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.
Keep the following factors in mind while designing Multiple Choice Questions-
- Have a fair idea of the concepts that you would want to cover in the question and avoid composing questions that have hazy attributes.
- Form questions that evaluate respondents at conscious and subconscious levels like some factual questions, situational questions or analysis based questions.
A multiple choice question comprises of a stem, the correct answer/s and the distractors.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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.
- This is a multiple choice question with the ability to select any one of the response options. Radio buttons are used for single select type questions. Answer option orientation can either be vertical (default setting) or Horizontal.
- This is a multiple choice question with the option to select multiple responses. Check boxes are used for multiple select type questions. Answer option orientation can either be vertical (default setting) or horizontal.
- Drop down menu based multiple choice question type is used when the number of options in the survey question is more. For example, if you want users to select their country. Instead of displaying all the options, we can simply add them in a drop down menu.
- Rank answer choices using gold stars in survey question responses.
- : Users can slide the bar to show their desired preference.
- : This survey question allows respondents to rate an item, then, depending on the rating, recommends that the respondent share their experience via social networks, including Facebook, Twitter, Yelp, and Google+.
- Users can slide the bar to show their desired preference. Preferences will be numeric range.
- : Ask a binary rating question using a thumbs up or thumbs down image to help define the rating options.
- : The smiley survey question is a 5-point rating scale, intended to represent a range of sentiments from negative to neutral to positive.
- This question can be used when we need to group questions that have the same answer option scale.
- Matrix survey question lets respondents select multiple options in the form of check boxes.
- Matrix questions with text input options.
- Measures multiple survey question attributes side-by-side using the matrix table.
- Rank order scaling based multiple choice questions allow a certain set of brands or products to be ranked based upon a specific attribute or characteristic.
- A constant sum question permits collection of "ratio" data, meaning that the data is able to express the relative value or importance of the options (option A is twice as important as option B)
- Respondents in this type of survey question can drag and drop the answer choices to re-order them as they choose.
- This is a multiple choice single select question which has images next to the answer options. Radio buttons are used for single select type questions. Answer option orientation can either be vertical (default setting) or Horizontal.
- This is a multiple choice multiple select question which has images next to the answer options. Check boxes are used for Image Chooser multiple select type questions. Answer option orientation can either be vertical (default setting) or horizontal.
- Ask users to select one or more images from a set of images presented.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.