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9 Mistakes to Avoid While Adding Survey Questions

Market research 04 12
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Surveys can help you gain insights from your clients and customers about your brand, product, services, etc. You may have decided the purpose of your survey and the questions suitable to serve the purpose. However, the questions you ask determine whether it is a bad survey or a good one. 

Survey questions are the path you create to get the most honest opinion from your customers without bias. Your survey questions should not make the respondents feel nervous or forced. They should be able to answer what they actually believe and share their opinion openly.

Mistakes to avoid when designing your Survey1

This is why, in this blog, we’ve shared nine common mistakes to avoid while adding questions to your survey. Let’s take a look at them:


Skipping the Introduction

An introduction is the best way to encourage the respondents to complete the survey. You boost not only the completion rate but also the engagement between the respondents and the company. 

If you don’t provide reasons as to why you are conducting the survey, the respondents may feel suspicious and also lose motivation. They may find it not worth their time if they cannot understand your purpose. 

Use clear language to inform the respondents of your survey goal. Tell them how you will use the responses to change your business. Also, make sure you mention the estimated time it may take for them to complete the survey. 

This way, they can set aside time to fill in your survey without feeling burdened.

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Adding Too Many Survey Questions

Asking too many questions can push the respondent to abandon the survey halfway. Moreover, if they use their mobile phone to fill out the survey, they wouldn’t enjoy scrolling page after page for you. 

The longer the survey is, the less likely they will complete it. You should limit your questions to 25 to 30. Also, organize your questions so that you don’t ask open-ended questions unless absolutely necessary. People don’t enjoy writing answers on their mobile phones. 

Limit the questions and use different types of survey questions to keep the respondent engaged with the survey.

Mistakes to avoid when designing your Survey2

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Using Leading Questions

Leading questions are other survey questions that may lead to bias or a low response rate. If you design your questions in a way that leads to a one-sided response, respondents will also favor that side. 

The respondents may be compelled to answer the question based on the leading word. You will lead them to believe that a certain response is better than the other. 

You can identify if the question is leading or not by searching for non-neutral words. 

Instead of asking, “How beautiful is our logo?” ask them, “What do you think of our logo design?”

Writing questions with neutral words prevents them from influencing the response and eliminates any possible bias. Avoid using unnecessary words that could affect the respondent’s response.


Using Loaded Questions

Loaded questions imply the type of question that forces the respondent to answer even though it does not reflect their opinion. If the question does not suit the respondent, they will skip the questions or drop the survey. 

Instead of asking, “Where do you park your car in the company building?” ask them, “Do you own a car?”

For those respondents who use public transport, they won’t be able to answer the question truthfully. To avoid asking such a loaded question, you can ask first if they own a car or not. 

Then, you can use skip logic to show this question to those who own a car.

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Giving Too Many Choices

Giving too many options in multiple-choice or single-choice questions can confuse the respondent. They will feel frustrated from all the options and lose their focus. This will also decrease the reliability of the questions. Especially in single-choice questions, the respondent will become frustrated if you give them many similar options.

It is better to limit the options you can provide for each multiple-choice or single-choice question. 

The respondent would not want to spend too much time filling out the survey. A website visitor can only stay focused for 30 to 90 seconds on a page. So, it is better to ensure that the time needed to answer the questions should be between 30 and 90 seconds.

Related: How to write good survey questions


Using Double-barreled Questions

Double-barreled questions are when you use two subjects in a single question. This forces respondents to answer two different questions with one answer. This can lead to skewed results because you won’t get the full picture.

Take this question, for example, “How satisfied, or dissatisfied are you with our payment method and our delivery service?”

With such a question, you are forcing the respondent to answer two different questions with a single answer. A respondent may not be satisfied with the delivery service but is extremely satisfied with the payment method. But because both subjects asked together, the respondent couldn’t express their opinion freely.

Moreover, you won’t be able to understand what your respondents actually feel about the individual services.

A better alternative to asking double-barreled questions would be to ask two separate questions:

“How satisfied or dissatisfied are you with our payment method?”
“How satisfied or dissatisfied are you with our delivery service?”

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Forgetting “others” and “none of these”

For multiple-choice or single-choice questions, you don’t want to miss the options of ‘others’ and ‘none of these. These options prevent the respondents from choosing the inaccurate option. If you don’t provide these options in the question, respondents will be forced to choose an option against their opinion. 

When asking sensitive or personal questions, you can also provide the option of ‘choose not to answer. This way, you are giving freedom to the respondent to be honest. 

You can follow up these questions with an open-ended question to gain more insight into their response.


Using Jargon or Slangs

It is better not to assume that your respondents know all the technical terms or modern slang used nowadays. Your survey questions, irrespective of the target audience, should use clear and familiar words. Don’t use unfamiliar terms, acronyms, or technical jargon because these may confuse some respondents. 

If you need to use such terms, make sure you provide a definition of the term. This will help the respondents understand the question better. Also, they will become familiar with the jargon and willingly complete the survey.


Using Distinctive Options

When you ask your customers/clients/employees questions to understand their experience with your company, you can confuse them with options. They should not have to feel frustrated because their options are not properly designed. 

Especially when you use ranges, they should be mutually exclusive. You cannot overlap the range. For instance, for the question: “How many years have you been working with us?”

Instead of using

  • 2 years or less
  • 2 to 3
  • 3 to 6
  • 6 to 8,

Use options like

  • 2 years or less
  • 3 to 5
  • 6 to 8
  • 8 or more


With that, we sum up the list of nine mistakes to avoid while adding questions to your survey. 

The end goal of your survey is to gather accurate information from your target audience. By avoiding these nine mistakes when adding questions to your survey, you can ensure that your respondents give highly relevant responses to your research.

What’s more? Adding relevant survey questions and having coherent and complete answer options generates valuable feedback.

Want to build the perfect surveys? We’ve got free survey samples that can get you started!


Misleading questions skew the respondents in a certain direction. Such questions make the survey biased because it encourages the respondent to answer in favor of the leading word. 

Misleading questions make it difficult for the respondent to answer honestly.

The length of a survey needs to be short in order to complete it within 5 minutes or less. For this reason, the number of questions in the survey should range between 10 and 20, depending on the survey goal.

You should keep the survey open for three weeks at most, especially online surveys. This way the respondents have enough time to complete the survey without feeling rushed. Also, they can access it whenever they want and this can increase the completion rate of the survey.