Formulating Closed-ended Questions for Surveys

Formulating Closed-ended Questions for Surveys
Formulating Closed-ended Questions for Surveys

Principal speaker

Dr Judy Rose

This workshop provides an introduction to the formulation, wording and sequencing of close-ended questions (CEQs) within the context of the logics and practicalities of constructing a research questionnaire.

We cover the "do's and dont's" of writing close-ended survey questions, including tips on the wording and placement of demographic and sensitive questions. We provide guidelines on how to sequence questions in a logical, organised and engaging format in a survey. We then demonstrate how the structure of survey responses produces different levels of measurement or data types (e.g. nominal, ordinal, numeric, ranked). Next, we provide guidelines for writing close-ended survey questions, including those measured with different scales (e.g. Likert scales with 3 vs 5 vs 7 categories, arrays with odd vs even responses, and non-response options such as "NA", "No Opinion" or "Don't Know"). With Likert scale questions we consider the advantages and disadvantages of including a mid-point option (e.g. "Neither agree nor disagree"). We briefly cover issues of Central Tendency Bias, Social Desirability Bias and Non-response Bias which can affect survey validity. Lastly, we provide examples of conditional, contingent and "skip logic' questions and how they look on an online survey platform. Finally, we prepare you to apply these concepts of formulating close-end survey questions to your own questionnaire.

Format: This workshop will be delivered online during a 2-hour period, with small group work via breakout rooms and other active learning.

Pre-requisites: While this workshop caters to all levels of experience, it is beneficial to think about how CEQs relate to your research questions and/or conceptual framework. Useful pre-requisites to this workshop include MM1 - MM4 which helps to guide the building of a mixed methods study from foundations, conceptual framework, through to assembling surveys and interviews.

Relationship to other RED Workshops: This workshop is a companion to workshops on "Designing Open-ended Questions for Surveys', "Qualitative Validation of Surveys', "Quantitative Validation of Surveys' and "Analysing Survey Data'.

Recommended Reading, prior to attending: Bee, D. T., & Murdoch-Eaton, D. (2016). Questionnaire design: the good, the bad and the pitfalls. Archives of Disease in Childhood-Education and Practice, 101(4), 210-212. Please read this short article prior to workshop.


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RSVP on or before Monday 8 February 2021 13.53 pm, by email , or via

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