How to make good survey questions

how to make good survey questions ? We all know how a survey plays an important role in a business.

When you are not sure what product to produce in the market, what new features to add to your existing products, what will be the best location to open up your business; the one and only and the most popular way to get the answer; is doing a survey.

Survey literally works like magic; you create some survey questions ask your audience and voila, you get all your answers and get an idea what to do next.

However people might think creating a survey is extremely simple, but when in reality it is completely different. It takes lot of brainstorming while preparing the questions.

  Furthermore one bad move might lead you to take bad decision for your business. It’s better to avoid this type of consequences.

Thus it’s extremely important to construct a good survey, where the questions are on point; so that the answers of the respondent lead you to a beneficial result for your business.

How to make good survey questions

The first question that comes on your mind before preparing a survey is how to begin, how to write appropriate questions and what type of questions would be perfect for the survey. Lot of questions starts boggling your mind, which makes it difficult to come to a point and a make a decision.

Your mind starts thinking of many different questions that you want to ask your customers, where you feel like it would be so easy to write them out on a survey app or on an online survey tool and your work is done here, but it is so much more than that.

The best way to begin with creating a survey is brainstorming the answers, yes heard it right; brainstorming the answers that you want for your business.

So sit down and start thinking what different things you want to learn from your survey. Note down the answers you want, that helps you giving an insight of it, for instance – the flavor of ice cream to offer, features that people are missing or adding more customer satisfaction services.

Once completing and getting all the answers you want, now you can easily create the questions.

This technique helps you creating a survey that is on point and also lets you filter out the irrelevant questions which is not beneficial for your business.


After taking out the questions from your answers, now you need to think the type of questions you want to put on your survey. A survey is not only about ‘yes’ or ‘no’ questions- you will get tons of questions in a survey app; which will confuse you; to select the type of questions you want to use in your survey.

Choosing the right questions for your survey will lead you to a good structured survey. So here we are going to discuss types of survey questions.


are the types of question where respondents are asked to rate the scale of item or select from an ordered number.

Ordinal data can be collected by Multiple Choice Questions, ranking questions, or you can use drop-down.


Multiple choice is a hassle free type of question where respondents are asked to pick one answer from the question.

Example: what is your favorite ice cream flavor? Vanilla/ Strawberry/ Chocolate/Other 


Ranking is a unique type of question survey where respondents are asked to categorize their preferences from most to least favorite. This type of questions provides feedback on every answer that you offer. 

Example: What’s your favorite dessert? Categorize them in order of preference

 Ice Cream/ Brownie/ Pastry/ Waffle/ Pancake


Drop down survey questions are kind of similar to Multiple Choice Question. Here respondents are asked to choose one answer from a list of options presented in the survey.

Example: What is your father’s household income?

$10-20k/ $20-30k/ $30-40k/ $40-50k


Categorical survey questions are also known as nominal questions. In categorical questions you can use Multiple choice, YES/NO or Checkbox types of questions. Here you can include count and percentages-“20 respondents” or “10 percent of customers”. These types of questions are best for bar graph and pie-charts.


It is the most simple and easy form of question survey. Here you ask question and the responses will only be in YES/NO.

Example: Do you prefer non-vegetarian food? Yes/No


When you think people might want to pick more than one option, checkbox question provides you that flexibility. You can include as much option as you want.

Example: What type of cloth material do you like?

Cotton/ Linen/ Rayon/ Viscose/ Polyester/ Satin/ Other


If you want thorough data and precise answer then ratio question will be of great use. These questions help you in conducting advanced analysis like- correlations, finding averages and regression models. To ask these types of questions you will use-matrix, ranking scale or text fields.


If you have many interval questions to ask, then matrix survey will surely help you. You can write down the number of questions in a list format and use same scale for that question.

Example: What do you prefer most from the following? Tea/ Coffee/ Milk



In a rating scale survey questions the questions shows list of answers on a scale from any range (1 to 10, 0 to 100 etc.). Here the audience chooses that number which precisely represent their response. A good example of ranking scale question is Net Promoter Score.

Example: On a scale of 1-5 rate our customer service. 1/2/3/4/5


Textbox question surveys are used for ratio questions, direct feedback or personal data such as names. Here you write the question and there will be a blank space where the audience/respondent enters their answer.

Example: How many cups of tea do you drink in a day? 

Enter a number________

TIPS on how to make good survey questions

A good survey questions will lead you to a good decision making process for your business.  So without wasting time let’s discuss the tips to write a good survey questions.


While creating a survey question, in spite of using difficult and confusing language, the main aim for you is to write simple and easy to understand questions. The best way to accomplish the survey is using everyday language.  Using Simple and Easy words will do the trick. 


While asking your audience to rank the items in order of their preferences, try not to exceed six items. Asking to rank a long list might result in an abandoned survey.

Nevertheless, if you want feedback from the item on your list (you exceed six items) out of the original one; try making it into two questions.


Try keeping your survey as neutral as possible. Don’t try putting your opinion on the question. This will not help you in getting your answer from the respondents.

For instance, “We think the flavors of our juices are really good. How good do you think the flavors are”? 

In this question you want your respondent to agree with you.

On contrary you can edit the tone of the question into more objective type, say for example- “Which juice flavor do you like the most”?


Confusing your respondents by asking two questions at once, might not reflect their preferences. This term is also called “double-barreled” questions. It asks the respondents to answer two different things simultaneously.

For example“How much will you rate our new feature in the product and our customer service”?

Here new feature in the product and customer service are two different questions. To avoid this type of consequences separate the two questions into their own close ended questions.

“Rate our new feature in the product


“Rate our customer service”


Finally, after trying all the tips on creating a good survey; it’s time for you to test them out. Testing your survey will help you finding your mistakes and subsequently you will get better in creating good surveys.


  • Don’t include biased questions
  • Exclude bad framing of the survey
  • Exclude incomplete options


  • Show a progress bar, it motivates the respondents to complete your survey.
  • Ensure your survey works on different devices, so that your respondents can answer your questions on desktop as well as on their mobile phones.
  • Split your survey into different/multiple pages, if your survey gets long split them in multiple pages; but keep in mind too many pages might bore your respondents to answer.


And finally we have come to a conclusion, where planning your questions for the survey, using easy language, framing them and testing them out helps you getting an insight of what your respondents think of your business product which helps you in improvising it.

Monisha Devi

Monisha Devi is a Freelance writer who loves to write on variety of topics and whose passion is to learn new and exciting ones every time .

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Monisha Devi