Best survey practices: Choosing the right question type


Question type selection - one of the key factors in a successful survey

When it comes to creating a survey, it's important to choose the right type of questions in order to make it easily accessible and appealing to respondents. Questions that work well in a fast-paced customer feedback collection process may not work as well in a more in-depth market research study or in evaluating the feasibility of implementing innovation.

So, whose perspective should this question type be chosen from? The starting point is suitability for the respondent, but it is also good to take into account the suitability for the person conducting the survey in terms of the benefits that can be gained from the question type in report analysis. A functional questionnaire is usually a combination of several question types. So, how do you choose the right question type?

First, it is important to stop and think from the respondent's perspective - what type of questions are the most pleasant for the respondent to answer? University research over the years has confirmed the view that graphical question types, such as the slider-type question owned by the slider question type, and the two-dimensional question type, are the most pleasant from the respondent's perspective and their use supports the continuation of the questionnaire to the end.

Picture. Graphical question types, such as 2-dimensional question, are central to fluent response experience and detailed reporting.


With graphical question types, a more accurate picture can be obtained of the respondent's answers, and there is no need to rely on the rough level information provided by "tick in the box" type surveys. However, information can be collected at the desired scale, that is for example, the Likert scale from 1 to 5, can also be used with a slider, but information can be collected with decimal accuracy, which gives significantly more detailed view on results.

A standardized question type in terms of value scale is the NPS question, which always uses a scale of 0 to 10. NPS (net promoter score) enjoys almost standard status internationally as a measure of customer satisfaction. Its close relative is the eNPS (employee net promoter score) used in measuring employee satisfaction. We recommend the use of NPS and eNPS as part of another survey to obtain comparative information in these areas - it is possible to find a lot of comparative information from various industries.

Precise background information can often be obtained with alternative or choice questions. There is also a graphical, functionally equivalent version of these, image choice question, which animates a purely text-based choice question with images. A typical use for the above-mentioned is, for example, choosing a certain department, location or product from a list. In lists with more than 10 options, a drop-down menu is preferable, especially from the perspective of the mobile respondent's user experience.

The open text question type produces text information. In recent years, the possibilities for using open text have clearly improved with the development of natural language processing. Modern survey tools take into account inflections in words and text can not only be pulled into word cloud patterns, but also classified by part of speech (for example Adjectives, Verbs or Nouns) and recognized in the text as expressed by emotions (sentiments).

The question types presented above are the most central from the perspective of a conventional survey. There is also a place for specific structured question types that are specialized in, for example, collecting numbers, URL's, emails, telephone numbers or attachments.

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