Multiple Choice Questions

Learn everything about Multiple Choice Questions, its parts and over 20 multiple choice question types and examples.

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What are multiple choice questions?

Multiple choice questions are fundamental survey questions which provides respondents with multiple answer options. Primarily, multiple choice questions can have single select or multi select answer options. These are the most fundamental questions of a survey or questionnaire where the respondents are expected to select one or more than one option from the multiple answer options.

Whenever we think of conducting surveys, we think of two things: kind of questions to ask and data collected from the answers to those questions. Essentially, the most important aspect of surveys is to formulate relevant questions that will help us extract clean data.

There are various types of survey questions that a survey creator can ask to evoke necessary responses from the person undertaking the survey. Out of these variations, the closed ended questions are the most used in surveys.

Parts of Multiple Choice Questions

Keep the following factors in mind while designing Multiple Choice Questions-

A multiple choice question comprises of a stem, the correct answer/s and the distractors.

Multiple Choice Questions
  1. A stem, that’s the question i.e. a problem or an incomplete statement - Make sure that you create a crisp, grammatically error-free and simple stem which has relevant information.
  2. The correct answer - This should be relevant to the stem and shouldn't consist of too many qualifiers like "always" and "some”. Use phrases as options when the stem is an incomplete statement.
  3. The other incorrect responses which are called ‘distractors’ - Ideally, create 4 distractors and should be in line with the correct answer. These distractors should usually be common misconceptions that your target audience may have.

Types of Multiple Choice Questions with Examples

The primary bifurcation of these questions is based on the number of answer options the respondents can select while responding the survey. So, single choice questions and multiple choice (multiple answer) questions are the two available main question types.

Advantages of Multiple Choice Questions

  1. They are less complicated and less time consuming

    Imagine the pain a respondent goes through while having to type in answers when they can simply answer the questions at the click of a button. Here is where multiple choice lessens the complications.

    Many-a-times the survey creator would want to ask straightforward questions to the respondent, the best practice is to provide the choices instead of them coming up with answers, this in-turn saves their valuable time.

  2. Responses get a specific structure and are easy to analyze

    Surveys are often developed with respondents in mind, how will they answer the questions? This is where multiple choice gives a specific structure to responses, therefore becomes the best choice.

    Let’s say at your workplace you receive a survey asking about the best restaurant, to host the Christmas party. Honestly speaking giving specific options isn’t going to hurt, rather, as a surveyor you are sure that the answer will be from one of the options given to the respondents.

    It will be easier for the surveyor to analyze the data as it will be free from any errors (as respondents won’t be typing in answers) and the surveyor would atleast know that not a random restaurant would be chosen.

  3. Helps respondent comprehend how they should answer

    One of the positives of multiple choice options is that they help respondents understand how they should answer. In this manner, the surveyor can chose how generalist or specific the responses need to be.

    At all times, the surveyor needs to be careful on the choice of question in order to be able to receive responses that are easy to analyze.

  4. They appear to look good on handheld devices

    It is estimated that 1 out of 5 people take surveys on handheld devices like mobile phones or tablets. Considering the fact that there is no mouse or keyboard to use, multiple choice questions make it easier for the respondent to choose as there is no scrolling involved.

Therefore, in a survey you might end up answering a number of multiple choice questions and for a good reason, easy for the respondents to answer and convenient for the surveyor to collect data.

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