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We're writing a survey and one of the questions asks the user to select an option "which they most identify with." This question is basically asking the user to select which of our personas they most align with.

My thinking is this is a waste of a question and also maybe even a bit inappropriate as it seeks to validate our assumption, as opposed to learning more about the users (possibly adding to our personas or invalidating one or more.)

I want to check my own instinct and understanding. Have you ever written a survey with that question? What value did it add?

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There could be many problems with this:

  • Respondents who think they belong to multiple categories and don't feel like there's one true match

  • Respondents who don't think they belong to the category that you think they should belong to based on their other responses (can they explain why?)

  • Respondents who fib a little and tell you who they want to be vs. who they really are

  • Respondents who misunderstand something about the persona label, so they don't select it

It's better to capture data from the different facets that you're using to build the personas and group respondents into them later (or revise the personas if you find something new.)

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    +1 this answer sums up my thoughts perfectly! It also seems like there hasn't been any personas established (hence the personas themselves are just assumptions as well) so it wouldn't make sense to ask questions about an assumption that may or may not be true, further complicating their understanding about the users (along with all the reasons that have been identified in the answer provided). – Michael Lai Jun 22 at 0:54

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