Tips to help you write great survey questions


(Stacey McDonald) #1

Here’s a great little video (4 mins) from Kenneth Fernandez (Elon University) that gives some great tips to help you write great survey questions:

Here are a few more tips to help you:

  • Have a clear goal in mind. Only ask questions that help you meet your objectives.
  • Write a short introduction explaining why you’re collecting data, and what you plan on doing with it.
  • Don’t force respondents to answer if they can’t or don’t want to. When applicable, offer “don’t know” or “does not apply,” and don’t make sensitive questions mandatory.
  • Keep open ended questions to a minimum. These take more time to fill out, and to analyze. Besides, if you want to dig deeper into a topic, it may be better do to this through an interview.

Have any other tips? Add them here!

(Alexis Mantell) #2

Helpful. I would never have thought about social desirability and ‘truthfulness’.

(Stacey McDonald) #3

I ran across another great resource that take a bit more of a deeper look at a couple of points of contention/discussion when it comes to survey design. This is a chapter entitled “Question and Questionnaire Design” by Jon A. Krosnick and Stanley Presser in the Handbook of Survey Research.

The chapter starts by covering some of the conventional wisdom, and then digs into asking open vs closed questions, the design of rating scales, the use of “don’t know” response options, social desirability and recall bias, and ordering of questions. Lots of great stuff here to help those looking to up their survey game.