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Tips for developing great survey questions

There are many things to bear in mind when formulating questions for your survey. These boil down to: be clear, be concise, be focused.

I have many tips for developing great questionnaires. I’ve taken some of the ones I included in my book Using Questionnaires to Understand your Target Clients (being published by Business Expert Press in New York early next year) to share with you here.

  •  each question should relate directly to your objectives in doing the survey and enable you to collect the data that you need to achieve those objectives.
  • avoid questions on things that are just ‘nice to know’
  • keep your questions as short as possible. Break long questions into smaller, more pointed questions.
  • make each question clear and concise using simple language
  • phrase each question in a way that ensures that the majority of respondents will interpret it in the same way
  • avoid jargon and unfamiliar words that you understand but which may not be familiar to your respondents. If respondents don’t understand the question they’ll either guess at an answer or abandon the survey.
  • avoid abbreviations and acronyms – if you really must use them include an explanation of what they mean.
  • avoid words such as often, occasionally, regularly, frequently, many etc as these will vary in meaning from one person to the next.
  • avoid double-barrelled questions such as “Was service prompt and courteous? Yes/No”. Someone who found the service prompt but not courteous (or vice versa) will probably feel uncertain how to answer and there’s a risk they’ll answer “No”. Split the question into two separate questions.
  • avoid leading questions that might suggest a certain answer – be neutral in how you phrase your questions.
  • ensure any multiple choice response categories are mutually exclusive so that clear choices can be made by respondents.

I hope you found these helpful !

Remember: Be Clear, Be Concise, Be Focused!

 

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