Rethinking Questionnaires – fly menus

In Uncategorized on November 2, 2016 by sdobney

The second of our series on Rethinking Questionnaires is now at LinkedIn. As mentioned, our focus is on re-imagining what and how a questionnaire can be. Many of the research tools we use today are online replicas of surveys that could have been carried out 70-80 years ago; in reality not that much has changed. With the availability of computer-based interviewing via web-surveys the lack of innovation is quite surprising.

Our second demonstration of fly-menus which are used for drill-down and non-linear approaches to questionnaires can be found here:

Fly-menus are a structural approach to a problem that the linearity of questions in a questionnaire (from A to Z) is determined by the researcher and not down to the respondent saying what they are interested in, or what they would give their time to answer. A fly-menu approach says to the respondent, here are the topics, you choose which topics you want to tell us about, and in what order. This is why we also refer to this as a non-linear questionnaire structure.

It actually breaks quite a big taboo. In surveys we are fully aware that there are order-effects. That is the order in which you ask questions can affect the responses that we get. For some areas like prompting where we prefer to find out what someone knows or thinks spontaneously or semi-spontaneously before introducing the ideas, do still rely on question order. But for approaches such as customer satisfaction research, it should be the respondent/customer who determines the order of questions and prioritises what they want to order.

More specifically, we know that more attention is applied to earlier items when answering questions like scale questions. Though this illustrates a weakness of scale-based approaches in that simple re-ordering changes the answers, it also suggests that we should work with the respondent on the areas that they want to give attention to because then we will have better answers.

The original LinkedIn article on fly-menus is here.


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