Quality Survey

An important goal as a survey author is to construct clear, direct questions using the language that survey participants will understand. While there are no set rules on the wording of these questions, there are some basic principles that do work to improve the overall design. Most importantly, make sure your survey is relevant, accurate, and valid.

Be familiar with the questions + Know the objectives + Know the kinds of information needed = RELEVANCY

Considerations for Creating Effective Survey Questions:


The types of questions you use play a role in producing unbiased or relevant survey responses.  It is important to consider what questions to use and when it is appropriate to use them.

  • These range from open-ended (comments to essays) to closed-ended (yes/no, multiple choice, rating scale, etc).
  • In the end, it is the question types that determine what kind of information is collected.


Be Brief – Be Objective – Be Simple – Be Specific

A good design should help to stimulate recall (if necessary); it should motivate the respondent to answer; and the sequence of questions should help to create a certain flow through the survey. It is good practice to avoid the unintentional violation of a survey’s objectivity, so avoid the following:


1. Leading Questions:

You don’t want to lead your respondents to answering questions a certain way based on the wording or structure of them.

2. Loaded Questions:

Loaded questions work through emotionally charged items like words, stereotypes, etc. This too can push respondents towards a specific answer choice.


3. Built in assumptions:

Do not ask questions that assume the respondents are familiar with the specifics.

4. Use simple language – no jargon: 

Use words that are direct and familiar to the respondents. Try not to use jargon or technical concepts. Avoid double negatives and double-barreled questions.

Double-Barreled questions split questions into more than one part, idea or meaning. The answer choice for each part might have separate meanings to the ideas presented within the one question.

Example Survey questions and their rephrase structure


Assumption: Developing health survey questions.

  1. 1.        

Original survey question: “Do you know that people are testing a vaccine against cancer?”

Concerns about this survey question: This is a leading type of question as it leads a higher proportion of respondents to agree with it. The question does not assess whether the respondent was actually aware that researchers were testing a vaccine against cancer.
Re-phrased survey question: “Do you know what is being tested?” If the respondent replies “yes,” the next question should ask “What is being tested?”


Original survey question: “Are the researchers doing good work in your community?”
Concerns about this survey question: This question, which is being asked by a researcher, leads to the respondent to agree that good work is being done by the researchers.  Chances are that nearly 100% of the respondents will respond with “yes” in response to this question.
Re-phrased survey question: “Do you believe that the researchers will have a positive or negative impact on your community?”

Original survey question: “Do you know what a vaccine does?”
Concerns about this survey question: This type of question cannot be utilized to assess whether the respondent actually knows what a vaccine does.  A follow-up question is necessary to assess actual knowledge.
Re-phrased survey question: “Do you know what a vaccine does?”  If the respondent responds yes, then the follow-up question must be “What does a vaccine do?”



Original survey question: “Have you heard of tumor cancer?”
Concerns about this survey question: This type of question does not assess whether the respondent has actually heard of tumor cancer, and the question also does not assess the more important question of whether the respondent knows facts about tumor cancer.
Re-phrased survey question: “If someone has tumor cancer, what signs or symptoms do they usually show”?  The researcher should record the response and determine if the response is accurate.  This enables the researcher to determine if the respondent has heard of tumor cancer, and if the respondent is familiar with facts about tumor cancer.








By : Sharad Kumar_13PGP052_Group&_SectionA


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