Question Writing 101 from Joe Dumas

I created and presented this summary as part of my usability testing class (HCDE 517) at the University of Washington. It covers basic question writing concepts that are applicable to both market researchers and usability researchers.

For me, the highlight of this article was Joe’s discussion on labeling the end points of scales. He reminds even us experienced question writers that: one’s choice of scale end points might activate two different cognitive structures instead of one. Measuring something as being “difficult” is not the same as measuring it as being “not at all easy”.

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How Market Research Experience Can Mislead You in Usability Studies

Diving into the emerging field of usability research after nearly a decade in traditional market research, I’ve learned that some concepts and processes are similar in both fields (e.g., surveys). There are, however, more differences than I expected. For example, when I first heard the term usability testing I translated that in my mind as in-depth interview. As I’ll discuss in a minute, there are significant differences even though the two concepts are related. Continue reading

Sauro’s 4 Steps to Translating a Questionnaire

The process for translating questionnaires is one thing that is exactly the same in Market and Usability Research. Jeff Sauro, a highly regarded usability professional, posted “4 Steps to Translating a Questionnaire” on his blog last month. Continue reading

How Not to Ask About Educational Attainment

Researchers frequently need to ask about educational attainment in surveys. This question is often asked imprecisely.  The example below (adapted from a survey about computer systems) includes one of my all time top pet-peeves: a response option for post-graduate degree in surveys targeted at Americans.  It is not a term commonly used in talking about higher education in the United States.

Educ

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The One Question that Rules Them All

It seems an increasing number of companies have been jumping on the “likelihood to recommend” Net Promoter question bandwagon, but are not willing to go so far as letting it be the one question they need to ask. Meaning the question is usually buried in a much longer survey  Even worse, sloppy surveys seem to modify the original form of the question in ways that break the validity of the Net Promoter model. Below is one such example (click to enlarge):

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