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Surveys can provide valuable feedback and insight but asking the right type of questions is crucial to ensuring you receive the data you need to make informed decisions.

Online survey software provides numerous survey question types to choose from, so you want to make sure you are using the right ones to get the results you are after. Before creating your survey with an enterprise survey system, consider what results and the type of information you need, the depth of information you need and the amount of time your respondents have. Your goals may influence what questions types may be best for your survey.

Sometimes slightly varying the types of survey questions and responses can have a significant impact on the value and quality of data you receive. You want to ask questions that allow respondents to give as much information as possible and does not limit their responses so that you receive accurate information.

Multiple-choice questions

Multiple-choice questions are a popular question type when using online survey software, as they allow participants to choose from several response options and do not require too much effort to answer.

When using multiple-choice questions, you should offer at least 4-5 answer options to choose from. You can allow for single or multiple answers. This may depend on what answers you’re wanting to receive and whether you want respondents to select all answers that apply to them or just the most important one.

When including multiple-choice questions, you should always include an option for respondents to select ‘I don’t know’ or ‘other’ just in case none of the predetermined answers apply to them, otherwise you can end up with people choosing answers that are not accurate and this will skew your data.

This question type can be used to determine demographic or to find out about products or services your customers use.

Open-ended questions

While you do not want to use these too often, as they require more effort from respondents, open-ended questions provide an opportunity for longer more detailed answers.

These questions types allow people to give a unique answer rather than choosing from predetermined options. Respondents can word their response however they choose and give as little or as much information.

When creating your survey, you should consider how many questions you will include and how many of various types you will include. Open-ended questions are more time-consuming to answer, so you want to limit how many of these you include so as not to overwhelm your respondents and result in them feeling survey fatigue and not completing the survey. Only use them when it makes sense, and these questions types will provide you with the best data.

These types of questions can also require more effort to analyze the responses as they are not uniform as with other question types.

Rating scale questions

Rating scale questions allow respondents to rank the level of importance something has to them. This can be good when gauging feelings towards certain products or preferences.

This question type asks respondents to rate a range of answer options on a scale. When using rating scale questions, make sure to identify your number scale (example: 1 being the first choice and 5 being the last choice), to ensure there is no confusion from respondents.

When using scale questions, try using the same rating scale for each question, as this will make it easier to directly compare responses in your enterprise survey system reporting database.

Likert scale questions

Questions that ask respondents to answer by selection from “strongly agree” to “strongly disagree”, are called Likert scale questions.

When using these types of questions, you can choose to use responses such as agreement strength, likelihood, or satisfaction (i.e. very unsatisfied, unsatisfied, neither satisfied nor unsatisfied, satisfied, very satisfied). Likert scale questions generally include an odd number of answers (usually five or seven), with the middle option being a neutral answer.

This survey question type evaluates a respondents’ level of agreement or the intensity of their reaction towards something. It’s an easy way to measure the perceptions, attitudes and opinions of your survey respondents.

Likert scale questions can be a good option for questions about new products, customer service experiences, new company developments or feedback on a recent event

Close-ended questions

While open-ended questions, multiple-choice and various scale questions can often provide more data, sometimes simple yes/no questions are needed to provide you with the information you need.

Yes/no questions require minimal effort from respondents so can be a good choice for the start of the survey to get them engaged. Once they have answered the first question, they are more likely to keep going with the rest of the survey.

These are straightforward and don’t require deeper explanation, though you can provide the option for respondents to give more information with an open-ended question to follow.

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