Note: This article reflects recent updates to the Survey Questions feature. If this information does not match the options available to you, contact your ThoughtExchange rep.
Survey questions are closed-ended questions that can stand alone (see Basic Surveys) or be added to an Exchange to help you learn more about your participants. They are a powerful tool when used appropriately. In this article, we’ll be walking you through how and when to use Survey Questions.
Your account settings determine the maximum number of questions you can ask. Each question can include up to 100 response options. One thing to note about Survey Questions is that question types are locked in once you save your work. If you save or launch your Exchange or survey and decide to change a question from one type to another, you must delete the question and re-create it using the new type.
For information on analyzing the data from your Survey Questions, click here.
Creating Survey Questions
Survey questions are created in the Survey step of the creation workflow. To create a new Survey question you can click the “Add survey questions” drop down menu (where you will select the question type) or click the “Select template” option if you want to add a templated question saved on your account. Click here to learn more about Survey Question templates.To learn more about the different question types, please review this article.
Once you have chosen a question type you can enter your question on the line labelled “Your question goes here.” Questions can contain up to 200 characters. Response options are entered in the boxes below the question. To add a new option click the plus sign to the right of the text box. To remove an option click the minus sign. To re-order your options click and drag on the icon that looks like six dots to the left of the text box. Response options can include up to 120 characters. To delete a question click the Remove button on the bottom right corner of the question box.
Note: The functionality described above may vary by question type. Review the sections below about each question type to learn more.
If you begin working on a different question, your previous questions will convert to a read-only format. To edit any question displayed in this way, click the pencil icon to the left of the question number. You can expand or contract these static questions usin the arrow icon in the top right corner of the question box, or you can expand all questions using the “Expand all” option above and to the right of the first question. To re-order your questions click and drag on the icon that looks like six dots to the left of the question number.
You can save your questions by clicking the “Save as draft” or “Save & Next” buttons at the button of the screen or by clicking the “Preview” button at the top of the page.
Note: Once you save a survey question, if you decide to change its question type you will be limited to other types that support the answers you've provided (ex. A multiple choice question can be turned into a checkbox or dropdown style question, but not a satisfaction score question).
The Power of Survey Questions
Survey Questions are useful in a few different ways. While your engagement is open, they can tell you who has participated and who hasn’t. Keeping an eye on the proportions of participants who have responded in different ways to a question about age or location, for example, can let you know which groups may need a little more encouragement or reminding to participate before the engagement closes.
If you've used survey questions in the context of an Exchange, you can use Survey Questions to dig deeper into your results. Several features of the Discover Dashboard can help you make use of your Survey Questions data:
- Use Heatmaps to see how different groups of participants rated the major themes in your Exchange.
- Use Differences to see how participants agreed and disagreed on specific thoughts, then use your Survey Questions to learn more about the various interest groups that were formed.
- You can even filter Thoughts by the manner in which participants responded to Survey Questions.
Note: Survey Questions will not display results for response options with fewer than 5 responses to preserve participant confidentiality.
Types of Questions
The two most common types of Survey Questions are demographic questions and opinion questions.
Demographic questions ask participants to tell you a little more about themselves. Some examples of good demographic questions are:
- Which of the following best describes your role within our organization:
- At which location do you most commonly work?
- How long have you been a part of our organization?
Opinion questions ask for closed-ended feedback to a specific question. These can include yes or no type questions such as:
- Did you attend our all-company meeting last month?
These types of questions could also include a rating scale, such as:
- How strongly do you agree with the top goal outlined in our plan?
- Strongly Agree
- Strongly Disagree
If there are common questions that you or other leaders in your organization often use you may also have the option to use a question template for setting up your survey questions, if templates have been created for the room you are working in.
Tips for Writing Good Questions
One important consideration when adding Survey Questions to your Exchange is that participants are required to answer them before responding to the main open-ended Exchange question. That means that you will need to include options that apply to all your participants.
- If you aren’t sure whether or not your response options capture everyone, include an "other" option using the "Add 'other' option" button at the bottom of your survey question response list in the edit screen.
- If a participant could belong to more than one group, make sure you use the checkbox question type rather than a multiple choice or dropdown style question.
- If a particular question does not apply to some participants, include a “not applicable” option.
- If your question is potentially sensitive, include a “prefer not to say” option.
Only ask as many questions as you need. People will only be willing or able to spend a certain amount of time participating, and you want to avoid needless fatigue (especially if you're also asking an open-ended Exchange question). Always ask yourself: “Will this question add value to my results?”.
Your questions also need to be understandable and answerable for all of your participants. Make sure that you don’t ask a double-barrelled question (two ideas in one) like “How satisfied are you with your salary and job conditions?” because participants could feel differently about each idea.
Finally, keep in mind that participants can only choose ONE response unless you've used the checkbox question type. Make sure your questions can be answered simply.
When to Leave them Out
If you are asking an open-ended Exchange question, it's important to think carefully about when to also ask survey questions. Each one you include takes participant time and attention away from your main Exchange question and, in the case of demographic questions, asks participants to give up some of their privacy. Avoid asking survey questions when:
- Your main Exchange question is complex and may require your participants to conduct additional research or read supporting documents,
- They will not add value to the analysis phase,
- Or the number of participants is small enough that the groups will only have a few members each (and you could possibly guess who shared which thought).
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