The Art of Effective Survey Questions Design: Everything You Need to Know to Survey Students the Right Way

Blocksurvey blog author
May 2, 2023 · 4 mins read

Surveys and polls are widely used in education for a number of purposes, including:

  • Assessing students’ knowledge;
  • Making classroom activities more interactive and engaging;
  • Collecting student data to provide better learning experiences;
  • Gathering student feedback, etc.

Regardless of the purpose of use, surveys can offer many benefits to schools, educators, and students themselves. However, to get the most out of them, it’s important to know how to design them effectively.

According to a professional writer from a trusted professional essay writers service for college students, the creation of questions is perhaps the most important part of the survey process. If questions aren’t designed correctly, the obtained data will be inaccurate and irrelevant. Yet, if they are designed well, surveying students can bring even more benefits. So read on, and we will give you a few expert tips on how to create excellent survey questions.

What Makes a Good Survey Question

Before we move on to practical advice, it’s important to determine what a good survey question looks like:

  • It has a clear objective;
  • It’s relevant and accurate;
  • It’s easy to understand;
  • It facilitates thinking;
  • It’s short and direct;
  • It’s written in the respondents’ language;
  • There is only one specific question asked at a time;
  • If there are multiple questions, they all match and complement each other.

Types of Survey Questions

Now that you have a general idea of what a good survey question should be like, let’s quickly define what types of questions can be used.

We can distinguish seven main kinds:

  1. Open-ended questions—Such questions allow a more comprehensive answer from the respondent than just a “yes” or “no.” For example, “What do you like about school?”
  2. Closed-ended questions—These questions assume a simple “yes” or “no” response. For example, “Do you enjoy studying math?”
  3. Rating questions—These ask respondents to rate something. For example, “How would you rate your math lessons out of 5?”
  4. Likert scale questions—These questions typically come in 5, 7, or 9-point scales and ask respondents to pick their point to rate something. For example, “How happy are you with your classroom experiences?”
  5. Multiple choice questions—These questions offer respondents to select one of the offered answers. For example, “Would you like to have 1) more technology, 2) more games, 3) more group projects in the classroom?”
  6. Picture choice questions—These questions also offer respondents to choose one of the offered answers but in pictures. They are great for adding more interactivity and fun to your surveys.
  7. Demographic questions—This is a mixed category of questions that request solely demographic information from respondents. For example, “How old are you” or “What is your major?”

5 Tips for Designing Brilliant Survey Questions

If you want to use surveys and get accurate responses from students, you have to design your questions accordingly. In the list below, we gathered several practical tips that will help.

1. Define Your Purpose

Every great survey question should have a clear objective behind it. Thus, before you start designing yours, you need to define the purpose of the whole survey in the first place. Maybe you want to improve a lesson plan or define knowledge gaps in students. Pick a specific objective and move on.

2. Make an Outline of Your Survey

If you plan to ask multiple questions, it’s wise to make a general outline first. Keeping your purpose in mind, draft sample questions that you want to ask and save them as a plan.

3. Start Designing Your Questions

When ready, you can begin creating your survey questions. Keep your plan at hand not to miss anything important.

When designing questions, follow these simple tips:

  • Keep them short and straight to the point;
  • Avoid leading and biased questions;
  • Make sure there is only one question to answer;
  • Make sure they are direct and easy to understand;
  • Use points and scales more—these are great for understanding students’ thoughts and opinions.

Most importantly, keep your objective in mind at all times to create questions that deliver accurate responses.

4. Revise Your Questions

According to an expert from one of the top paper writing services, educators often neglect the importance of revising and editing their surveys. Yet, it’s a crucial step.

When all your questions are ready, carefully read through them. There are a couple of core things to look for in your questions:

  • They must logically follow and complement each other;
  • The phrasing should be straightforward, clear, and match your students’ language.

If your questions match these requirements, that’s great. If not, rethink them and revise them again.

5. Test-Drive Your Survey

Lastly, if you want to get the best outcomes from your survey, it’s always a good idea to put it to the test. Pick a couple of respondents that match your target audience. Ideally, just ask a couple of people from the class to take a test survey.

After you run a test survey, collect and analyze all answers. Think if the answers match your expectations and assess how well the entire survey completes the initial objective.

The Bottom Line

Although surveys are widely used in education and can offer a variety of benefits, crafting them is still a challenge for many educators, but not anymore.

After reading this guide, you have all the tools to design effective survey questions that get accurate answers from students. Use these tips to get on the right track!

The Art of Effective Survey Questions Design: Everything You Need to Know to Survey Students the Right Way FAQ

What is the difference between a survey question and an effective survey question?

A survey question is simply a question that is asked to gain information from respondents. An effective survey question is one that is worded in a way that encourages respondents to provide useful and insightful answers.

How can I make sure my survey questions are effective?

You can make sure your survey questions are effective by considering the types of questions you ask, the order in which you ask them, and the language you use. Additionally, you should make sure the questions are relevant to the topic of the survey and that they are not too long or complicated.

What are the types of survey questions?

There are several types of survey questions, including closed-ended questions, open-ended questions, rating questions, multiple choice questions, and scale questions. Each type of question has its own advantages and can be used in different circumstances.

What makes an effective survey question?

An effective survey question is one that is unambiguous and concise, is free of jargon, and elicits the information the surveyor is attempting to measure.

How can I ensure my survey questions are unbiased?

To ensure survey questions are unbiased, use a neutral tone, avoid leading questions, and provide a range of possible answers. Additionally, include open-ended questions to allow respondents to explain their answers.

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blog author description

Sarath Shyamson

Sarath Shyamson is the customer success person at BlockSurvey and also heads the outreach. He enjoys volunteering for the church choir and loves spending time with his two year old son.


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