Your survey’s recipe: turn a blank page into a savory survey

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Survey Ingredients:

  • A few blank pieces of paper
  • A pencil
  • A warm cup of coffee


You already have a piece of paper in front of you? Your pencils are already sharpened? Your coffee’s already brewed? Then you’re all set! … Right?

If you’re not exactly sure where to start, don’t worry just yet. I’m going to share my secret recipe with you, which will help you create a great survey in only 5 steps. Let’s get cooking!

shopping list

1.     What do you feel like making? (Set your goals)

Customer feedback is extremely helpful for the decision making process. The best kind of improvements are going to be those based on customer requests, as they’re the ones you’re improving for! If that’s exactly why you’re here, but you still aren’t sure where to start, then ask yourself this: “What do I want to know more about?” That blank piece of paper is probably acting as an inspiration right now – lighting up your imagination, helping you come up with answers to that question. Well then – get writing! Having a clearly-defined focus will give your creative process much-needed structure and simultaneously help you along when you’re feeling writer’s block. After you get all of those ideas down on paper, take the time to pat yourself on the back, because you just took your first step to the creation of your survey!

Let’s suppose you have a online store and are interested in the following questions:

  • What are my customers accustomed to?
  • How much do my customers like my website?
  • What other kinds of online stores do my customers use?
  • Do I need to improve the quality of my product descriptions?

2.     What are your favorite meals? (Prioritize your goals)

The second step is all about prioritizing the items on your list. Which questions are most important for you? Which kind of information could help you in making feedback-based decisions? Your second draft could look something like this:

1. How much do my customers like my website?

2. Do I need to improve the quality of my product descriptions?

3. What are my customers accustomed to?

4. What other kinds of online stores do my customers use?

Now that you’ve rearranged and revised your list, you’re a whole lot closer to creating the actual survey. However, one important step has yet to come – accuracy. Do you remember me talking about feedback-based decisions? If you ask too many questions, you’re going to end up with massive amounts of data of minimal quality, which will not provide you with the information you need to make those important decisions. You’ve probably heard the saying, “Too many cooks spoil the broth” before, except that in this context, the cooks are your questions and the broth is your survey. On top of that, the more data you collect, the more complicated evaluation gets. This leads us to our next step:

3.     What are you craving? (Choose your main question)

Pursue only one main question per survey! You can divide it into 2-4 individual subsections, but all of these must relate to your main question. Once you’ve prioritized your list, your main question should be easy to spot. You can create different surveys for all of the other questions on your list later. Should you already have a main question, go ahead and skip this step.

4.     Choose the right ingredients. (Define your supporting topics)

In keeping with our example, the main question is: “How much do my customers like my website?” Now it’s time to layer the cake into subtopics to make the gathered data a little more comprehensible. Remember to concentrate on the pressing information only and forget all of the extra stuff that “could be interesting.”  The data quality will be unbeatable. Here are some good sub-topics for our example:

Main question: “How much do my customers like my website?”

  • Is the website neatly arranged?
  • Is the online shop easy to navigate?
  • Is there any sort of information missing on the website?


All of the stated sub-topics correspond with the main focus of the survey, enabling you to gather specific information on what you really want to know. Now you can start defining the questions for all of your sub-topics.


5.     Season to taste. (Formulate sub-topic questions)

If you keep your main focus in mind throughout the entire process, you’ll ensure that all of your specific questions really are related to your initial goal. In order to give you a few ideas on how to specify on your sub-topics, let’s use the question: “Is the website neatly arranged?” as an example. You could use the following questions to go into even more detail:

Sub-topic: “Is the website neatly arranged?”

  • Were you ever not able to find the product you were looking for?
  • How satisfied are you with how the products are displayed?


If you followed all 5 steps correctly, then your coffee shouldn’t be the only delicious thing on your table – your savory survey should be right there with it! Enjoy your meal!

checklist survey


In case you don’t have all of the required ingredients at home, you’ll find a ton of pre-seasoned survey templates.



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Here’s the secret recipe for your next delicious questionnaire.

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