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Whenever we think of conducting surveys, we think of two things: kind of questions to ask and data collected from answering those questions. Essentially the most important aspect of surveys is to formulate relevant questions that will help us extract clean data.
There are various forms of questions that a survey creator can ask to evoke necessary responses from the person undertaking the survey. However, in this segment we shall focus mostly on multiple choice questions.
The variations of Closed Ended Questions in multiple choice options makes it the most used in surveys. Let us first understand what multiple choice questions are.
Multiple choice are a segment of question with the following component: stem, which is the problem to be solved or less technically known as the question itself, the answer, the closest alternative and the distractor.
One of the advantages of using multiple choice questions is, the surveyor can incorporate the choice of single answer versus multiple answers.
In the above multiple choice question the respondent can choose one best option amongst the various options available, like he/she can be at one point on the Net Promoter Score scale but not on several- he/she can be on 8 but not 7 and 8 simultaneously.
Similarly, the respondent can choose multiple answers to the question with minor changes made to the question.
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.
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.
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.
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.