5 Tips on How to Ask Better Questions

By Julia Burnett

Here at Zenput we often get asked about data, and we should, it’s our business. The majority of questions, though, tend to boil down to how do we get more meaningful data? In our experience we’ve found that to get better data you simply need to start asking better questions. In this blog post we’ve compiled a list of our top 5 tips to help you start asking questions like a B-O-S-S.

1) What is the goal?

Asking questions just to ask questions is a waste of time. Let’s face it, we’re all getting too old to be wasting time. So to start, think of the reasons WHY you are asking these questions. What data do you want to collect, analyze and share?

2) Types of Questions
We are firm believers that your questions should be structured. Structured questions generate structured responses. To do this use quantitative questions. These include multiple choice, rating, yes/no, checkbox, and number questions.

Asking quantitative questions help you collect accurate and concise data. You will not need to read through and try and guess as to what someone’s written response means. Structured questions are easy to graph and analyze.

Now on to qualitative questions. These types of questions include text/short answer, photos and videos.

As far as qualitative questions go, our favorites have to be photos and videos. Do you want to see if the shelf is stocked, how clean the bathroom is, and if your brand is well-represented? Of course you do! Photos and videos are the quickest way for you to get an accurate story about your business.

So when trying to decide what kind of questions to use, we recommend that you use a good blend of the two question types. Use the quantitative questions for the hard facts (yay graphs!) and then the qualitative questions to back up those facts.

3) Short.
Keep it short. You want your users to be able to answer the questions efficiently and get back to doing their job. Keep your questions specific, pointed, and focused on the data that you want to gather.

4) Keep it Simple
Firstly, be organized. Group your questions by topic or task. So for example, if you have a group of questions that involve the exterior of the store and then a group about the interior of the store, group them accordingly. You don’t want the people walking inside, outside, then inside again. Keep it efficient!

Secondly, don’t ask a “two-fer” (two for one). A two-fer is when you jam multiple questions into one. This not only gets wordy and confusing, but it will make your data skewed. Just keep it simple.

5) Question the Questions
You’ve asked the questions, now evaluate the data! Are you gathering the data you specified in your goal? If not, adjust your questions accordingly.

Asking the hard-hitting, data-gathering, really kick-butt questions takes time and practice but we know you can master it! Just remember have a goal, use the right question type, and keep it short, organized and simple.



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