How to Write Survey Questions

How do you write survey questions? This article provides four useful tips on how to write survey questions that work.

In generating any kind of web survey or other research resource that targets a specific audience, it’s important to know how to structure the individual questions on that survey so that they do the job correctly. Here are some of the most common tips that experts provide on how to write survey questions that work:

Write for the Right Audience

One essential tip is to always consider the specific audience for a survey question and write accordingly. For example, a survey on what garment shoppers want would not write questions that are off base in terms of that specific audience. Instead of writing a survey question that just asks for all-ages’ input on a type of clothing that is for a specific age, the writer should approach a certain demographic subset.

For instance, a survey question on sports clothing for women would not just ask for random style information, but would address the specific uses of this clothing with questions like “What types of sports clothing supports your specific workout goals?” or “What kind of material do you want in athletic clothing?”

Make sure to clarify your questions without sounding too wordy. This survey does a great job at explaining exactly what they want the user to do.

Write With Specific Products in Mind


In addition to getting the right target audience, survey questions should also address the use of specific items that the survey intended to do market research on. Having a list of the products can help a writer develop the survey questions accordingly.

For example, someone writing a survey on the cost of sports vehicle ownership might want to have a list of Mustang parts or other gear. The list will enable the customer to be specific about the part he really needs. This becomes useful information to parts sellers or manufacturers.

Make It Narrow

Survey questions that are too broad will not address the key answers that writers are looking for. Using the above example, instead of just asking about all car systems, the survey writer could narrow it down to just one system by asking questions like “What accessories and products best support engine maintenance?” or “What kind of power steering fluid works best for you?”

Ask for an Action

Another main point in writing survey questions is to direct readers and respondents towards some sort of particular action. Survey questions like those mentioned above can have this effect. For other kinds of specific actions, survey writers might want to include questions like “What types of products have you used in the past?” or “Where will you likely go for your products in the future?”

Including all of these of critical considerations will help make survey questions relevant and bring in the results that are needed by the company.