General Tips for Writing More Effective Survey Questions
To build useful survey questions, remember to:
Keep It Simple
This is not the time for you to use complicated words. You may end up frustrating or confusing the respondents. In such a scenario, they will either give you unclear answers or not participate in it altogether.
Simplicity is essential; they should be short, simple, and clear. Make it easy for your respondents to access the survey questions bearing in mind that they are busy. They should, therefore, be able to understand the questions and answer them in a short amount of time. A lengthy survey may incur the possibility of high abandonment rate.
Speak Their Language
In general, keeping the questions direct and straightforward is always an important rule. Know your respondents and talk to them on their level. You should, therefore, consider things like the level of their education. Use words that can be easily understood and never assume knowledge.
Avoid acronyms, double negatives, industry jargon, undefined abbreviations, and technical concepts. You should provide all the necessary facts for the respondents to comprehend what you are asking them. If you intend to reference something that the respondents may be unfamiliar with, add details that will further explain this to them.
For example, don’t ask:
“How would you like to be enrolled in GreenDirect?”
The first question a respondent will ask is what GreenDirect represents.
Instead, phrase it like this:
“GreenDirect is a fresh fruits delivery service that offers door to door service 24 hours round the clock. How would you like to enroll in GreenDirect?”
If you don’t take the further step of doing the explaining, your survey may risk not yielding any responses.
Refrain from Asking Polar Questions
What are polar questions? They are the Yes/No questions we have discussed earlier. The expected answers have only two possible answers, i.e., a yes or a no. So why should you refrain from using them?
You should avoid them because that’s all the answers that you can expect. You will never know the reasons for giving those answers. The primary purpose of a survey is to try and figure out the mindset of the respondent, and with such questions, you are bound to fail. You can’t expect helpful answers, hence, the objective of the survey will be disrupted.
Examples of polar questions include:
“Do you use perfumed detergents? Yes/No.”
“Do you stream movies online? Yes/No.”
Avoid Double-Barreled Questions
Nobody likes getting bombarded with a string of questions at a go. That’s what double-barreled questions are, two questions phrased as one. It is a common mistake done when writing the survey questions.
An example of such a question may be:
“How did you like the taste and appearance of our meatloaf?”
A respondent may not find a clear way to answer such a question. They may like the taste but not the appearance or vice versa. You should, therefore, break the question into two parts.
You could instead ask:
“Please rate the taste of our meatloaf.”
“Please rate the appearance of our meatloaf.”
Avoid Using Leading Questions
At times, knowingly or unknowingly, your opinions may seep into your survey questions. Such questions may in one way or another encourage the customers to respond in a certain way, and this will compromise the results of the survey.
Leading questions are questions that guide the respondents in the direction of your choice. To avoid these questions, you could ask a third party to go through your sample questions for any questions that may seem leading.
An example of a leading question may sound like:
“Don’t you agree that our sunscreen is the best?”
With such a question, you cannot yield any objective data. If you are looking for honest opinions, avoid dictating the kind of response that you wish to attain.
An example of an objective question sounds like:
“How would you rate our sunscreen?”
Make Sure Your Survey Works on Multiple Devices
You can expect that different respondents will use a variety of devices while partaking in your survey. When choosing which app to use, have this consideration and pick one that’s responsive and has a mobile and desktop version.
As you consider the devices, think about the place or time that the respondents will be taking the survey. Preview your survey on both the computer and phone to make sure that all users will have an easy time.
You have learned how to create questions that will yield the answers that you need and what to avoid. Here is the last and most significant bit, test the survey. Find people to partake in this exercise without any coaching from you and gather their feedback. You will have a chance to identify the areas that require improvements.
The target response rate of your survey depends on a number of parameters, especially the type of relationship that you have with those respondents. There are certain average survey response rate benchmarks you can keep in mind to make sure you attain actionable feedback! You can include a thank you page for all those who participated in the survey with the link to your website, two birds down with one stone.
Do you have additional practices for writing survey questions? Yes? Then don’t hesitate to share them with us in the comments section below.