From an excellent piece on surveys related to intellectual property valuations, available in Economic Approaches to Intellectual Property: Policy, Litigation, and Management (NERA Econ. Consulting 2005, at 125, came three sound precautions.
Always pre-test your client or employee satisfaction survey, to find out which questions confuse takers, which questions are ambiguous, and whether the instructions are clear.
When asking questions by interview, remember that “psychological experiments suggest that the length of the answer is related to the length of the question, i.e., shorter questions will elicit shorter answers,” (id at 129, fn.1) which means that interviewers need to learn to probe.
Third, surveys should be double-blind, so that neither the interviewer nor the respondent should know who is sponsoring the survey or what the sponsor hopes to accomplish in the survey. That precaution can hardly hold for internal surveys, but it is a caveat when reading other people’s surveys.