If you are a regular survey participant, you’ve probably experienced this. You start answering a survey, and before you get any real questions, you’re told…
Most people don’t like to be screened out of surveys. You started answering the survey because you wanted to finish it. So why does this happen? There are both good and bad reasons for this.
Sometimes when researchers expect that 100 twenty year old women will complete the survey, they find out that 150 twenty year old women want to complete it. And other times, when they expect to get 100 participants, they only get 50 participants. Then they’re in trouble because they have to find an additional 50 people and still meet the client’s timelines.
Estimating how many people will want to answer a survey is a tough thing. Researchers know in a general sense how many people will complete a survey. They predict it based on the age, gender, and other demographics of people they sent the survey to. They also predict it based on the topic of the survey and the length of the survey. In the end though, it is just an estimate and sometimes, the number is over or underestimated.
Never forget that researchers value your participation in surveys. So, when you see that screen-out question, view it as the researcher treating you with respect. They don’t want you to spend your time answering a survey when your opinions won’t be used. Why? Because, as soon as that survey is answered by the number of people required, the data is downloaded and quickly shipped off for analysis. It’s a busy world built on ‘give it to me yesterday’ and marketing research is in the same boat as every other business. I certainly wouldn’t want to spend 30 minutes answering a survey only to find out that my results weren’t downloaded and analyzed.
This isn’t to say that this is a good or right way to do things though. Most survey companies have many, maybe even hundreds, of surveys in the loop. Wouldn’t it be nice if you never screened out? If you were automatically sent to the next survey which was relevant to you, and you didn’t even see the transition? Ah, can’t wait for that technology to get there for everyone! It’ll come, just not soon enough for me.
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