The Types of Questions to Ask in an Online Survey

Asking the right types of questions is key to a successful online survey. Badly formulated questions can result in a poor return rate and can effectively make or break your online survey. Of course, there are many online survey tools available which can make the process of creating online surveys easier. For example, some online survey tools offer questionnaire templates which reduce the need for you to create your own questions for a survey.

To find out what types of questions you should ask in an online survey, check out our advice below.

Closed-ended Questions This type of question has a predetermined set of answers from which the respondent can choose. The benefit of closed-ended questions is that they are easy to categorize and are suitable for analysis purposes. A slight disadvantage is that they can be more difficult than open-ended questions to write; they must include all the logical choices participants could give for each question and so considerable thought must go into formulating them.
Two common types of closed-ended questions are: • Radio-button question – Where participants are asked to choose only one selection from a list of options (e.g. yes or no). • Checkbox question – Where participants are asked to choose all selections that apply from a list of options.

Open-ended Questions Open-ended questions allow people to answer a question in their own words; they provide useful qualitative information but they can be harder to analyse. They can also yield vague responses that are difficult to interpret. It is best to avoid these types of questions if you can for an online survey.

Rating Scale Questions This type of question is often used in lieu of a flat yes/no or ‘agree/disagree’ question type. In other words, it enables participants to add more substance to their opinions.
• When creating a rating scale, you should order the rating choices from low to high, or left to right.
• Rating scales should also typically use 5 or 7 point scales so that a neutral or mid-point option exists.

Multiple Choice Questions These types of questions can come in two forms – single code or multi-code questions. They are probably the most common type of question style used to varying degrees in online surveys. They are simple to create and have the advantage of being readily understood by survey participants. • A single code question requires the respondent to select just one answer, and a multi-code question allows the respondent to select multiple answers. • A variation on the multi-code question is the ability to set the maximum number of answers which can be selected. For example, ask the respondent to select up to three items from a list of ten. • Be aware that different online survey tools have different names for single and multi-code questions. Surveygoo calls this question style a choice question.
The type of questions you ask in an online survey play a big role in creating a successful survey. Before you start creating survey questions, you should ask yourself what information you hope to gain from the survey and how you intend to use the answers. This will enable you to make the right decision when it comes to choosing the types of questions you wish to use in the survey.