Love them or hate them, open-ended questions are a key component of many market research studies. This type of question allows respondents to write out responses to the question in their own words with phrases or sentences, without the limits of predetermined response options.

With many different device options for taking online surveys, we were curious if the device a panelist uses most often to take surveys impacts their opinion of open-ended questions. Typing out thoughts on a laptop or desktop keyboard is a much different experience than using a mobile touchscreen.  We recently asked our community members what they think of open-ended questions and what device they use most often to take surveys. 

Our research found panelists who primarily take surveys on their mobile devices are 19 percent more likely than average to indicate they do not like open-ended questions on surveys. In contrast, panelists who primarily take surveys on desktop computers are 9 percent more likely than average to indicate they always like open-ended questions.

Laptop and tablet users are mixed in their attitudes towards open-ended questions. Laptop users are 11 percent more likely than average to indicate they only like open-ended questions on topics they feel passionate or excited about. Tablet users are likely to dislike open-ended questions but do indicate they like open-ends when the rest of the survey is short.

Attitudes Towards Open-Ended Questions by Device

Index where 100= average community member

Panelists still primarily take surveys on laptop or desktop computers, but mobile adoption is on the rise. Branded’s panelist experience research found that 1 in 5 community members take surveys primarily on their mobile devices.  As more and more panelists take surveys on their mobile devices, the content and format of survey questions will need to reflect how panelists are engaging.  

Overall, understanding the device survey-takers are most likely to use helps researchers optimize the design of their surveys and determine whether open-ended questions should be used to capture valuable insights.