The introductory text of a survey serves three purposes:

The participant should be informed about the survey's terms and conditions. For individual researchers, this would include the basic information about the survey: purpose, researcher’s name, target group, etc. (see below). However, for organisations, businesses, or universities, terms and conditions must be more refined.

Any relevant legal aspects should be addressed, such as a statement of consent and privacy notice. The consent statement should include a testimony that the participant consents to take part in your survey and that their answers will be used for research purposes. In the privacy notice, you should for example disclose that all the data gathered from participants will be processed anonymously and only used for research purposes.

Most universities provide specific templates for the aforementioned texts. This is not the case, there are plenty of templates available on the internet.

You should not underestimate how important the introduction is like a first impression of the survey. Given that the participants often do not get a reward for completing a questionnaire, it is important to not put them off with poorly formatted designs or sloppy wording. Strike a good balance between listing important information and avoiding an overload.

Here is a short checklist of what should be considered when writing a good introduction:

WHY: Explain what the background and purpose of the survey is.

WHO: Provide information about who you are and, if applicable, to which institution (university, company, etc.) you belong.

WHAT: Concisely describe the topic of your survey.

TO WHOM: Define the exact target criteria of your participants.

HOW LONG: Give a rough estimate of how much time it will take to complete your survey and how many questions it includes.

OTHER: Are there any follow-up surveys/interviews? Do you need a signed declaration of consent?

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