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One of the biggest factors often overlooked when running an online survey is *time*.

For no good reason, here are 10 songs about time and what they can tell us about running an online survey.

“Times They Are A-Changin'” - Bob Dylan

Online surveys have never been more accessible and valuable. They are a quick and easy way to capture feedback and data compared to more traditional methods like postal and telephone (although they still have their place).

“Time Waits for No One” - Rolling Stones

If there’s a research gap in your community, organisation or industry, then what are you waiting for? A well designed and delivered survey can help you make new discoveries and make better decisions.

“The Right Time” - The Corrs

But also think about the right time for your survey. When will your audience be most receptive? Consider things like school holidays, busy periods in your industry, global pandemics…

“Don’t Waste My Time” - Status Quo

Make the survey worth completing. Communicate its value to your audience. Think about incentives. This doesn’t have to be a prize draw. Linking response rates to charitable donations, for example, can work.

“How Many More Times” - Led Zeppelin

Survey fatigue is a thing. Nobody wants to be bombarded, whether that’s your own surveys or from other organisations and agencies. Be mindful of this and the impact it could have on response rates.

“Time Is Running Out” - Muse

Give yourself and your audience enough time throughout the process. It’s tempting to get the survey out and back in as quickly as possible. But the chances are a lot of effort has already gone into it, make sure you do it justice. 

“One More Time” - Daft Punk

Build some slack into your timeline to extend the deadline if you need to, whether it’s due to a disappointing response or events outside of your control. Extending a deadline, done right, can also give the promotion of your survey some fresh impetus.

“Closing Time” - Semisonic

Don’t go quiet when the survey closes. Let people know what you’re going to do with the results and how they will make a difference. The survey might be used to inform a new community service or to generate fresh industry insights. People will want to know.

“If I Could Turn Back Time” - Cher

You can’t turn back time. But you can reflect on what did and didn’t work and what you can learn for next time. As a side note, what you can do is soft test your survey during development. This can be incredibly useful for ironing out any issues before it goes out to a wider audience.

“Get It Right The First Time” - Billy Joel

Easier said than done, Billy. But it’s an important point to end on. We often underestimate the time and attention needed to plan and prepare our surveys. It’s always worth putting in the time before your survey goes out.


Related read: 3 steps when planning some research


And if you're more interested in the songs, here they are in a Spotify playlist. With a Britney Spears bonus track.


Need help with online surveys or bad playlists?

Hi, I’m Adam. And I might be able to help.

Email me at adam@pearsoninsight.co.uk or give me a call on 07506624043.