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Can a survey be fun? SHOULD a survey be fun?

 Designing a fun and interesting survey is not just about making the process enjoyable for respondents. It's also about optimizing data quality, participation rates, and the overall success of the research effort.


Here are some tips we’ve learned (sometimes the hard way) to help create an engaging survey:

Write clear and concise.

In a nutshell, keep it short/use fewer words. With a community survey, think of Grandma and Grampa as your audience. We have conducted over 1,000 community surveys, typically 8 pages long. We found the highest response rates are for surveys that average 1,200 – 1,600 words. Participation rates drop dramatically when the survey exceeds 2,000 words.


Use simple language and avoid education jargon.

If you start using terms like Competency-Based Education, English Language Arts, Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports, Response to Intervention, and Professional Learning Communities in a parent or community survey, you’ll only confuse people or, worse, make them mad.


Add visuals.

Incorporate images, graphics, or videos to make the survey visually appealing. Visual elements can break the monotony and make the survey more enjoyable. For student surveys, we found emojis to be effective, especially at younger ages. 😊


Use humor (when appropriate).

Adding a touch of humor to your survey can make it more enjoyable, but be mindful of the context and audience.



Design the survey to branch to question sets unique to various subgroups. For instance, a community survey can branch to parents to provide school-specific feedback. People like responding to questions that are tailored and relevant to their concerns.


Tell a story.

Frame your survey as a narrative, guiding respondents through the decision-making process, including why it’s important, how the results will be used, and when they will receive feedback on the results.


Express gratitude.

Thank respondents for their time and participation at the end of the survey. A positive and appreciative tone can leave a good impression.

Remember to keep your target audience in mind and adjust these suggestions accordingly. The key is to strike a balance between gathering valuable information and making the survey an enjoyable experience for respondents.


The School Perceptions Blog and Resource Center features the voices of our team members. This post was written by Bill Foster, President & Founder.


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