13 Short Tips on Writing Better Online Survey Questions

Creating comprehensive and thorough questions is often the easiest way to ensure the success of your online survey campaign, and unfortunately—it doesn’t come easy to many. Like any art form, practice, hard work and dedication is the easiest way to work on your skills. Look at these common struggles, and learn how to avoid them effortlessly.

1. Keep Loaded Questions and Phrases off the Table

Suggestive words and phrasing can greatly change any survey’s results, and it’s important to keep any questions you’re posing in your survey as unbiased as possible. Words like Should, Could and Might sound similar in normal context, but offer a substantial 20% difference in the results poll. Keep to strong, straightforward context that can’t be interpreted in a variety of fashions to ensure your survey is as neutral as possible.

2. Misplaced or Out-Of-Order Questions
Questions should be placed in a logical and subsequent order to ensure your audience is able to follow the proper flow. Generally speaking, a proper funnel approach should be used to keep the questions and responses fluid and natural. Keep questions broad and generic at the beginning to warm your clients to the survey, and focus more on the specificity throughout the middle. Close the survey with easier questions like demographics at the end.

3. Keep Response Categories Exclusive
When posing a multiple-choice category; be sure to include exclusive, clear-cut options for your respondents. Many non-exclusive answers can frustrate your audience and make them both difficult to answer and hard to interpret.

4. Ask Specific and Relevant Questions

When writing your questions make sure the questions are specific to what you want to know. Asking general questions make it hard for a consumer, and might lead you with completely irrelevant answers. Asking, “Do you like soda?” leaves your respondent with questions—what kind of soda? The carbonation itself or the flavor? The price point of soda now, or the current selection on the market?

5. Avoid Confusing, Technical or Unfamiliar Terms

While your industry might be used to typical industry jargon, acronyms or slag, majority of your participants won’t know their meaning. Keep your questions basic, in everyday terminology, and keep the language level at a Grade 3 reading level—basic, easy to understand and simple.

6. Keep Respondent Answer on Track

When it comes to an open-ended question about improvement or suggestion, be sure to include the determining factors in which you’re referring. If you’re talking about the taste of a project, be sure to state that in the question. By excluding your subject, participants are prone to leave answers regarding price, texture, bottle type or something related to the product in general.

7. Leave Room to Breathe

The last thing you want is a forced answer from your respondent. Areas like income, religion, family and personal hygiene can be seen as highly personal and oftentimes, intrusive to the user. Make sure you leave an option to not answer the questions, or your survey results could become obsolete.

8. Exhaust All Listings

Make sure that every question has exhausted all options possible. If you can’t include every possible answer, consider including an “other” category to allow consumer input at that time. After testing the other variety, you can adjust the questions as needed, dependent on the answers you’ve received during the testing phase.

9. Balanced Your Listing

While you may want to include a probably inclusion of your scales, it’s important to keep them in check when it comes to your study. If you’re expecting an honest answer, it’s important to consider the values before they have been answered.

10. Double Posed Questions

Asking a multiple phrased question doesn’t give an accurate answer, purely because it can construe a variety of ways. Asking the question on “easiest to use and cheapest television” for instance, may not have the same answer. What might be the easiest use certainly might not be the cheapest. Pose as two separate questions to avoid any trouble interpreting data.

11. Separate Dichotomous Questions
Make sure all answers are independent. For instance, if discussing whether a professional athlete is considered independent agents or an employee, it’s possible some will consider them both.

12. Complex Questions

Keep multiple-choice questions short and concise. In the event they become long and complex, it’s easiest to leave a free text answer. By increasing the length of the survey and questions, you’re decreasing the completed response overall.

13. Avoid Future Predictions

Questions regarding future predictions should be avoided, as they are completely unfounded and inaccurate.

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  1. [...] 13 Short Tips on Writing Better Online Survey Questions- http://blog.questionpro.com Creating comprehensive and thorough questions is often the easiest way to ensure the success of your online survey campaign, and unfortunately—it doesn’t come easy to many. Like any art form, practice, hard work and dedication is the easiest way to work on your skills. Look at these common struggles, and learn how to avoid them effortlessly. 1. Keep Loaded Questions and Phrases off the Table Suggestive words and phrasing can greatly change any survey’s results, and it’s important to keep any questions you’re posing in your survey as unbiased as possible… [...]

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