How to write an effective survey questionnaire? Every word counts to get higher customer satisfaction. A lot of people write as they think: they’re convinced that this is a great strategy to engage users and not to scare respondents with technical terms.

This reasoning is correct but may lead to an incorrect conclusion: on one side any communication indeed has to be done clearly and simply but, on the other, it’s also true that this is much more difficult than what it seems.

When you’re writing a survey this will be even more obvious. To get accurate results you have to avoid respondent misinterpretations and consequent partial answers. At the same time, you still have to engage and involve the interviewee to avoid drop out.

To get acceptable results you have to follow some rules on correct questionnaire writing. In this post, we’ll unveil our secrets on how to write an effective survey questionnaire!


4 rules for how to write an effective survey questionnaire

A lot of researches showed how important are language and structure to questionnaire effectiveness. The same question formulated in two different ways may lead to two different data. You have to be particularly accurate with question arrangement to reduce misinterpretation. This will also guarantee higher data reliability.


Correct spelling

Maybe it sounds trivial but still, a lot of questionnaires are full of lexical and grammatical errors. One single typo may be enough to jeopardize the respondent’s perception of the company’s professionalism.

 consult a dictionary (even an online one) can clear out a lot of doubts. What’s more, it can also be useful to find different definitions of the same term. This practice reduces the risk of inaccurate or invalid data because of terms of possible ambiguity.


Questions distinctiveness

To guarantee maximum accuracy of results collected, the questionnaire should include unique questions. So one question should include one query and not two.

An example: “Do you eat fruit and vegetables every day?” is what we call a double question. Some respondents may eat fruit but not vegetables every day. And vice versa.

For this reason, the phrase should be split into “Do you eat fruit every day?” and “Do you eat vegetables every day?”. Two separate questions as opposed to one generic question which is difficult to answer

Our advice: a quick and easy way to check your questions could be searching for conjunctions and or.


Simple words

As said before questions have to be lexically and grammatically correct for immediate comprehension. For this same reason, it’s crucial to use a simple and clear style: good questions are short and simple. Avoid technical terms, complicated words, and all those terms that may be difficult to understand for people not experts in the field.

Our advice: replace all unusual terms with more common ones. Thesaurus will be useful for this purpose.


Simple phrasing

A simple language may not be enough to guarantee correct comprehension. Another trick may be using short and simple phrases. Try to be as brief and clear as you can, even for clauses or recommendations.

A question has to have the same meaning for all: some notions may be understood differently by people with different backgrounds. Short phrases prevent this misunderstanding to happen.

Our advice: it’s good to test the questionnaire before sending it to respondents. You’ll be able to identify possible mistakes or unclear statements.


How to write an effective survey questionnaire? The conclusion.

To sum up, it’s advisable to use a professional but still clear and simple language to avoid misunderstanding. Other than our 4 golden rules, make sure that your questions go straight to the point. “Do you go to the gym?” will give you less accurate results than “How many days do you go to the gym?”.

Every detail is crucial to get an accurate questionnaire.


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