Anna is happily married to Adam, with whom she has two children that attend the local primary school. Each summer, the whole family flies abroad for an all-inclusive holiday. Anna saves up to buy Christmas gifts for her family every year, works 9-5 in an office, and eats eggs for breakfast.

Anna is a stereotype, wrapped in a cliché, and she’s a PR survey writer’s dream.

But please, next time you’re writing a list of questions, spare a thought for Becky.

Becky lives with her partner Beth, and Beth’s child from a previous relationship Ben, who is home-schooled. They drive down to St Ives every April for their annual holiday. Becky’s family are Jewish. Hanukkah is her favourite day of the year. She loves her job, working night shifts in a care home, and usually eats toast when she wakes up for work – never eggs, as she’s allergic to them.

Becky finds it difficult to answer questions about which male celebrity she finds most attractive, or about what time of year she first gets “that Christmassy feeling.” She doesn’t know how many times a day Ben’s nappy was changed when he was a baby, and can’t tell you what time he sets off for school. Becky certainly can’t say whether she flies first-class or economy for her summer holidays. “First thing in the morning” doesn’t really exist in her life, and she doesn’t have a favourite style of eggs – they all make her sick.

These things are so easy to miss, but in order to adhere to the MRS Code of Conduct, all survey respondents must be able to respond in a way that accurately reflects their views and opinions. Following this code helps maintain the quality of your survey data.

Take a look at the example question below:

Which style(s) of eggs do you eat most often? Tick all that apply




Sunny-side up





Other style(s)

Although this is fairly comprehensive, none of the options are suitable for Becky. However, if we just add N/A, I don’t eat eggs to the bottom of that list – problem solved!

On the other hand, if you want to run a survey all about Christmas presents and Santa Claus, rather than adding N/A options to everything, your survey may benefit from demographic restrictions. Targeting people that celebrate Christmas is probably your best option. Preventing people like Becky from answering your questions does mean you won’t be able to generalise from the data to all Brits, but for many surveys this benefit is outweighed by the importance of polling relevant people.

The OnePoll research team are all members of the Market Research Society, which means we take the MRS Code in to account for every survey we produce. We pride ourselves on delivering reliable opinion poll results for PR purposes. We’re more than happy to advise our clients on how to adapt questions where necessary and to answer any queries they might have about the survey process.

With our sister company 72Point, we also offer survey workshops where we provide guidance and practical advice on writing survey questions that are both compliant with the MRS Code, whilst also providing a great set of stats that will help strengthen your story.