By edwaardnick . Posted on July 18, 2023


Have you ever experienced the frustration of painstakingly planning, conducting, and analyzing a survey only to discover the accuracy of your data falls short? It’s a less-than-ideal scenario.

Now, imagine a world where we can elevate the precision of our surveys, reduce human error, and introduce efficiency like never before. Sounds like a tall order, doesn’t it? Well, welcome to the world of artificial intelligence (AI), where this isn’t merely a pipedream but an achievable reality.

In the realm of research and development, accuracy is our lifeline. Our findings, recommendations, and implemented solutions are only as good as the data that backs them‌ up.

And it’s no secret that traditional survey methods, while essential, are riddled with challenges — respondent bias, low response rates, and misinterpretation of data, to name a few. But that’s where AI steps in, promising to overhaul how we conduct and interpret surveys.

In this article, we’ll cover the following:

  • Definition of artificial intelligence;
  • The role artificial intelligence plays in the survey process;
  • Five ways artificial intelligence improves survey accuracy.

What Is Artificial Intelligence?

Remember those science fiction movies (we’re looking at you, I, Robot) where machines could think, learn, and even make decisions just like humans? What once seemed a figment of our wildest imaginations has become part of our everyday reality.

But what is this groundbreaking technology taking the world by storm? In the simplest terms, artificial intelligence (or AI as it’s commonly known) is a field of computer science that aims to create machines that mimic human intelligence.

These machines don’t just follow programmed instructions but learn from experience, adapt to new inputs, and perform complex tasks that typically require a human. Some examples include:

  • Identifying patterns
  • Making predictions
  • Speech recognition

So how does it work? At the heart of AI are algorithms. These are a set of rules that allow the machine to learn from data. And these machine learning algorithms, powered by vast amounts of data and potent computational capabilities, help AI to continually improve.

Using neural networks, they can learn more with each interaction, just as humans do. In simple terms, these are interconnected nodes within a layered structure that resembles the human brain (and can perform certain functions as the brain does).

(Image Source)

From self-driving cars and voice assistants to fraud detection, AI’s range of applications are as diverse as they are transformative. So, are you ready to discover how this remarkable artificial intelligence technology is revolutionizing the survey landscape? Let’s take a closer look.

The Role of AI in Surveys

Wind the clock back ten years. Conducting a survey conjures images of handing out paper questionnaires or conducting laborious in-person or phone interviews — followed by long hours of manually entering and analyzing data in an Excel spreadsheet.

While these traditional methods have served us well for decades, they have drawbacks. They’re often time-consuming, susceptible to human error, and limited in scalability and respondent engagement. And the ghost of subjective biases often looms, easily influencing the analysis and interpretation of survey results. In other words, the process leaves much room for improvement.

Enter AI, a game-changer equipped with a suite of technologies that not only confronts these limitations head-on but also brings unparalleled value to the survey process. And among the most transformative are AI business tools.

AI business tools, crafted with sophisticated algorithms and machine learning models, offer a fresh perspective on designing, conducting, and analyzing surveys. They can help:

  • Perform real-time data analysis
  • Navigate vast datasets
  • Identify patterns

And better yet, they guarantee that survey questions are clear, unbiased, and relevant, reducing human error and bias, and flagging incomplete or inconsistent responses.

But how is this all possible? AI brings to the table three powerful technologies that power these incredible tools:

  • Machine Learning (ML). ML, a branch of AI, enables machines to learn from data without explicit programming. Deep learning employs neural networks to handle larger datasets and reduce human intervention.
  • Natural Language Processing (NLP). Ever wondered how AI can understand and interpret human language? That’s where NLP comes in, enabling AI to analyze open-ended survey responses and extract valuable insights that’d otherwise require extensive manual effort.
  • Predictive Analytics. Predictive analytics play a pivotal role in enhancing the precision and value of survey results by predicting future outcomes based on historical data.

With these technologies and tools in its arsenal, AI is revolutionizing the world of surveys, offering a more efficient, accurate, and unbiased approach.

Take, for example, Hims, a leading healthcare brand that offers a questionnaire to its customers. With the help of AI, this questionnaire helps identify the specific medical needs of the customer, such as distinguishing between DHT hair loss and other types of hair loss.

(Image Source)

By leveraging AI, brands can achieve greater precision and accuracy in their data collection efforts. AI algorithms can analyze customer responses and patterns to generate insights that may not be immediately apparent to human reviewers.

This enables brands to tailor their offerings, recommendations, and solutions to everyone’s unique circumstances. For Hims, the AI-powered questionnaire helps them understand the specific type of hair loss a customer is experiencing, allowing them to provide targeted and effective treatment options.

The result? Happier customers and a better bottom line. It’s a win-win.

5 Ways Artificial Intelligence Improves Survey Accuracy

AI can significantly improve survey accuracy in several ways. Here are a few key methods.

1. Enhances data cleaning and preparation

Ever experienced the headache of sifting through heaps of raw survey data, trying to identify inconsistencies, outliers, or other oddities that just don’t belong? It’s like looking for a needle in a haystack.

AI brings its magic to this mundane task. You can train AI algorithms to identify outliers, inconsistencies, and other data anomalies that often fly under human radar. The result? A significant reduction in survey errors.

And you’ll sleep well at night knowing that the data you’re working with is as clean, consistent, and reliable as possible. No more detailed manual checks and double-checks — just high-quality data ripe with valuable insights for the taking.

2. Optimizes survey distribution

Timing is everything. Reaching out to respondents at the right time can significantly boost response rates. But figuring out that perfect moment can feel like throwing a dart into the wind.

AI turns this guessing game into a strategic decision. Every. Time.

In other words, AI provides data-driven suggestions on when to hit ‘send.’ For instance, Gen Zers might be more active online during the evening, while Boomers are more active in the early morning. AI can confirm this information with ease.

How? By analyzing historical data, AI will send surveys out at opportune times (like when respondents are likely to engage). And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

You can also identify the most effective channels for distribution — like email vs. social media — based on your respondents’ preferences and behaviors. So, you’re reaching out at the right time and via the right medium.

With these powerful insights in your back pocket, you can say hello to better response rates from your samples. Sounds idyllic, right?

3. Improves analysis of open-ended comments

There’s a reason college professors leverage multiple-choice questions on final exams rather than open-ended questions. The test results are quick and easy to analyze via scantrons. And a machine does all the heavy lifting.

Here’s the good news. AI, with its advanced algorithms, brings a similar sophistication to surveys. It can process and analyze survey data more quickly and accurately than humans.

And machine learning algorithms, in particular, can unearth patterns, correlations, and trends in seconds.

But where AI truly shines is in the analysis of open-ended answers. Powered by natural language processing (NLP), AI can:

  • Take a deep dive into open-ended responses
  • Understand sentiment
  • Assign categories
  • Extract insights

Think of it this way. A tool that can read a respondent’s comment, understand its context, and gauge whether the sentiment is positive, negative, or neutral. Now picture this tool doing this for thousands of responses, quickly and without breaks. That’s AI for you, turning the complex puzzle of open-ended comments into a clear, insightful data set.

With AI, we’re no longer simply skimming the surface of our survey data. Instead, you can dive deeper and uncover valuable insights in responses like never before.

4. Implements smart survey design

For some businesses, accurate survey results aren’t just useful. They’re the very lifeblood of their operations.

One example is Matchr, a SaaS platform connecting companies with suitable HR software providers. Here’s how it works: users complete a survey on Matchr’s website. Based on their responses, they receive tailored HR software recommendations.

(Image Source)

But here’s the catch — the quality of these recommendations depends entirely on the survey’s design. Ask the wrong questions, or ask them in the wrong order, and it could significantly impact Matchr’s ability to provide the best service.

That’s where AI, specifically machine learning, saves the day. Machine learning algorithms can fine-tune survey design by predicting the questions likely to elicit accurate and meaningful responses from a specific target audience.

These algorithms understand which questions are usually skipped or create confusion based on historical data. Then, with the help of an AI writer, you can tweak them to be more straightforward and respondent-friendly.

In short, AI transforms survey design from an art to a science, helping companies like Matchr and many others ensure they’re asking the right questions to the right people in the right way.

5. Reduces the different forms of bias

When it comes to surveys, it’s common for bias to enter the chat. From sampling bias, where certain groups are over or under-represented. Or response bias, where a framed question influences ‌responses. Bias can significantly distort our survey results.

AI is an excellent preventative measure for identifying and minimizing these different forms of human bias. So, instead of reflecting a skewed or distorted view, your survey results more accurately echo the sentiments of the overall population.

However, it’s important to remember that while AI can greatly enhance the accuracy and reliability of surveys, it isn’t a perfect solution. And it can’t correct all forms of error or bias.

For instance, AI depends on the quality of its training data and can inadvertently reinforce existing biases if not appropriately managed. But it does help remove other biases that are present in a more human approach.

Wrapping Up

And there you have it. AI is revolutionizing how we conduct surveys and improving accuracy tenfold.

However, while the capabilities of AI are impressive, it’s important to remember that it’s not a silver bullet for all survey challenges. AI is a tool. Its effectiveness is dependent on the skill of the user.

So, it’s up to us — researchers, developers, and innovators — to use AI thoughtfully and responsibly. To ensure the quality of the data we feed it. And understand its limitations.

But with AI in our toolbox, we’re well-equipped to drive forward into the future of survey research — a future where accuracy isn’t just an aspiration but an achievable reality. So, let’s embrace the AI revolution to better understand our data and, therefore, our respondents. 

1 Comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

%d bloggers like this: