Matrix Questions: Definition and How to use it in survey

Blocksurvey blog author
Nov 22, 2023 · 5 mins read

Matrix questions are a great choice of survey questions when there is a need for several questions evaluated against the same set of attributes. Given a row of options, the participants are asked to rate the most reliable option for them. A close-ended question lets your respondents evaluate one or more row items with the same set of column choices.

Where can we use Matrix questions?

Matrix questions can be used in areas like customer feedback surveys, quizzes, and tests based on personalities, surveys on brand awareness, and many more where multiple-answer choices must be provided for more clarity and quality of the results. It is similar to the Likert rating scale where the respondents are given multiple sets of options or choices.

How to use matrix questions in a survey?

Say, for example, you are running a restaurant, and you want to know your customers' experience to improve further.

A survey question with5 options such as taste, service, presentation, hygiene, and overall quality, and ask them to select which one they liked among all these.

And when you calculate the average either on a graph or a pie chart, you will get to know the areas you are lagging and areas that need immediate attention to level up your game.

Benefits of Matrix question:

  • The survey results are easy to interpret and easy for the respondents to respond to as it isn’t much time-consuming.
  • Matrix questions are easy to create and collect data on a large scale and from a wide range of audiences.
  • If you choose options that are not identical, as mentioned in the above example, you can get the maximum value out of the survey you are conducting.
  • Be it offline or online mode, they are not much challenging to use and have been prevalent for a long time.

Disadvantages of Matrix questions:

  • Compared to Maxdiff analysis, results from matrix questions are less likely to match the level of expectations in terms of accuracy.
  • In the case of personality tests, there are chances of people to either over evaluate or under evaluate themselves rather than sticking to the right option.
  • Given many options, people are said to spend more energy on comparison instead of answering them in a go, i.e., it may feel time-consuming for some.
  • People are forced to answer some questions if an option N/A is not given, and that may turn out as a point of annoyance.

Maxdiff analysis or Matrix questions; Which one to go for?

Having said that, Matrix questions are more similar to the Likert scale rating; it is also essential to look into other such options to gain more clarity.

While Maxdiff analysis is a best-worst scale and not a rating scale similar to either Matrix questions or Likert scale, it is considered as one of the best tools available in the market for research questionnaires and surveys.

If you may ask why, the reason behind the high preference of Maxdiff analysis is that it has very minimal options, i.e., Most and the least. At the same time, Matrix focuses on providing around 5-6 options to get more insights.

The takeaway message is if you are about to give nonidentical options to your audience for research or to get feedback, you can opt for Matrix questions. If not the scenario, Maxdiff analysis is a good option to go for without a second thought.

And on the other hand, the Likert rating scale gives degrees of comparison as options, which is altogether another set of discussion as it is more confusing and can be found more time-consuming for many.


Take time to do thorough research about the method that fits you from your end. And do check out our other blog posts for more such topics and gain some clarity on the same. It may feel like a lot of information on the internet that may make you feel overwhelmed, but look out for some reliable source before jumping to a conclusion.

Matrix Questions: Definition and How to use it in survey FAQ

What is a matrix question?

A matrix question is a survey question type used to compare multiple items on a scale of agreement or importance. This question type allows respondents to rate multiple items on the same scale, making it an efficient way to collect data.

How can I use matrix questions in my survey?

Matrix questions are most commonly used in surveys to compare multiple items on a scale of agreement or importance. For example, you could ask respondents to rate the importance of cost, quality, and timeliness when it comes to making a purchase. By including a matrix question in your survey, you can easily compare the different responses to each item.

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blog author description

Vimala Balamurugan

Vimala heads the Content and SEO Team at BlockSurvey. She is the curator of all the content that BlockSurvey puts out into the public domain. Blogging, music, and exploring new places around is how she spends most of her leisure time.


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