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Seven mistakes to avoid when creating a survey questionnaire

Posted on 1/18/2023 by Elizabeth in category: survey software articles
Business analysts and researchers are always contacting their constituents to understand them more. They are mostly sending them online forms, questions, and surveys as ways of getting their opinions. Hence, many spend a lot of time and effort writing the questionnaire just to get optimal results or feedback but end up getting inaccurate responses. Unfortunately, some questioning mistakes are responsible for this.

Below are seven survey questionnaire errors to avoid when designing survey questionnaires:

Creating a Survey Questionnaire: Top 7 Mistakes to Avoid

Making any of the mistakes highlighted below will prevent you from achieving the right results. They might even distort the entire purpose of your survey.

1. Omitting the Introduction

No matter the audience type, a survey introduction is essential in convincing your audience to respond to your survey. According to our study based on many surveys of our users, a proper introduction is one of the most significant factors that enhances response and completion rates.

To avoid this mistake, you need to use simple language to briefly explain the survey's purpose.

2. Asking Sensitive Questions

Some questions will get partial answers only. This is the situation with “sensitive” topics that have to do with intimacy, sexuality, and money. Posting survey questions on sensitive issues that are important directly from research may make respondents very uncomfortable answering them.

If the answers to questions like these are important to your market study, you will have to use less troublesome wording and use as many questions to get as close to the facts as possible.

3. Having Poorly Developed Rating Scales

Rating scales can be deduced differently by various people. A “poor” experience of one person might be the “terrible” experience of another. So, rating scales should always clarify the best rating from the worst. In addition, the scale should be unbiased with each rating at an evenly perceived distance from the points before and after it.

To avoid this error, develop rating scales with a worst and best option and then space other rating options equally between the worst and best.

4. Using Leading Language

Leading questions are questions that imply a specific answer. They often contain emotional words, like: ‘How much did you love our page’ in place of ‘How would you rate our page’. Apparently, they trigger a specific - generally positive - feeling, which will shift into the data later and prejudice it.

To avoid this mistake, it is advisable to take away all emotive terms from your questions. Rather than ‘love' or ‘dislike’ use ‘prefer’ or ‘rate’. Likewise, avoid the use of adjectives in your online survey software questions, particularly if they can cause a particular reaction.

5. Making Your Survey Too Long

These days, people’s attention spans are very short, and respondents often want to spend less than a few minutes answering questions. A recent study reveals that more than 72% of survey respondents want to spend just 6 to 10 minutes on a survey.

If your survey tool has many questions, there's a possibility that you will lose your participants’ first commitment to complete the survey. To avoid this mistake, try to keep your survey as precise and concise as possible.

6. Using Hypothetical Questions

Put hypothetical questions in your survey when extremely compulsory. They force participants to imagine situations they may know nothing about.

To avoid this, if the hypothetical question is a little unclear, it’s best to put it as an open-ended question. This offers the respondents a broader canvas to communicate their feelings instead of limiting them to their own thoughts.

7. Asking the Same Question Twice

This mistake may look obvious. Of course, nobody would want to ask the same question over and over again. But, if your questionnaire is long, you might ignore repetitions and overlaps, particularly, if questions are differently phrased, but eventually, inquire about similar things.

To avoid this, the fewer the better. Check your survey questionnaire again and take out any likely repetitions. For response control, use techniques like control questions to eliminate repetitions.


There you have it – the top 7 survey mistakes to avoid when creating a survey questionnaire. Surveys and data collection processes take a lot of time and effort: the reason you need to ensure you design your survey questionnaire correctly at the first attempt.

By avoiding these survey mistakes, the data you gather will be as truthful as possible, ultimately leading to valuable feedback.
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