How do you write useful survey questions? Good question!

Senior person conducting a street survey. Noah Kazis

What is a useful survey question? Without any context, that's a meaningless question. You can't just click your fingers and produce the perfect questionnaire. As always, a writing process is involved, step by step.

  1. First, ask why you are running a survey.
  2. Then figure out what information you are looking for, and in what form.
  3. Only then can you draft questions that will probably be useful.
  4. Then you test the survey. Has it produced the information you needed? If not, continue editing the questionnaire until it produces useful results. 

Up to now, feedback has flowed into the Contented office by email. An open-ended request for comments has produced invaluable results year after year.

Learners and managers have responded with free-flowing comments on the content, style, format, length, level, and delivery method of Contented courses. You have pointed out typos and errors, suggested improvements — and overwhelmed us with your enthusiasm for Contented courses.

But this week we started developing a feedback form, departing from tradition. For one thing, we'd like to know how learners are using the CPD accreditation of our certificates and diplomas. But we still want you to use your own words and say what you think. That's more important to us than knowing what percentage found our courses very or somewhat or not at all useful.

Multiple choice questions are valuable in many situations. But long ago, a wise professor of education said to me, "If you already know all the possible answers, why are you asking?" Good question!

Photo: copyright Noah Kazis



Rachel McAlpine
Rachel McAlpine


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