Questions with pre-defined answers
Questions with pre-defined answers, or closed-ended questions, can make a survey quick for respondents to complete. They also create response data that is easy to quantify and analyse. For example, they can be used to sort responses into demographic sub-groups, such as age, gender, profession, nationality, etc. There are several ways of giving respondents a set number of options to choose from:
Multiple choice (single answer) questions
Multiple choice (single answer) questions allow respondents to pick just one answer from a list using circular radio buttons. When a respondent selects an answer, all other choices are automatically deselected. The list of answers can be presented vertically or horizontally. You can also include an ‘Other’ option to allow respondents to enter their own answer, if none of the given choices apply to them.
Multiple choice (multiple answer) questions
Multiple choice (multiple answer) questions allow respondents to select one or several answers from a list using tick boxes. You can restrict the number of answer options that can be selected or ask the respondent to ‘select all that apply’. You can also include an ‘Other’ option to allow respondents to enter their own answer, if none of the given choices apply to them.
Selection list questions
Selection list questions are used to ask respondents to pick one answer from a drop-down list. They are a useful alternative to Multiple choice (single answer) questions where the list of choices is very long. You can also include an ‘Other’ option to allow respondents to enter their own answer, if none of the given choices apply to them.
Scale/rank questions can be used to ask respondents whether they agree or disagree with a number of statements, to rate items on a scale, or to rank items in order of importance or preference, for example. Use this question type if you want to create Likert-type scales or semantic differential scales.
Free text questions
Free text or open-ended questions allow respondents to type their answers in their own words. They are typically used to ask respondents for information, such as their name or email address, or to give additional comments or feedback. They are also used for questions where too many answer options would have to be listed or where the answer options cannot easily be anticipated by the survey author. For certain types of studies, spontaneous or freely expressed answers can give much more valuable data than pre-defined answers, even if it is harder to quantify. Depending on the length of answer required, you can choose from two types of free text questions:
Single-line free text questions
Single-line free text questions allow respondents to enter their answer into a text box that is restricted to one line of text. You can set the width of the text box as well as the number of characters that can be entered. You can also restrict the format in which an answer can be submitted, for example a number, valid email address or post code.
Multi-line free text questions
Multi-line free text questions permit longer answers. You can set the height and width of the text box as well as the number of characters that can be entered. You can also restrict the format in which an answer can be submitted.
Date and/or time questions
Date and time questions store the information entered by respondents in a pre-set format, allowing you to filter the response data more easily.There are three types of date and time questions:
Date questions require respondents to either type in a date in the format DD/MM/YYYY or select a date from a calendar. You can set a date range in which answers have to fall.
Time questions require respondents to type in a time in the format HH:MM. You can set the time span in which answers have to fall.
Date and time questions
Date and time questions require respondents to enter both a date and a time within the same question in the format DD/MM/YYYY HH:MM. You can set a date and time range in which answers have to fall.
Other survey elements
Grid questions, or matrix questions, allow you to combine a number of questions in a single table. Grids can also be expanded into individual questions by respondents who are using a small-screen device or have other accessibility requirements.
Sections can be inserted to break up a page with sub-headings, for example, to group questions into themes.
Notes let you add text, images and other media to a survey page, without the need of a question. Use notes to add an introduction, data privacy statement or thank you message, or any other additional content.