The Questionnaire and the Copywriter

Writing a Good PR Survey is Sort of Like Writing a Good Sentence

Crafting a high-quality questionnaire for a PR Survey, like most things related to market research requires a good deal of thought. But like most things, it can be made easier if you can put it inside some framework. Whether you know it or not, one of your oldest (and perhaps most innate) options for building these frames is to think of a great questionnaire just like a great sentence.

Here’s how it works:

A Great Sentence Has a Logical Flow

It’s true. Good sentences have to have a logical flow. Before you can think about proper grammar or punctuation, you need to have put your words together in a way that makes logical sense to a listener. By the time we’re adults, this isn’t a truly conscious aspect of speech or writing – but when we’re crafting a PR Survey, it sure better be.  At 4media group, we always draft our surveys to have a logical flow. Whether we choose to start by building a baseline of understanding on a given topic, going in chronological order, or simply aim to establish who is impacted by a topic, we always ensure our questionnaires take respondents on a logical journey in a meaningful question order.

A Great Sentence Is Grammatically Correct

If word order produces flow in a questionnaire, then we have to think of grammar as the technical aspect of a strong survey piece. Without a right sentences grammar a don’t not get do all wrong. See? Grammar is admittedly a wide term, but here it suggests that beyond the order of our words, we must also map them appropriately, and use them in spaces that are technically correct.


We’ve seen survey drafts become jumbled, unclear and impossible to follow because they were drafted only with making a point in mind. Instead of considering conciseness, clarity, and unique question and answer setups, surveys can be weighed down by what they’re trying to achieve while forgetting the rules they’re supposed to follow.

Always ensure you write questionnaires to make genuine use of the confines of the system. They should be properly mapped, use correct scales, have varying answer choices, and be compliant to standards of research.

A Great Sentence Takes the Occasional Risk  

Good writers learn the rules and then follow them. Great writers learn the rules, follow them, and then break them in pursuit of style. Use a bunch of adverbs because you feel like it. Start a sentence with ‘but’ or ‘and’ to really make your point. Say something unexpected.

A great questionnaire has to take the occasional risk, because it could be that risk to return the most mediagenic statistic. Some of our strongest results have come from risky questions, which played on emotion or leveraged an underlying idea surrounding a topic or brand. Don’t be afraid to break the occasional rule in pursuit of greatness.

Everyone Needs an Editor

This piece will have been edited by the time you read it. Even the best writers, like the strongest brands, need an editor they can trust. Want to work with us on crafting a great questionnaire? Just reach out, and we’ll be happy to make sure you get PR survey results worth writing about.