Writing survey questions may seem simple and straightforward, but there is more to it than meets the eye. Questions must be crafted in such a way that respondents fully understand the question the being asked and feel comfortable responding. Poorly written questions often lead to inaccurate or misleading results, reducing the value of insights gleaned from the research.

At Branded, we ask our community members thousands of questions every day. We have seen the good, the bad and the ugly of survey questions. Here are our top 5 tips for writing well-crafted surveys questions:

  1. Be Clear: Ask questions that are simple, concrete and specific. All respondents should be able to answer the questions as they are written. Avoid double-negatives, unfamiliar abbreviations or jargon that can potentially confuse respondents
  2. Be Complete: When asking multiple choice questions, be sure to include an exhaustive list of response options. If the list is not complete, respondents may reply inaccurately or not reply at all. Conducting initial tests of survey questions can help to determine if the list of response options is truly exhaustive
  3. Be Sensitive: Consider whether any words or phrases used in a question could be viewed as potentially biased or offensive to respondents. Also, avoid words that elicit an emotional reaction. If respondents feel alarmed by the wording of even one question in a survey, it can impact how they respond to the rest of the questions
  4. Be Simple: Ask only one question at a time. Questions that ask respondents to evaluate more than one concept at a time are difficult for panelists to respond to and often lead to responses that are difficult to interpret
  5. Be Consistent: If trending the responses to questions is important, it is vital to keep question wording and response options the same as any earlier surveys that have been conducted