The Psychology of Quality and More

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When measuring for understanding, monitoring or improvement metrics, sometimes the data is held in people's heads. For example, when looking to find customer satisfaction, the only way to get the answer you want is to ask them.

The type of survey you do will depend on the number and proximity of customers. With a few customers, you can go and ask them. With many remote ones, you will need to use a written survey of some sort.

A key part of surveys is in deciding what questions to ask, including the wording. This is a tricky task as words mean different things to different people and sequential questions can easily influence one another.

Closed questions are those which have a limited number of answers, typically 'yes' and 'no' or a selection from 'Agree' to 'Disagree'. They are good for easy face-to-face openers, allow you to ask many questions and they are also easy to convert into numeric data.

Open questions have no short answer. Questions like 'How did you make use of the instrument?' will elicit a wordy answer and will need careful analysis. They do, however, allow you to capture much of the richness of the questioned person's thoughts. 

See also:

Toolbook chapter: Surveys

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