A Survey Faux Pas: An Excess of Open-Ended Questions

Avoid excess open ended questions on surveys for better data and actionable insights

I’ve always associated open-ended questions with a double-edged sword.

On the one hand, it can give you unique and useful insights.  Survey respondents get a chance to express their opinions and expand on their thought process.

On the other hand, it can cause participants to become easily uninterested.  An excess amount of open-ended questions can lead to survey fatigue and unusable data.

If you find yourself with a considerable number of open-ended questions, take these actionable steps:

  • Go over the open-ended questions to determine those who are going to get your survey to accomplish its purpose.
  • Once you’ve selected the necessary ones, find a way to turn them into close-ended questions.  A great way is to write up alternatives for each one.  This simple exercise can help you optimize your questions, without compromising the gist of it.

My recommendation is 2 open-ended questions per survey, max.  Not only will it keep the survey flowing smoothly, but it will simplify the data analysis process.

Keep your eyes on the prize: powerful insights.

Author: Eduardo E Sierra

I am a freelance marketing consultant who is enthusiastic about user trends, market research, survey design and Social Media marketing.