We live in the Information Age, a time where data is a source of capital. Surveys have become one of the time-tested ways of gathering data. But even with 200+ years of published research and experience, people still fail to obtain helpful information from their surveys.
Why is that? Because good data starts with great survey questions.
Since asking and answering questions are part of the way we communicate, people often believe writing survey questions is easy. However, there is a big difference between asking questions and asking the right questions.
In this article you’ll learn evidence-based techniques for writing effective survey questions, so you can gather useful data and actionable insights.
Good questions elicit answers that provide meaningful and consistent information about what we are trying to learn or understand. A good question produces answers that are reliable and valid, meaning that the overall responses are repeatable, consistent, and correspond accurately to what you were trying to measure.
While there is an art to designing effective survey questions, there are also several principles of survey design that will help you get the information you need from your friends or customers.
In this section, we have distilled some of the most authoritative survey research into 6 tips for writing survey questions:
→ Not sure whether you need a survey or a questionnaire? Check out our guide on survey vs questionnaire
“The goal of writing a survey question is for every potential respondent to interpret it in the same way, be able to respond accurately, and be willing to answer,” explains Tammy Duggan-Herd, PhD, a psychology researcher-turned-marketer.
She explains that poorly written survey questions don’t measure what they think they do.
“Always evaluate questions for yourself and make adjustments where you see fit to get to the heart of what you want to know,” says Duggan-Herd.
Focus on creating great survey questions, and you’ll get the answers and insights you need to achieve your goals.