What’s one of the most challenging components of survey research? More than likely, it’s the people that start do partial and incomplete survey responses stopping mid-way through the process. This is quite frustrating to survey administrators who see it is a missed opportunity to gather response data.
QuestionPro has thought long and hard about this problem and we’ve come up with two options you can use to curb this behavior to prevent partial and incomplete survey responses and get the online survey responses you need.
Save and Continue
The “Save and Continue” option lets your survey takers save the responses and return to complete the questions at a later time. This tool is especially helpful if the survey is long with numerous questions.
The “Save and Continue” option works by storing the partially completed survey in as an incomplete response. The respondent is later reminded to continue the survey via an email reminder with a continuation URL. When the respondents continue taking the survey, the question set is updated and marked as complete. However, if the respondent does not complete the survey, the responses are simply stored as partial/incomplete.
There are a few things to keep in mind if you plan to use the “Save and Continue” option when creating surveys. First, a page break is necessary for “Save and Continue,” meaning the online survey must be more than one page. Second, the branching and skip logic tools only work during active sessions. As such, they will not function with the “Save and Continue” option. Finally, randomization logic may not work properly with the “Save and Continue” option.
The other helpful tool to limit partial and incomplete survey responses is using a countdown timer or time limit. A countdown timer is a feature that actually sets a time limit on a survey. Respondents must complete the survey within a certain period of time (minimum time limit is 1 minute and the maximum is 60 minutes). When the timer runs out, the survey closes and responses are coded as incomplete. The countdown timer is displayed right on the survey screen.
Answering a survey within a given time frame actually increases the quality of responses because it is essentially capturing the first thing that comes to the respondent’s mind. The advantage of this feature is reducing dropout rates. If a survey responder is under a time limit, he is more likely to complete the survey.
The time limit feature works best for market researchers and those conducting employee satisfaction surveys. The countdown timer is also reminiscent to the latest trends in online gaming, or gamification. Major companies are using games to get their customers more involved. Online mobile surveys have followed suit, which makes the countdown timer a natural for your survey responses.
Both the countdown timer and “Save and Continue” functions are easy to set up when you configure your survey. And with tools like these, you are already on a better path to obtaining accurate answers and more survey responses than before.