How to Write Good Survey Questions

January 12, 2023

professional using the computer and writing a survey

Surveys are an excellent way to collect information, but if your questions aren’t phrased well, they won’t be effective. Writing survey questions is not as hard as it seems. However, good survey questions are clear, concise, and easy to read and answer. When you design a survey and create questions that are clear, concise, and easy to understand, your results will be more accurate.

Here are some tips for writing good survey questions that will yield the most accurate results:

Be Specific

Survey questions are often the most crucial part of a survey, as they determine what information comes out of it. However, you must write good survey questions if you want accurate results. To achieve this goal, be specific with your wording. Poorly worded questions lead to inaccurate responses or too many subjective answers that can’t be measured.

By being specific, you’ll get a more accurate response and less confusion about what is being asked. In some cases, this may even help you to discover a trend or new development that may not be obvious from measuring only one or two metrics.

Be Straightforward

When writing a survey, it is important to be straightforward about what sort of information you are trying to collect and the goal of your survey. If respondents are not fully aware of what they are being asked, they may become frustrated and confused. This can affect your survey results since their reactions will not reflect their true opinions and thoughts.

Additionally, understanding the type of information you are trying to collect and the goal of your survey is key to writing good survey questions. It is important to be direct and clear so that your survey respondents know what they are asked to do.

Don’t Use Jargon and Technical Language

When writing survey questions, ensure all the words are clear and stated. Jargon and technical language may confuse people instead of engaging them. Instead, use simple words that everyone can understand and focus on getting to the point of each question rather than elaborating in great detail.

Think About the Percentage of Your Audience That Will Understand the Terms You’re Using

You should also ensure that the terms you use are familiar to your audience. If you use terms specific to your industry, then define them before using them in your survey questions. If possible, create a glossary for the survey and reference it in the answers where appropriate.

Know When a Question Isn’t Necessary

Survey questions can be used to collect data from various sources, whether in person or on paper questionnaires. However, when you don’t need to ask a question, it’s best not to include it. This tip is especially important for sensitive or personal topics or questions that may lead the respondent into a certain area.

Avoid Double-Barreled Questions

Double-barreled questions are the kind that combines multiple topics into one question, such as “How do you feel about our company’s products?” They can be vague and confusing to respondents, who won’t know whether they should respond to only one aspect of the question or both.

Avoid Loaded Words

You should not use loaded words in your surveys. A loaded word is a word that conveys a negative connotation, such as “terrible” or “awful.” Using these types of words can lead to people responding more negatively than they would if you used more neutral terms.

Do Not Ask Leading Questions

Leading questions guide the answer to a specific answer rather than allowing your respondent to provide an unbiased response. Leading questions are often used because of what you want the respondent to say. When writing your survey question, try not to use leading words or phrases like “most” and “always,” as these can influence their response.


Questions play a crucial role in the quality of a survey overall. The success of your survey depends on how you ask the questions and interpret the answers. If your questions don’t align with your goals, you will accomplish nothing with the results. 

Survey design can be complicated and need not be an afterthought. Experienced survey analysts at Tab Service Company will assist you with all aspects of survey planning and execution, including question design, call center analysis, and data presentation. Contact us today!