10 Tips for Writing Effective Survey Questions

Here are 10 ways to write the most effective survey questions and ensure you get the best data from your survey:

1. Effective survey questions are simple and direct, so that the respondents do not get confused or stuck on a question. Only one interpretation should be possible.

2. Never use a colloquialism or a nuance. This leaves too much room for error. Hence, rather than using “frequently”, use “daily”.

3. Effective survey questions often use Likert Style questions, which is great, but only is the ranking numbers are consistent throughout the survey.

4. Make sure each question is but one question, rather than accidentally asking two. For instance, do not ask “I found the receptionist friendly and I was helped quickly”. If you do want the answer to both, ask two separate queries.

5. Although neutral and opt out responses are annoying, they are also valuable and will increase the trust respondents have in you. Hence, you should include them.

6. Never run a online questionnaire without having tested the survey questions. If you don’t find them easy, nor will anybody else. It is also an opportunity to proofread what you have done so far.

7. Effective survey questions often use polls. This is a great way to get a conversation started and to get people more involved in what you are asking them.

8. Multiple answer questions may be more difficult to understand in terms of the data they generate, but they can provide fantastic information. Use them.

9. Always keep confidentiality at the forefront of what you do. Effective survey questions can be quite personal and people must know what you will do with that information.

10. Make sure you also use visual tools, but don’t overload people with fancy pictures. They have to be relevant and have added value to the questionnaire as a whole.

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