Mistakes to Avoid While Writing Survey Questions

Are you planning to conduct a survey? If so, it is important to note that high-quality results are dependent on high-quality questions. Crafting effective survey questions may seem easy, but it is tougher than you may expect.

Survey designers often neglect to take the time to phrase their questions using the most effective language and leveraging the most functional question types.

To write your questions effectively, make sure to avoid some of these mistakes:

Leading questions or words

Respondents might be biased in their response because of a question’s leading words. Make sure you word questions in a way that respondents interpret it correctly and answers them unbiasedly. It is also important to avoid questions that communicate frustration or other negative sentiments.

Neglecting mutually exclusive answer options

While inquiring about the age of a person taking a survey, the inclusion of mutually exclusive answer options is common. A common mistake is noticeable within many list-type items. For example, it is not uncommon to see answer choices for age being presented as: 20-30, 30-40, 40-50, and 50 or more. As you may have noticed, there is shared overlap in these answer choices. As such, your data are likely to be skewed and/or invalidated.

Asking the same questions twice

Researchers often try to get the most data out of each respondent from a survey. However, it doesn’t mean you can include the same survey question more than once. Unless your survey is an assessment and evaluating internal consistency is important to you, you should avoid rephrasing questions on the same topic in multiple ways.

Including complex questions

Multi-stage questions or over-complex ideas may decrease survey and data quality. It’s better to include multiple questions by breaking a complex question into several than to try to capture multiple concepts within a single question.

For instance, “What are the chances you will buy a house and a new car this year?” This question is not going to draw any useful insights because some people may just intend to buy a house, while others may intend to buy a car.

While aiming to write effective survey questions, make sure to avoid the above-mentioned mistakes. Prior to distributing a survey, read through the survey thoroughly. Each survey question should be concise, clear, and singularly focused.

If you want to design a survey effectively, consider using the best online survey tool—the Ambivista Survey Insights Suite. If you require more expert assistance with crafting your online survey, consider Ambivista’s research experts to help you launch a winning survey campaign.

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