Creating a strong question sequence for a survey

April 16, 2013

We spoke last week about creating questions for a survey, including suggestions to make questions short, specific and as unbiased as possible to receive the most accurate responses from your participants. The more clear a question is, the more likely the question asker and the participant will be on the same page. However, this is only part of the survey. After the questions are created, putting them in the right sequence is important, helping to encourage participants to answer all questions and as accurately as possible.

Initially, beginning with more simple questions can help ease those answering into the survey. This can also help increase a questions takers confidence, and make them more likely to answer sensitive or tougher questions at the end of the survey. These can also include those about a participant's race or other personal information. By putting these near the end, a responder may better understand the legitimacy of the survey, and be more likely to answer than if they were at the beginning. 

Adding a form of organization to the questions can also help survey takers understand where the creator is coming from. Whether it be by page or section, by showing respondents where the questions fit in with each other, their answers are more likely to be accurate.

Some surveys also include "ringer" questions, or those that will be thrown away, to keep a participants attention. At the same time, they shouldn't be used too often – in case a survey taker doesn't make it all the way through. 

"These questions are about hot topics of the day and often have little to do with the survey," a and-style” target=”_blank”>Qualtrics Labs guide said said. "While these questions will definitely spice up a boring survey, they require valuable space that could be devoted to the main topic of interest. Use this type of question with caution."

By working with a data entry and survey printing and mailing company, survey creators can ensure they have the most accurate responses. 

Tab Service Company is a Chicago based company with over 53 years of experience as a data processing service provider.  We provide business with outsourcing solutions for document scanning services, data entry services and mailing/lettershop services.  As a SOC2-approved service organization, we apply industry-best practices to our approach with clients.