Generative Survey

A structured questionnaire that your users complete unmoderated online. A discovery survey focuses on understanding how the user interacts with your product and how they feel about it. Surveys are an effective tool that is cheap and fast in comparison of other discovery research.

Research Details

Research Type Sample Size Session Time
Qualitative, Attitudinal, Generative Large (20+ participants) 5 to 15 minutes

When to Use

  1. To understand the diversity of your users to help recruit for in future research studies.
  2. To provide supplemental research to other generative research within the discovery phase.
  3. To understand how users feel about and use our product when time and budget is limited.


  1. Identify the goals of the survey.
  2. Determine the distribution channel you’ll leverage to share the survey to users.
  3. Write your questions mixing multiple choice or Likert scales. Surveys work best with questions that have clear answers.
  4. Include as many open-ended questions that your users can tolerate (often very few but motivations vary based on the situation). This allows the users to give unstructured responses. These responses will be the most valuable aspect of your discovery research.
  5. Publish the survey online and share to your participants.


  1. Ask questions that you already know the answers to but you don’t know the frequency or preference for them.
  2. It’s important to try your best to not ask leading questions.
  3. Structure the questions in different ways to prevent anyone from quickly clicking without reading.
  4. Avoid asking questions about behavior. Focus on attitudes.

Survey Vs Interview

  1. When you don’t know the answers to the questions you intend to ask.
  2. When you need more depth.
  3. When you’re dealing with user’s behavior.
  4. When you’re looking for stories.




  1. Research Plan

Created by: Joe Steinkamp | Last updated by: Joe Steinkamp