It may have already happened to you: The next survey is coming up, but you haven’t had time to think yet: What is the best way to set up my questionnaire? Surveys often seem to be a science in themselves understandably so, there are different opinions about the ideal number of questions. But how many questions are too many?
You certainly want to capture as much available data as possible. Of course, statisticians love big data, but there is more to designing a successful survey.
Companies that already have experience with surveys will probably have noticed that many questions do not automatically lead to more insight. On the contrary, too many irrelevant questions can make evaluating data difficult. If you want to learn how to determine the right number of questions to increase the quality of your survey results and adapt them to the purpose of the survey, feel free to read on.
Too many questions can distort your results
Statistics show that most companies have significant room for improvement when it comes to their efficiency of employee satisfaction surveys. In fact, only 22% of companies report getting tangible results on a regular basis. Customer satisfaction surveys are another challenge. More than 70% of consumers find surveys annoying when they are part of the user experience.
Choosing how many questions to ask is a factor that has a big impact on the response rate of your survey, as discussed in our article These 5 tips will improve your survey response rate. In this article, however, we will look more closely at the impact on the significance of your results and how best to maintain focus.
1. Start with a core question
What is the purpose of your survey? The core of your survey should be based on a single question that can be approached from several angles. One question-how simple is that? you may think. However, in practice, we see that many companies find this approach challenging.
Asking too many questions often distracts from the essential focus of the inquiry. Limiting yourself to one core question usually helps to build your survey from the ground up and structure it simply. The goal here is to make the survey easier to follow by providing a “red thread”. It is also essential that the recipient understands the purpose of the survey to avoid confusion or distraction. Methods such as logic or multiple choice can help you group questions by e.g. classification or topic and efficiently increase the amount of data while keeping a reasonable survey length.
2. Measure the average response time
Although you are certainly focused on how to get your valuable data, you don’t want to forget an initially unremarkable but very important unit: The average time it takes to answer your questions affects how many questions are too many.
3. Sometimes it cannot be avoided…
Market research is often intended to generate a considerable amount of data to form the basis for important decisions. However, market research surveys directed at potential customers are usually also the surveys with the lowest number of responses. Consumer panels are highly recommended for these purposes. Addressing your target group through a panel provider will allow you to collect data from a group with the desired demographic characteristics. These demographic characteristics can also be easily tracked in an analytical tool to track the accuracy of your study.
4. Ask the RIGHT questions
Of course, it’s not just about how many questions you ask, but which ones. If surveys are new to you, or if you are looking for a suitable starting point for your survey, modifiable sample questionnaires are often a solution. After all, you’re not the first to get into the business of creating a survey.
We’re here to help you create surveys and questionnaires in no time. You can start with our free market research survey template or build one from scratch using an online form builder. It supports conditional logic as well.