5 Tips for writing the best matrix survey questions

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5 Tips for writing best matrix survey questions matrix survey
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Creating extensive surveys but obtaining fewer responses? Don’t be concerned; you are not alone. It occurs in every organization.

Having stated that, how can we bring life and color to a dull survey? Mix in some matrix survey questions for more flavor!

A matrix survey question collects all relevant questions about a topic in a row-column arrangement. Thanks to the streamlined style, your clients may browse and complete the survey questions at a glance. They can readily answer a survey with no time limits. 

In this article, we’ll discuss how to create good matrix survey questions and their benefits and drawbacks. Let’s get started with the basics.

What is a matrix question?

A matrix question is a collection of multiple-choice questions presented in a grid of rows and columns. The rows ask the responders the questions, while the columns provide predetermined answer options for each question in the row. The answer options are frequently on a scale.

When to use matrix questions?

When asking numerous questions in a scaled manner regarding the same subject, it is ideal to utilize matrix questions. For example:

  • In customer satisfaction/experience surveys
  • In a bigger questionnaire, questions regarding a subtopic
  • Combining many rating-scale questions into a more manageable structure

They can be used as a standalone mini-survey or a single-question type within a bigger questionnaire. 

Matrix questions are ideal because they are closed-ended, established solutions that apply to a sequence of questions.

5 Tips for writing best matrix survey questions

When creating matrix questions, you must ensure that your survey respondents have a positive experience. This encourages people to participate in additional surveys in the future. The followings are the tips for writing matrix survey questions:

    1. Response alternatives
    2. Shorten the response phrasing
    3. Do not exceed five rows
    4. Do not ask an unrelated question
    5. Keep your language simple and free of jargon

Let’s learn about these tips in more detail.

1. Response Alternatives

Limit the number of response options to 4-5. This eliminates confusion and allows your responders to readily select among the responses.

2. Shorten the Response Phrasing

Keep the response wording brief and to the point. This guarantees that your responders have a better grasp of the replies and a better mobile experience.

3. Do Not Exceed Five Rows

Limit the number of questions to no more than five rows. Aside from that, the matrix fits awkwardly on a page. Furthermore, your responders may become bored with the unexpected influx of many questions. 

4. Do Not Ask Unrelated Questions

When preparing the survey, asking questions unrelated to a specific product/service is tempting. This may lead to your consumer providing wrong replies. As a result, limit your matrix queries to a single subtopic.

5. Keep Your Language Simple and Free of Jargon

Use basic language so your intended audience can grasp the question in a single reading. Avoid using industry jargon, which may confound your respondents.

Having understood the tips for writing matrix survey questions, now let’s understand some benefits of matrix survey questions.

Benefits of using matrix survey questions

As compared to long answer type questions, a matrix question provides benefits such as:

1. Space Saving

Because the matrix survey is shown in row-column style, large pages of questions and replies are avoided. A good number of 4-5 questions and their answers can easily fit on a single page. When your survey responder sees only one question, they feel at ease.

2. Reduced Survey Response Time

Matrix survey questions have a consistent pattern with the same response possibilities for each question. As a result, your survey respondents may easily train their minds to answer the questions. On the other hand, a standard survey questionnaire has multiple alternatives for each topic, which might confuse your target audience.

3. Increased Survey Responses

With a clear single-page style and simple answer alternatives, your respondents will be eager to complete the survey, resulting in higher survey response rates.

4. Eliminates Monotony

Attending back-to-back survey questions might get tiresome if they include a mix of long and short response questions. Each of these questions necessitates a thorough thought process. 

However, matrix question and answer minimize repetition by grouping questions on the same topic under one heading. Your target audience should simply concentrate on the product as a whole by picking comparable answer alternatives.

Drawbacks of matrix survey questions in a survey

Regarding data quality, mobile responsiveness, and other factors, matrix questions confront hurdles.

1. Straight Lining Effect

Although a matrix survey allows for speedy responses, your respondents may wind up picking the identical answers for two rows if they are not given careful thought. This may cause the survey to be skewed with false replies.

2. Low Data Quality

A matrix with too many rows or columns might alter the data quality by confusing your target audience. They may either offer an erroneous response or leave the survey entirely.

3. Poor Mobile Responsiveness Probability

Research shows that around 30% of consumers answer mobile phone surveys. As a result, if matrix questions are not created and formatted appropriately, they seem deformed on mobile. This can result in high survey drop-out rates.


Matrix surveys may be a terrific alternative to traditional pencil-and-paper surveys – as long as survey producers keep their matrixes from becoming too large. However, with many surveys now being completed online, there’s no reason to remain with the old matrix survey approach.

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