Getting the Scoop on Survey Questions

by Jun 18, 2024

Crafting killer survey questions is a bit like brewing the perfect coffee — both need the right blend of elements. Want to tap into what people really think? You’ve gotta ask the right way. Here’s how to whip up some snappy, unbiased questions that’ll get you the answers you actually need. 

Survey Magic: Quick Tips for Crafting Questions That Work 

Keep it snappy. Lengthy surveys? No thanks. Cut to the chase with questions that are quick and to the point. Stick to must-knows only and chat in everyday lingo to keep things clear and crisp. Think more texting, less technical. 

Word it wise. Be crystal clear with your wording. Precision is key — because “smoker” might mean one cig or one pack. Instead, ask if they’ve lit up this year, then dig deeper based on their answer. 

No leading, please. Keep it neutral. We all want to look good, but your survey shouldn’t push for prettier answers. Ditch leading questions. Like, don’t ask, “Getting a flu shot is tough, right?” It sets the tone and not in a good way. 

One at a time. Double questions only double the confusion. Split them up. Instead of asking for the most honest and trustworthy brand, just ask one at a time. 

Balanced acts. Keep your answer choices even-steven. For scales, think symmetrical: as many positive options as negative, with a neutral middle. And always have an out for those “doesn’t apply” moments. 

Mind your order. First impressions count, even in surveys. Order your questions to avoid bias. Start simple, avoid sensitive stuff early on, and maybe shuffle them to keep things fresh. 

Trust the pros. Don’t reinvent the wheel. If you’re measuring attitudes or behaviors, chances are a brainiac has already figured out the best way to ask. Check out their work and use what’s tested. 

Show progress. Keep them hooked till the end with progress bars and a heads-up on how long it’ll take. Everyone likes to see the finish line. 

Test drive. Road test your survey with your audience or even just pals. They’ll catch what you missed and help you gauge the time commitment. 

Psst… need some tried-and-true measures? Dive into the Decision-Making Individual Differences Inventory for a treasure trove of research-approved questions which offers a catalogue of over 200 measures commonly used in judgment and decision-making research: