5 Most Common Survey Question Types and When to Use Them

When it comes to choosing the right question format for your next survey, there are 5 basic types that most researchers choose from. In this post, I’m going to break them down to help you determine which is right for your survey question.

  1. Radio Button – Use when only one answer choice can be selected. Ideal for 7-10 answer options, no more. Displays all answer options vertically in one view. You can also display radio buttons horizontally, but that’s a better choice when your answer options are just a few words such as yes/no, because it takes up more space.
  2. Drop Down – Use when only one answer choice can be selected. Ideal when you have many answer options. Saves room and keeps the survey appearance neat and clean because the answer options are displayed in a drop-down menu. You can also add an “Other” text box near it so respondents can provide answers unavailable in the drop down.
  3. Rating Scale – Use when you have a qualitative or quantitative scale such as an agreement scale with answer options like“strongly agree” to “strongly disagree.”Only one answer can be selected. For more accurate results, it’s a good idea to provide an even number of scale choices to force participants to choose a side rather than the middle. You should also consider adding a N/A answer choice.
  4. Matrix-Grid–Use to group a series of questions with a similar theme to save space vs. creating individual questions for each. It neatly displays questions and answer options in columns and rows. For example, in a customer satisfaction survey, you might group all questions related to the sales people in one matrix grid. With SoGoSurvey, you can use a variety of question types in one matrix grid―radio button, check box, drop down, text box, etc. 
  5. Text-Box –Also called Open Ended or Verbatim questions, these do not provide response options and allow respondents to answer a question in their own words. For example, “Please share your ideas on changes or improvements you would like to see implemented.” This question type should be considered carefully because the analysis may take much more time than a close-ended question.