The following post was written by Tal Gordon, former Intern at RMS.

Surveying is a widely used primary research method when conducting a market research project. When creating, distributing, and evaluating a survey, it’s critical to take the participant experience into consideration, and it’s key to keep participants engaged to avoid survey fatigue. Survey fatigue occurs when a survey respondent becomes tired or disinterested hen completing a survey. If respondents have survey fatigue, it can be toxic to the resulting data and potentially skew your market research project as a whole. Here are some effective tactics to combat survey fatigue.

#1: Take the Survey Yourself 

Taking the survey yourself before administering it to respondents can alert you to potential issues which may be corrected to avoid survey fatigue. When testing the survey, proof vigorously in order to eliminate all grammar and spelling errors. Additionally, check for duplicate or similar questions that yield the same information from the respondent. Lastly, remove questions that are meaningless to the project. It’s also important to keep surveys as short as possible. For example, aim for mobile surveys to take 5 minutes or less to complete.

#2: Set the Expectation!

Setting the expectation for the survey length and topic of interest is an effective way to reduce the rate of survey fatigue and increase the response rate. Before administering the survey to the respondents, make sure to note the answers to the following questions:

  • What is the survey about?
  • Approximately how long will the survey take to complete?
  • What will you do with the information provided by respondents?
  • What’s the respondent benefit for taking the survey?
  • Who can the respondent reach out to if they have any questions or concerns (with corresponding contact information)?

#3: Determine the Frequency of Surveys

The frequency of your surveys is a vital component in maintaining your respondent’s attention. Over-surveying your customers is directly correlated with survey fatigue and can engender inaccurate results. Finding the right balance in regards to survey frequency is key; you want to survey enough to attain and maintain accurate results, but not too much to prompt your respondents to become uninterested.

Taking the survey yourself, setting the expectation, and determining the survey frequency are three easy, practical, and cost-effective methods to lower the rate of survey fatigue. Utilizing these methods to decrease the rate of survey fatigue can increase the accuracy of your results as well as the response rate, creating a more precise market research project.

RMS is a full-service market research firm located in Syracuse, NY. If you are interested in learning more about our research capabilities, please contact Sandy Baker, our Senior Director of Business Development & Corporate Strategy at or by calling 1-866-567-5422.