Tip #9: Plan the order and flow of survey questions
An important aspect of survey writing is knowing in what order to ask your questions. Random placement of survey questions may have a negative effect on the quality of survey data you collect.
If your survey needs to be completed by a particular target audience, ensure that qualifier questions (also referred to as screener questions) are placed at the beginning of the survey. Do not make respondents, who do not qualify to complete your survey, do any more work than they need to. Don’t upset your respondents, especially if they are customers. It is possible that you may need to contact unqualified respondents in the future to partake in future surveys.
If you are planning to develop a longer survey – one that is greater than 5 minutes - place the most important or most difficult questions to answer at the beginning of the survey. Respondents tend to lose interest rather quickly, especially with a survey that exceeds 5 minutes. Keep in mind, data quality and survey completion diminishes greatly the longer the survey.
As mentioned in tip # 4, it is important for survey questions to be free from bias response options. A respondent’s answer may be influenced by where the response option appears in the question ordering. The same concept is true for question ordering – a respondent’s answer may be influenced by where in the survey the question is asked. If you are looking for honest, straightforward feedback in open-ended questions, it is recommended to place those questions toward the beginning of the survey before new topics are covered that could potentially influence the respondents’ answers.
To keep respondents interested and their thoughts focused, group similar questions with like topics. It is easier for respondents to focus on one topic and then move on to the next. Grouping questions with topics that are similar may draw forth more information in open-ended questions and may help respondents differentiate between topics in rating scale questions.
Visit the Snap Survey Software Blog daily to read the complete blog series, 9 Tips for Writing Quality Survey Questions