Best Practices for Creating Good Survey Questions

Best Practices for Creating Good Survey Questions

Creating a good survey wholly depends upon how good the questions you create are. This is common sense but despite this many people do not know the difference between a good question and a bad question. Higher response rates—and a better chance of collecting high-quality data that will help your organization thrive—are possible when questions are worded appropriately, presented correctly, and thoroughly analyzed from all perspectives.

There are a few things to consider when attempting to create good questions, such as:

Clarity and Conciseness

Your questions need to be easy to understand as well as being short and to the point. Long and rambling questions not only make them difficult to read and understand but it puts people off, making them less likely to answer the question or even the whole survey. Avoid the use of topic-specific jargon and double-barreled questions.

Neutrality

While it may be easy to add your own opinion or thinking into the questions, don’t do this. It not only decreases the reliability of your results, but it looks unprofessional. Your questions should be phrased in a manner that the person forms an answer based on their own opinion.

Question Types

What you are asking is just as important as how you are asking. The questions you are asking should be created to suit your needs. The more topic-focused your questions are the better data you will obtain from them. Remember that if you feel the question does not fit or is redundant then trust yourself and do not put it in the survey.

Accessibility

The survey design should be accessible to all respondents. How the survey is presented is just as important as what you are asking. Using conditional branching, randomization and mobile-friendly utilization are all just as important as having professionally written questions.

Providing a well-designed survey increases the chances of the respondent to fill out the whole survey as opposed to partially filling it in due to exhaustion or boredom. 

Questions

Questions are the whole foundation of a survey. The better the questions in a survey the better the response you will receive from the people that will fill it.

Open-ended

These are questions with no set options for the respondent to select. Rather these questions allow the respondent to fill out the questions exactly the way they want to rather than picking the best choice from a list of given options. These provide an in-depth understanding of the respondent’s feelings, opinions, and experiences. 

It is important to remember that while open-ended questions are a great way to get an in-depth look into your respondents’ thoughts too many of these questions can cause the survey to be long and limit the number of people willing to answer.

Close-ended

These are questions that provide a list of set answers for people to choose from while filling the survey. While they do not provide the same in-depth understanding of the respondent’s answers, they do provide more concrete answers. They provide data that can be accurately quantified and used to make concrete changes.

There are many ways close-ended questions can be created, from multiple choice questions, yes/no questions, checkboxes, or Likert rating scales. The use of each of these forms of close-ended questions is dependant on the question you are asking and picking the correct form is vital to getting concrete data.

Finally!

Due to the nature of closed-ended questions, i.e., having pre-determined answer choices, it is important that you think about the respondent’s experience and how your wording might be interpreted (or misinterpreted). Good closed-ended questions are perfectly balanced to provide the optimal survey experience for the respondent while still providing you with the required data.

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