Congratulations! If you’re reading this blog then you’re one step closer to executing quality online surveys with survey questions designed to elicit insightful responses. Like anything, it’s important that you get started on the right foot. So, before you begin writing your survey questions, be sure to establish your goals for the survey and the information you’d like to collect, which will be your guide for which survey question types to choose.
Below are some of the most commonly used survey question types and how they can be used to create a great survey.
This question type allows your respondents to write whatever they want in an extended text box. Text response questions are simply open-ended free-text questions. There are two types of text response questions: single-line and multiline. Using this question type, you can get people to provide free-text comments as their responses. These are single line text fields that usually allow for responses that are 35-40 characters long. Hint: Don’t use these unless you plan to take the time to review the responses.
This question is also called a “Long Text” question. These are open-text fields used to gather longer open-text responses. You would use these Textarea Fields (or Long Text Questions) to collect a paragraph or two of text. When choosing a Textarea Field question in TidySurveys‘ platform, you can determine the response length by setting the maximum number of words the respondents can input — there are three (3) choices to choose from: 1.) allow for unlimited characters in the responses, 2.) or limit the responses to a maximum of 250 characters, or 3.) limit the responses to no more than 120 characters.
If you want to design survey questions that have only one answer — use Radio Buttons. Also called Option Buttons, these types of multiple-choice questions are used when you want respondents to simply select just one options from a set of alternatives. The multiple-choice question with a single answer is the most widely used question type for building surveys. For example, “How often do you take surveys?” (Weekly, Monthly, Quarterly, Annually, or Other). Hint: To understand how Radio Buttons work, think of preset buttons on old-fashioned radio receivers.
Checkboxes are multiple response (check all that apply) questions. Like a checklist, checkbox survey questions allow users to make multiple selections from a number of options. For example, “Other than your home, where else do you access the internet?” (Mobile Phone, Coffee Shop, Workplace, School, Library, Other).
Drop-down lists are multiple response questions where respondents can choose only one answer. When building a survey, instead of using Radio Buttons, you can choose to setup the questions so that the answer options appear as a drop-down list.
This is a five-level Likert Scale (or 5-point Rating Scale) question type, measuring either positive or negative responses. The format of a typical five-level Likert item, for example, could be: 1.) Poor, 2.) Fair, 3.) Good, 4.) Very Good, and 5.) Excellent. These survey questions are particularly useful when trying to evaluate any overall experience. Typically, “1″ identifies the negative extreme: poor, unimportant, etc. Academics have demonstrated that scales are most reliable when constructed with five scale points versus ten.
Similar to the 1-to-5 rating question above, this type of question allows for a rating on a scale of 10 versus 5. The lower end of any scale of this kind is normally represented by “1″ and indicates the extreme negative rating option. A “10″ out of 10 is usually help to mean “excellent” or “perfection”. These types of survey questions are excellent choices for measuring customer opinion or attitudes.
On behalf of TidySurveys, we hope this description of the various survey questions help take the guesswork out of designing effective survey questions. After all, it’s probably fair to say that you’d rather worry about interpreting results than building the perfect survey — so let us help. For your next online survey, create it from scratch with the easy-to-use TidySurveys platform. If you have question, just ask, we’re here to help.
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