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What is Open-Ended Text?

3 min read

| July 30, 2020

Whether it’s something as enjoyable as the latest lineup of Fall television shows or something as important as deep-seated political opinions, these beliefs shape our experiences. Opinions can change the world. 

That said, it’s possible to leverage opinions to foster positive outcomes, regardless of your goals. You just have to ask the right questions. It’s crucial to ask open-ended questions when surveying. The result? Quantifiable open-ended text that can be used as a foundation to guide you and your team in the right direction. 

Not sure where to start? Here’s everything you need to know about open-ended text and how it can help you get the most out of your surveys. 


What is Open-ended Text?

Open-ended text is the resulting answer to an open-ended question, also called verbatims, typically gathered from surveys or prompts in digital feedback processes. It’s distinct from a close-ended question that can be answered with a response of “yes or no”, or a choice in a simple list, such as ‘Very likely to recommend’.

Here’s are some examples of open-ended questions:

  • “Tell me about your favorite summer destination.”

  • “How would you describe your most recent summer getaway?”

 Neither can be accurately answered with a “yes or no” response, and no simple list lets you choose from options; also known as an unaided response. These questions require the respondent to describe in detail their answers.

As there are limited constraints on format, the response is considered open-ended. This text provides extremely valuable and rich data about the mindset of respondents. It can contain nuance that the researcher could not predict as a result.  The answers are generally hyper-personalized, as they employ language, context, and responses that are unique to the individual based on their personal experiences.

From a marketing perspective, the challenge of open-ended text is in quantifying and analyzing the invaluable data that lies within. As Canvs puts it, “the unnatural language and contextual nature of open-ended responses can make them difficult to interpret.”

Though there are several ways to analyze open-ended text, they are often arduous and time-consuming. More importantly, these methods are limited. Other automated options don’t utilize an in-depth knowledge of “unnatural” language to gauge the meaning of the emotional responses effectively, because they can’t.


What are the Benefits of Open-ended Text?

Surveys are a means to gain insights about the respondent’s opinions on a service, product, or trending topic. Open-ended questions help you understand your respondents’ emotions and thoughts at a deeper level because they encourage respondents to give them outside a curated list.

Broader Scope of Engagement Analysis

Surveys are a great way to gather feedback, and using open ends allows digging into intention and behavior you cannot get from closed ended responses.  However, open-ended prompts can be included in other processes, such as VOC feedback loops, product reviews, or social media comments.  These channels can extend the virtual net of respondent feedback, adding additional levels of nuance previously difficult to quantify. 

Open-ended texts allow businesses to gain insights from social media, including retweets, comment threads, statuses, and more. These days, everyone has a voice. Choosing to include the Analyzing of this larger network of open-ended texts may ensure you “hear” more of them!

Understand the Why

Open-ended questions encourage descriptive responses that dive deeper into the emotional responses that influence them.

In action, this case study demonstrates the ways in which NBC dramas elicited different emotional responses from respondents. Canvs Surveys was able to evaluate data and communicate predictive insights based on open-text responses.

This data showed the reasons why a respondent felt a certain way about the show by recording an emotional score for each reaction to quantify the emotional response.


Key Takeaways

If you want to gain comprehensive insights and unrestricted access to opinions, properly utilizing open-ended questions will extend the depth of your research and add important nuance to your insights. Otherwise, your survey might just be a missed opportunity. That said, it’s equally important to utilize a proven and effective method to analyze the open-ended text you gain from your survey. Canvs is the answer.

Canvs employs a powerful language processing engine that’s engineered to understand the nuances of Millennial and Gen-Z language, Canvas can decode shade, clap-backs, and stanning, so you don’t have to. Not to mention, the days of pouring over and coding open-ended text are over. With Canvs Surveys, getting the insights you need takes just a few minutes.

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Schedule a demo to see how Canvs automates text analysis, saves time, and improves insights from open-ended text!

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See how Canvs automates text analysis, saves time, and improves insights from open-ended text!

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