Writing survey questions
These guidelines will help you to stick to the point, and to get only the data that supports your goals and objectives.
Select the right question types
There are a number of different question types that you can use when writing survey questions. Once you understand the different question types, you can use the right question type to get the data that you need.
Quantitative questions are directly measurable. This means that you set up a list of answers and your respondents will choose from those possible answers. These questions will give you clean reports, easy-to-analyse charts, and will help you to identify patterns and trends. Make sure that your question wording matches the question type and response scale.
Qualitative questions are those that let respondents tell you the answer in their own words. Even though they can be more difficult to analyse, qualitative questions will show you exactly how your respondents are thinking.
To get the best results, you often need to use a combination of quantitative and qualitative survey questions. But remember: If you ask qualitative questions, don’t ask them up-front. Get buy-in from your respondents early with easy quantitative questions, and leave the free text questions to later.
Check list for writing survey questions
- Think about the respondents and use appropriate language
- Make your questions clear and as short as possible
- Personalise the language where possible
- Ensure that your question wording matches the scale and response options you choose
- Make sure to use a time frame if important
- Avoid leading questions
- Avoid biased questions
- Avoid double barreled questions
- Ensure the response options are balanced
- Don’t ask overly complex questions
- Don’t make your questions too broad
- Test your questions against the survey objectives