How to write good survey questions?

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How to write good survey questions? Wellness survey template
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Surveys appear concise, but in reality, they are hardly so. A survey must be precise in all aspects, and creating a survey question is an art form in and of itself.

If you put in the effort to write the best survey questions, you’ll be well on your way to obtaining the accurate responses you want to accomplish your aim. In this blog, we will discuss the different types of survey questions and the best practices for writing survey questions. 

Let’s start with looking at different types of survey questions.

10 Types of survey questions

Not everyone enjoys filling out surveys, so it must be made sure that surveys are appealing and simple to complete. This can only be accomplished by choosing the appropriate type of survey questions.

Here is a list of different types of survey questions:

  1. Open-ended questions
  2. Close-ended questions
  3. Multiple-choice questions
  4. Rating scale questions
  5. Likert scale questions
  6. Dichotomous questions
  7. Matrix questions
  8. Dropdown questions
  9. Demographic questions
  10. Image choice questions

Now, let us explore these types in greater detail.

  1. Open-ended questions

Open-ended questions are nonobjective survey questions that allow respondents to react on their own terms. This signifies that the answer to this question is not confined to a single alternative. This type is ideal for gathering insights from your respondents and eliciting more meaningful responses.

When it comes to data analysis, open-ended questions aren’t the ideal choice. Since written responses are difficult to measure, text boxes are preferable for presenting qualitative data.

2. Close-ended questions

A closed-ended question is one from which respondents are given multiple choices to pick an answer from. Closed-ended questions allow for a restricted amount of responses and are good for surveys since consumers respond more quickly when they don’t have to write much.

Closed questions gather the information that may be utilized to establish broad generalizations based on statistical analysis. This type elicits a single straightforward response from the respondent.

3. Multiple-choice questions

Multiple choice questions are written in such a manner that allows respondents to choose one response from a set list of 4-5 options. Providing your respondents with a defined set of answer options makes it easy for them to finish the survey. 

Most survey questions of this category allow participants to pick either a single or multiple answers. They are simple to use, offer data that is accessible to evaluate, and present mutually exclusive options.

4. Rating scale questions

A rating scale is a prominent closed-ended question form in which different weights can be assigned to each answer choice.

Respondents are often asked to select from a range of alternatives from Unsatisfied to Satisfied. The rating scale can assist you in quantifying subjective emotions such as fulfillment, experience, perception, fidelity, and so on.

These scales are utilized because the questions are simple to grasp, offer insights across language hurdles, and may provide approximate responses without delving into further depth.

5. Likert scale questions

A Likert scale is a logical scale on which respondents select the option that best matches their viewpoint. It may be used to assess someone’s attitude by determining how satisfied or unsatisfied they are, with a specific opinion.

It adopts a common approach of collecting data, which makes it easier to interpret results. This scale is sometimes known as the satisfaction scale as it represents the extreme, neutral and moderate options.

6. Dichotomous questions

Dichotomous questions are a type of closed-ended question. These questions have just two potential answers, which are given in survey forms as true/false or yes/no responses. There are times when you need instant answers for the survey. This is when dichotomous questions enter the picture.

Avoid using a dichotomous question when asking about feelings and emotions because it is a neutral area where individuals would prefer to answer “maybe” or “sometimes.”

7. Matrix questions

A matrix survey question is the type of survey question that is used to collect input from a target audience. The rows (see image below) reflect a set of questions about a topic, while the columns provide the response alternatives.

When proportionally asking numerous questions regarding the same subject, it is ideal to utilize Matrix questions.

How to write good survey questions? Wellness survey template

8. Dropdown questions

A dropdown question allows responders to select one of several alternatives from a list shown in the dropdown menu. When the responder clicks on the down arrow, the dropdown menu appears. Dropdown questions are simple to understand, given that they only allow one response.

How to write good survey questions? Wellness survey template

9. Demographic questions

Demographic questions in a survey help researchers learn more about their survey participants. These questions give context to the survey data obtained, helping researchers to define their participants and evaluate their data more effectively.

Generally, putting the demographic section last leads to higher engagement with the questions, and better engagement leads to more comprehensive data and happier respondents.

How to write good survey questions? Wellness survey template

10. Image choice questions

Image choice questions are similar to multiple choice questions, except the choices are images rather than words.

In this type of survey question, individuals choose one or more image replies from a predefined set of image options. The photographs automatically format to look attractive both on desktop and mobile devices.

How to write good survey questions? Wellness survey template

Now that you have learned about different types of survey questions, let’s look at some of the best practices for writing good survey questions.

Best practices for writing good survey questions

One of the pitfalls of creating a survey is not asking the right questions correctly, resulting in exploited data leading to inaccurate results. This is why we’ve compiled some of the best practices for writing good survey questions. Let’s explore them:

  1. Ask unbiased survey questions

Sometimes, some questions may provoke the respondents to agree with your opinion. This might give unfair results as they might not be able to express their true feelings.

Rather, you may ask, “How satisfied are you with our product quality?”

2. Avoid double-barreled questions

The most prevalent fallacy in surveys is double-barreled questions. However, they are reasonably simple to eliminate. It is a form of inquiry that combines more than one topic and asks about two separate concerns while only allowing one answer.

They are problematic because the responses can be readily misconstrued, and there is no method for the respondent to specify which aspect of the question they have responded to.

Instead, you may ask separate questions such as “Do you like the taste of the food?” and “Do you like the plating of the food?”

3. Attention check questions

Attention check questions, which ask participants to recall particular information from earlier in the survey, are sometimes used by researchers. These tests aim to distinguish between respondents who supply high-quality replies and those who provide low-quality or untrustworthy data.

If the respondent passes the attention check question, they will be directed to the next portion of the survey. Otherwise, they will be disqualified.

4. Ask direct and detailed questions

Some questions may lead to confusion and misinterpretation if not defined properly. Avoid ambiguous language to ensure that each respondent gives the same type of answer. Ask direct questions and do mention the aim of asking a specific question.

Also, avoid slang, jargon, and modish language as it may sound inappropriate to the respondent’s level of comprehension.

5. Pre-test before releasing

Another important consideration is to always test your surveys before releasing them out. Gather a group of people and observe how they react to your survey. If they appear to be struggling, you can bet that a few questions were incorrectly phrased.

Conclusion

To get better results, choose the correct type of survey questions that suit your survey’s aim.With the best survey questions you will get high response rates which will aid in better insights intof the results.

Do stick to the best practices and pre-test your surveys before sending them out to the respondents. As a result, they will enjoy filling them out and would not serve as a favor.

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Hindol Basu 
GM, Voxco Intelligence

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