5 Specific Question Types Everyone Should Know
When you start building your survey, ask the questions you’re using to some of your coworkers or someone close to you, just for reference.
Are they answering it the way you would expect?
Is it getting you the info you need?
This is a reliable way to judge the difference between good survey questions and great survey questions.
Here’s what you should ask, and what you should expect:
– Dichotomous, also known as Yes/No Questions
This is our first example of a closed-ended question.
When forming a Yes / No question, keep the following verbs in mind: BE, DO, HAVE or a modal verb.
Without one of these, it’s impossible to answer your question with a simple yes or no.
Keep in mind: That this type of survey question is perfect for a respondent to answer quickly and without having to put too much thought into it. That this type of question is perfect for a respondent to answer quickly and without having to put too much thought into it.
But make sure you mix it up with some other question types to avoid careless skipping through questions.
– Ratings, like the Likert-type scale
Another closed-ended question is a rating scale, where you can uncover a certain degree of opinion.
So many options here!
First, you’ll need to make a choice between a bipolar construct and a unipolar construct.
Bipolar is used when you have a construct that ranges from negative to positive. Always remember to put a “neutral” in the middle of such a scale.
If you’re asking a survey question that ranges from zero to positive, we talk about unipolar constructs.
And then as a second step, you’ll have your visualization.
Meaning you can choose between question types such as a numeric rating scale, a graphic rating scale or a descriptive rating scale.
(The Likert-type scale is the most well-known numeric rating scale.)
Keep in mind: A good rating scale should be easy to interpret, especially the meaning of each scale point should be clear.
And it should include enough points to differentiate respondents from one another as possible.
Sounds like you’ll be measuring your responses through ratings? Take a closer look at the rating scale and all its variants here.
– List of items, Usually in the form of a Multiple-Choice survey question.
The one we hated when taking tests!
Because they made things so confusing…
But it’s also the one that also scored you points if you had a knack for guessing.
(Try to avoid that from your own respondents by asking smartly!)
This closed-ended question offers your respondents a certain number of answers. It’s up to you if you’ll allow them to answer with one or more possible options.
Keep in mind: These questions have extremely fast processing times and leave no room for subjectivity. But they are often time-consuming to create and will only produce quantitative data.
Read up more tips and discover an extensive guide on multiple-choice questions here.
– Ordinal Questions
The one where a respondent can rearrange the answers any way he likes!
The basic principle of this question type is to sort the answers in order of importance, according to the respondent. The old-fashioned way (by assigning numbers) can now be replaced by a more interactive drag and drop variant.
Keep in mind: You should always clearly instruct in your question what the order of the ranking is. Should the most positive or negative be on top, for example? Avoid respondents misinterpreting your ranking question and providing you with faulty data.
Learn everything you need to know on ranking questions here.
– Demographic Questions
Time to get a little personal 😉
They are the basic questions used to form an image of the respondent taking the questionnaire: They gather info on characteristics such as gender, age, place, income, …
This data will help you define a clear picture or setting of the audience you’re surveying and, ultimately, will help you to better understand their choices.
(Not only are these helpful survey questions to ask, but it’s an easy way to discover how you can reach them with upcoming communication you have planned as well.)
Keep in mind: Pay attention to the information you ask and need. If you send out an email with your questionnaire, it would be strange to ask for the respondents’ email address again in the demographic question.
Find some great examples and learn how to use demographic questions here.