Ways to Create Inclusive Surveys

Inclusion is one of the factors that helps to eliminate systemic inequalities in a wide variety of industries, as well as contributes to the creation of new jobs. Moreover, this factor can be considered as a tool to create better quality surveys.

The essence of inclusive surveys is respect for the interlocutor, clear goals, and empathy, which is achieved through the selection of linguistic means. An inclusive survey involves asking questions about religion, gender identity, and sexual orientation. At the same time, these questions should be included consciously, since you feel the importance of understanding the inner world of the interlocutor. This approach to creating surveys has a significant impact on them because it opens up the opportunity for yourself to gain more information because the respondents will feel much more valuable, which means they will be more willing to share information with you. What’s more, it’s a great opportunity to demonstrate your organization’s commitment to core human values.

How can you make your surveys more inclusive? It should be understood that there are no specific rigid approaches, but you will need to adhere to some principles:

1. Be attentive to demographic issues.

Demographic questions – a category of questions that will address characteristics such as age, gender, sexual orientation of your respondents in more detail. By discussing them, you will make the survey friendlier, moreover, it will become much easier for you to conduct further interaction, since an understanding of the person’s identity will be formed. Here you should create the most laconic questions that cannot offend anyone. Questions from this category should not be avoided; however, you should always be aware of the purpose of such questions, as well as how to use such information received. As a result, you will be able to create significantly more thoughtful questions.

For example, you can create a question about belonging to a particular sexual orientation group by creating strong wording with a yes / no answer. However, you might miss out on one of the categories, which can lead to an awkward situation and can be confusing to the other person. One of the most effective ways to overcome this problem is to create empty fields where the interlocutor can enter their own answer. It will also make the survey more inclusive. Moreover, you can use the information obtained from empty fields to create answers in the future.

Remember, it is imperative that you always be open about your reasons for collecting specific demographic information. Here it is worth considering the fact that most people will share such information anyway, but they will do it more willingly if you explain the reasons why you need such information, as well as how specifically their answers will be used. This is where you need to provide some context before the survey that will reveal its purpose and make it more open to all respondents. For example, if you indicate that all demographic information will be used to improve the organization of work with a client audience, then in this way you will significantly attract respondents to truthfully fill out such surveys.

2. Don’t post mandatory questions

No one likes to be asked an uncomfortable question. In this regard, it is impossible to create mandatory questions, since they can discourage the respondent from completing the survey as a whole. According to the available statistical information, 27% of respondents will refuse to take the survey as soon as they encounter the impossibility of skipping one or another question. Thus, having mandatory questions will severely limit your sample of results, since you will receive much fewer data. Therefore, in order to attract more respondents to the survey, it is necessary to provide for the possibility of skipping questions. This will be a sign of respect for their personal boundaries and values make the survey inclusive and interesting.

3. Use skip logic.

This logic is based on the principle that the question options vary depending on what answers the person gave in the previous stages. As a result, a personalized survey is formed that most closely matches the worldview of a particular person. This method meets the requirements of an inclusive survey as much as possible.

Let’s consider this with a specific example. Let’s say you are asking a question about religion and the person indicates that he is a Buddhist. However, the next question will be about how he celebrates Christmas anyway. It is logical that this question does not suit him at all, moreover, a person may think about the fact that he is not the target audience of the survey and refuses to go through it further. In such a situation, the most logical branching of questions is seen depending on the answer received at the previous stage.

By using skip logic, you can convince respondents that their time and answers are valuable, and you can also get a much better understanding of their past so you can create more accurate surveys in the future.

4. Watch your language and speech patterns.

A language is a powerful tool and it is extremely important to use it correctly. Inaccurately spoken phrases can seriously offend a person or completely discourage him from continuing to take the survey. Therefore, it is imperative to use inclusive language in your surveys. This implies the use of language based on diversity and respect for all people around them, sensitivity to their differences.

At the same time, there are quite diverse options for using this approach in practice. For example:

Always consider historical context and implications

We are far from always able to understand how some common phrases and words will be perceived. For example, when creating services based on “old-fashioned ways”, they may refer to a racist story that will be unpleasant for a certain category of users.

Try to avoid slang and idioms, using only the most specific wording that will be equally understandable and neutral in relation to all categories of users.

Give up centering on certain ideas and concepts

Your survey should not make any point of view the only correct or “normal” one. It is necessary to generalize all values ​​as much as possible in order to show respect for all people and create a supportive work environment. For example, it is unacceptable in a survey to assume that your respondent already has a college degree, a high-paying job, or a home, as this may not apply to them.

Rely on expert resources

In the event that you do not know how to approach the formulation of a particular question, then you can use special reference materials that will solve the problem. Moreover, it is imperative that you do not use any erroneous judgments or wrong approaches.

Check your survey

Before you start sending out your survey, it is imperative that you check it for errors and that you maintain a respectful tone. It is best if your survey is read by other people to help identify potential problems.

Design your survey with an accessibility factor in mind

There are many steps you can take to make them more accessible to the general population. For example, keep your questionnaires as short and clear as possible. Include context in the survey. In the event that you use graphic materials, make sure that their color scheme will be pleasant to the majority, and their design is inclusive.

We hope this list of tips will help you create more inclusive surveys. Remember all the subtleties, and also do not be afraid to learn!


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