How to Ask Questions in the Right Order
You know the whole chicken-egg theory, what came first? Well when you’re creating your questions for a survey, this can also be true. Experts argue whether you should ask demographic information upfront, in the end, or not at all. Then others argue about whether they should be optional to answer or not.
What I know after doing surveys for over 20 years, is that the right order of your questions does matter. And the best order I’ve found is to:
- Ask easier questions first
- Move into more complicated questions that flow
- End with asking easier questions again.
For example, do they get your newsletter, will they want the product as an online course, or as a printed book with audio and videos? So, you would start off by asking questions such as:
1) Which of these materials do you receive from me each month? —- List multiple choices of all they might receive from you—like a printed newsletter, eNewsletter, weekly email, monthly phone call, etc.
2) If you receive our newsletter, what in particular attracted you to sign up for it? You could leave this open-ended or you could give them a list of 4 – 5 reasons why they receive it and they can either check one or check all.
3) “If we were to offer a specific training and product around —– how likely would you be to purchase?” (Or you could say, rate how interested you would be to purchase it.) On this type of question, you’d add a 5-point scale to gauge their interest level, from highly likely to least likely, and the points in between.
4) “We’re considering creating an online course and would love your feedback. What type of training would be most helpful to you?” Here you would then add some multiple choices for them to choose from, such as – only an online course, or an online course with live monthly coaching, etc.
It’s all about the order, you start off asking easier questions. It’s best when one question flows into the next. Also, I find it’s easier to END with the simple questions like the demographic information that is SO helpful to get on surveys so you can get a good snapshot of “who’s” answering your survey. Here are some examples:
| You are: Female
| What is your age range? Under 20
These types of demographic questions are terrific to add to your survey and I find them best to put at the end. Some folks prefer to put them at the beginning, I honestly don’t think it makes a difference. And I have had them required to answer and optional. If you really want to know the info, then don’t make it optional. However, do your best to keep the survey anonymous, this way you will be assured the information is truthful. Again, the order of your survey is important because it has to flow from start to finish.
And your questions are key, they need to be easy to understand and answer and you can build off of each question. This way those that respond will be able to get through answering your questions quickly and won’t quit in the middle or from the start because they’re confused or the questions are just too complicated.