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Write smart survey questions

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Increase your responses and get better results with well-designed survey questions.

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There is an art to writing good survey questions, and anyone can become an expert at the technique. The following tips will help you craft a well-written and engaging questionnaire.

Be concise

The most popular surveys are brief. Most users will be excited to take a survey if it doesn't take too long. In other words, your survey completion rate will be higher if you keep it short and sweet. Here are some ways to accomplish this:

  • Establish a specific goal for your form or survey, and keep your questions focused on that goal.
  • Include only those questions that are essential to the data you need to collect.
  • Design a survey that takes no longer than 5-8 minutes, which usually translates to 11-15 questions.
  • Ask single-focused questions and keep them in a logical order.

Make it interesting

Begin the survey with your most interesting questions to inspire respondents to keep reading. Position the more challenging topics in the middle. And remember, the more fun you have creating your survey, the more fun users will have filling it out. Even serious topics can contain a little levity!

Keep questions simple

Use the simplest language possible when writing survey questions to help keep things clear and focused. It's also a good idea to consider the following:

  • Keep questions short and to the point.
  • Stay neutral in tone and language to get the most honest answers—avoid leading questions that subconsciously direct respondents to the answer you want.
  • Keep your language relaxed and conversational—avoid jargon, nicknames, and acronyms.
  • Steer clear of double negatives like "can't hardly" or "don't not."
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Looking for more ways to increase your responses? Check out these handy tips to ensure a successful survey.

Use closed-ended questions

Closed-ended questions are simply those that provide specific answers, such as multiple-choice, a rating scale, or Yes/No answers. These types of questions are easier to understand and answer, and produce a better response rate.

One or two open-ended questions—ones that require a written response—are generally okay, but keep the number small so your respondents stay engaged.

Be specific

Clear, specific questions that require a single, straightforward answer will provide you with the best results.

For example: You should ask "Do you eat out more than two times a week," rather than "Do you eat out regularly?" as the word "regularly" can mean different things to different respondents.

Ask two questions if you have to

To get the most accurate results, you may need to ask two questions instead of just one.

For example: "What is the fastest and most convenient mode of transportation for you?" is actually two questions in one. The fastest mode of transportation may not always be the most convenient.

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Looking for more ways to increase your responses? Check out these handy tips to ensure a successful survey.