Building survey questions
This article is designed to assist in the creation of good survey questions. Each of the seven attributes listed below will keep your surveys focused and efficient for gathering data.
Keep It Simple
When writing, keep the question succinct. The more direct the question, the better data you will collect.
- “What is your favorite color?”
Keep It Specific
Make sure the question phrasing is focused.
- What to avoid asking: “What do you think of the coffee shop down the street?”
- You could ask: “Do you think Espresso Roma has good muffins?”
Make It Individual
Try to avoid multi-part questions.
- If you need to, split up the parts into separate questions or implement a form of question logic
Make It Exhaustive
Every question should have an answer. If a question has multiple answers–but not every conceivable answer–allow for an additional answer option marked “Other” and put in a text box for specifics.
Make It Optional
If you know of a question that asks for a potentially sensitive answer, try to avoid asking it.
If you need to ask the question, be sure to provide the rationale and provide an option to not answer specifically.
- Example: What is your yearly household income?
- Possible rationale: This question is for analytical purposes. You may opt to not answer this question.
Keep It Neutral
Write questions that avoid the use of lead up statements. Lead up statements can skew data.
- Example: Over the last three years, CASIT has won awards for their exceptional customer service. How was your experience?
- This question can incite more extreme answers, good or bad.
Make It Balanced
If a question has conditional answers (e.g. Likert scale questions), be sure that there are an equal amount of positive and negative options available.
- Example: Strongly disagree, disagree, neutral, agree, strongly agree.
Links to Additional Content
Continue to the next step: Qualtrics: The Edit Survey Screen
Return to CASIT Training’s page for Qualtrics
Qualtrics has expansive step-by-step instructions, articles, and videos on every aspect of their product. For more information, sign-in at the UO Qualtrics site then select Help and Tutorials (upper right corner of every page in the survey process) or click here.