Different Survey Question Types and their Applications – Part One

Questions make up the very soul of your survey. It is through your questions that you make your survey boring or interesting. Make your survey interesting and your response rates increase and make your questions boring/annoying/uninteresting and your response rates drop to the ground. When creating surveys using the question library of an online survey software solution, you have the option to include different types of questions that will gain you different types of responses.

The right type of questions elicit the right kind of responses. If you want to customers to rate your product according to some scale, you’d need a different type of question to when you want your customers to describe their user experience.

So, what are these different types of questions and where should you use them?*

At a broad level, survey questions are categorized as a) open-ended and b) close-ended, and this categorization is based on the type of responses they seek to elicit from respondents. Both of these question types have sub-categories which make the questions very specific; it’s just a matter of knowing which one suits the occasion better.

    Open-ended: These are the questions that give respondents the freedom to express themselves freely without being bound by any options or choices. These questions generally give the respondents the chance to give long, meaningful answers. The sub-categories are:

     Text Area – These questions seek long, descriptive answers and are used to understand the respondent’s comprehensive view of a product, be it functional or attitudinal. The answer space is a long empty text box that respondents have to fill with their answers.

     Text Field – These are similar to text areas with the only difference being the length of the textbox provided to the respondent. Used for questions that need smaller, succinct responses.

     Percentage/Number/Currency/Date Field – These are questions where the answer field can only be populated by the corresponding response values. The percentage, number, and currency fields only accept numbers while the date field could accept a combination of numbers and periods. These questions are generally used to guide the respondent towards the right kind of answer and help them avoid mistaken responses.

     Continuous Sum Field – These questions are used when the respondent has to answer two or more line items within the same question whose response fields are numerical fields. The software sums up these numerical responses and provides the sum at the bottom.

     Multiple Text Fields – These questions allow the user to have multiple response fields. Generally used when the respondent is supposed to give an opinion about two or more line items in a question.

     Matrix Text Fields – These questions give the user to have a matrix of response fields, right from 2X2. Used when users have to match up multiple line items against multiple columns.

More about survey question types in the next instalment of this piece. Learn more about survey questions and create impressive surveys in minutes with our leading online survey solution. Sign Up to know more.

*List is non-exhaustive.

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