Non-leading Survey Questions

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What are leading and non-leading questions?

Talking about leading questions, leading questions in surveys subtly directs the respondents in a way that they select an answer option which you want them to choose. Non-leading questions on the other hand are completely opposite. You make sure while framing questions that they are not influencing the respondents to answer in a certain way just because it is beneficial to you.  

Let us take an example of how a non-leading question can be framed: 

Leading question: “Our customer service is one of the top-rated services in the market. How good or bad was your experience with our customer service?” 

Non-leading question: “How good or bad do you think our customer service was?” 

In the first question, the researcher clearly tried to let the respondents know that their service was the best. Asking the respondents after giving them this hint makes no sense because now the respondent is feeling obliged to give a positive response even if he did have any.  

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While framing non-leading questions 

In this section we will go further and discuss how you can prevent yourself from asking leading questions and having a neural non-leading survey questionnaire for your next feedback survey. Ask yourself the following questions before finalizing the survey questionnaire: 

  • Do any words reflect your personal opinions or preferences? If the answer is yes, make sure to remove/replace those words with something that sounds neutral and non-leading. 
  • Are the answer options balanced? It is important that you provide a range of positive to negative experiences for the respondents to choose from.  
  • Are there any unnecessary modifiers used? Unnecessary modifiers can be stated in the form of a famous personality or a politician which can change the minds of people. Making use of such modifiers also makes a leading question indirectly.  
  • Did you do a mock test? Doing a test with any kind of survey is always advised. You can test your survey with your family and friends to see how they feel about the questions and answers and if they feel compelled at any point to choose a response against their original opinion.   

Examples of leading questions and how they can be framed as non-leading questions 

  • “How excellent was our customer service?” 

Although it is very subtle, using the word “excellent” already suggests to the respondents that the service was indeed excellent, just let us know how excellent it was. Instead, give the respondents some space to come up with an opinion of their own and know what exactly they feel about your customer service. Non-leading question for the same can be framed as: 

“How excellent or not excellent do you think our customer service was? 

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  • “What was your favorite part about interacting with our online tool?” 

Similar to the above example, asking the respondents about their favorite part is kind of biased because then the respondents who have no favorite parts will not know what to answer. Rather than this, you can frame a non-leading question for the same like: 

“What about our online tool that you liked and disliked the most? 

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Great Research
Fast Insights
Best-in-class ROI

Voxco’s platform helps you gather omnichannel feedback, measure sentiment, uncover insights and act on them.

Join 500 + global clients across 40+ countries