How to Write Survey Questions: 7 Things NOT to Do

    by Shannon Johnson

    Date

    April 10, 2014 at 11:00 AM

    asking-survey-questions-ebookWriting a survey from scratch is no walk in the park.

    It seems simple to sit down and craft a list of questions -- whether a recent conference your company put on or the viability of a new product line -- but ... it's just not.

    Even if you know what questions you'd like to ask, it doesn't mean they're the right questions, nor does it mean the first draft of those questions will be 100% unbiased, or misleading in some way.

    And this stuff actually matters -- if you don’t ask the right questions the right way (and there are a lot of ways), you won’t get the information you need to make the informed decisions you've been tasked to make.

    To help you master survey writing, SurveyMonkey and HubSpot put their heads together to create a guide and workbook that will walk you through five questions you need to ask yourself before writing a successful survey, and do's and don'ts for writing sound survey questions. When you're all done with the guide, you can use the workbook we compiled to craft the first questions of your next survey.

    Flip through the SlideShare presentation below to familiarize yourself with what not to do, and then go ahead and grab your own free copy of The Art of Asking Survey Questions to get the full scoop on how to make writing your next survey a whole lot easier.

    The 7 Big "Don'ts" of Writing Survey Questions

    1) Don't write leading questions.

    These will lead your respondents to answer a question in a certain way based solely on the wording of the question.

    2) Don't write loaded questions.

    These typically contain emotionally charged assumptions that can push a respondent toward answering in a specific way.

    3) Don't assume.

    You know what they say about assuming. Don't build assumptions about what the respondent knows or thinks into the questions -- rather, include details or additional information for them.

    4) Don't use jargon.

    Jargon can make respondents feel unintelligent. Use clear, straightforward language that doesn't require a respondent to consult a dictionary.

    5) Don't not not use double negatives.

    Confusing, right? What I meant to say was "don't use double negatives." They're confusing, and irritate respondents. Possibly to the point of not completing your survey.

    6) Don't write double-barreled questions.

    This is when you ask two questions at once. If you present two questions at the same time, respondents won't know which one to answer -- and your results will be misleading.

    7) Don't let people opt out.

    You're taking a survey to get people's opinions -- so don't let them not provide it with something like "No comment," or "Not relevant."

    Written by Shannon Johnson

    Shannon is a content strategist at HubSpot, which basically means she holds hands and sings Kumbaya with clever people to create marketing resources you might actually wanna read.

    Search Inbound Hub

    Subscribe to Marketing Articles by Email

    Subscribe by RSS

    Follow HubSpot

    Call Us: 1-888-HUBSPOT