Survey advice – Question Wording

Survey advice – Question Wording

One of the key considerations in the development of a questionnaire is the proper wording of your questions. As you develop your questionnaire, continually ask yourself, “will the respondent understand this question?  Is the language appropriate?”  Always remember to keep it simple and avoid complicated language.  As well, avoid ambiguous and vague words.

Ask yourself, “Is there common agreement in the terms I am using”?  For example, we might ask, “In the past year have you used social media?”  Do we mean since the beginning of the year or the past 52 weeks?

Give very precise instructions for each question. For example, instruct the respondent to check “one box only” or “check all that apply”.  Also, it’s a good idea to emphasize important words in the question or instructions.

If you are providing the respondent with a list of alternatives in a close-ended question, make sure that the list of responses contains all possibilities.  This list should give them the opportunity to check “other”.  This can be followed with  “please specify” and a text box so that you can capture this information.

More advice on questionnairewording in future blogs.


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