accumulation of enjoyable surveys could yield significant benefits to research or panel companies”.
Another conclusion which is fascinating, is that the “fundamental components of respondent burden…[are]…survey length, topic salience, cognitive burden (i.e. poorly written or hard to answer questions) and frequency of surveys. Finding ways to engage with respondents, whether it is through interactive question styles or even gamifying questionnaires, clearly is worth further consideration. But lets not forget the basics either – well planned, carefully constructed questionnaires.