Closed-ended Questions: What You Need To Know

SurveyPluto 03/28/2024 1862 words

Closed-ended Questions

Think of closed-ended questions like traffic lights at a busy intersection. When you need a fast decision—red or green?—they're your best bet! They give you a clear path: "yes" or "no," blue or yellow. Do you need to gather a large number of opinions quickly, such as through a survey? Closed-ended questions are perfect.

But before we discover more about closed-ended questions, let’s get a quick summary of their main differences from open-ended questions.

Choosing the Right Question for Your Survey: Open-ended vs. Closed-ended

The type of questions you used on the survey matters, and there are two main types: open-ended and closed-ended. But what is the difference between these two?

Open-ended questions are like little essay boxes. These questions require the respondents to provide extensive responses based on their own words or experiences.

Let's say someone asks you, "What is your preferred time to use social media?” This can provide you with varying answers from different respondents. These questions are great for in-depth feedback; however, they can be time-consuming to analyze.

Closed-ended questions are more like picking from a menu. They offer a limited set of answer choices, like "yes/no" or multiple choice. 

For instance asking "Would you recommend this product to a friend?" These are quick and easy to answer, making them good for short surveys and getting a quick snapshot of opinions.

So, what's the best approach for a survey? Use a mix of both! In order to acquire a general idea of the situation, you should begin with closed-ended questions. Then, you may proceed with open-ended questions in order to get an in-depth response.

Discover more about the differences between Open-ended and Closed-ended questions.

Why Use Close-Ended Questions?

Closed-ended questions are your friends when you need clear-cut information from a large group of people. They're like picking answers from a menu, making them fast and easy for people to answer, which can boost your survey response rate.

Here are some situations where closed-ended questions shine:

● Understanding your audience: Do you wonder who your customers are and what they like? Closed-ended questions about demographics (age, location, etc.) and preferences (multiple-choice options) can help you target your marketing and improve your product design.

● Getting specific feedback: Instead of an open-ended essay, closed-ended questions with clear answer choices give you concrete data. It's like night and day compared to analyzing long, varied responses.

● Surveying a large group: Whether you're counting responses by hand or using fancy software, closed-ended questions are perfect for big surveys. They make it easy to gather and analyze data from a lot of people quickly.

So, next time you need specific, measurable information, closed-ended questions are the way to go.

Types & Examples of Closed-Ended Questions 

Closed-ended provides a structured way to gather clear-cut information from a large group of people. 

Unlike open-ended questions that invite lengthy narratives, closed-ended questions offer a set of predefined answers for respondents to choose from, making it easier and faster to answer.

But with various types of closed-ended questions available, choosing the right format depends on the specific insights you're seeking.

Let's examine the various closed-ended question formats and discover how you can use them to your advantage:

1. Dichotomous: The Simplicity of Yes or No 

The Simplicity of Yes or No

Dichotomous questions, also known as true-or-false or yes/no questions, offer the most straightforward way to gather data. 

Providing responses with only two alternatives eliminates any uncertainty that may have been present. 

This style is perfect for achieving results that are both quick and quantitative in situations that are straightforward.

The following are some instances of questions that are dichotomous: 

● Would you recommend this software to a friend?

● Do you find our FAQ page helpful?

● Were you satisfied with the customer service you received?

Read also: How to Make a Most Comprehensive Design of Customer Satisfaction Survey Questionnaire

A clear picture of overall trends can be obtained through the use of dichotomous questions, but these miss out on the details of people's opinions. For instance, a simple "yes" or "no" answer to "Would you recommend our free survey platform?" doesn't reveal why someone might hesitate to recommend it.

2. Multiple-Choice Questions: Offering a Range of Options

Offering a Range of Options

Multiple-choice questions let people choose one answer from a list of options.

They give more information than yes/no questions, but are still easy to answer. There are two main types:

Radio Buttons Questions: Choosing the Single Best Fit 

Radio buttons present respondents with a set of options, but they can only choose one answer that best reflects their opinion. This format is ideal for situations where there's a clear-cut "best" answer or when you want to gauge the relative popularity of different options.

A likert scale is a popular type of radio button question. It uses a range of options like "strongly agree," "agree," "neutral," "disagree," and "strongly disagree" to measure the level of agreement with a statement.

Here are some common use cases for radio buttons along with questions:

Demographic Surveys

What is your gender?

- Male

- Female

- Prefer not to say

What is your highest level of education?

- High School Diploma

- Bachelor's Degree

- Master's Degree

- Doctorate

Customer Feedback

How satisfied were you with our service?

- Very Satisfied

- Satisfied

- Neutral

- Dissatisfied

- Very Dissatisfied

E-Commerce Preferences

What size would you like?

- Small

- Medium

- Large

- Extra-Large

Checkboxes: Selecting Multiple Options 

Checkbox questions are a type of survey or form question that allows respondents to select multiple answers from a list of options. They are represented by small square boxes that the user can check or uncheck.

Checkbox questions are ideal in the following situations:

● Multiple applicable answers: When a question might have more than one correct or relevant answer. For example, asking about hobbies, skills, or reasons behind a decision.

● Exploring preferences: Gaining insights into customer interests, popular features, or common pain points.

● Non-exclusive choices: When options are not mutually exclusive and a respondent could reasonably select several of them.

Here's a variety of checkbox question examples:

General Interest & Preference Questions

What kind of movies do you like?

- Action

- Comedy

- Drama

- Romance

- Sci-fi

- Documentary

Product/Service Feedback Questions

Which features did you use in our product?

- Feature A

- Feature B

- Feature C

- Feature D

Why did you choose our service?

- Price

- Reputation

- Features

- Convenience

- Customer Support

Event Planning Questions

What days are you available for the meeting?

- Monday

- Tuesday

- Wednesday

- Thursday

- Friday

Choosing the Right Format: Matching Your Needs to the Options 

Survey format

When you design surveys or ask for feedback, the way you ask a question makes a big difference in the answers you'll get. Here's a quick breakdown of common choices:

● Yes/No Questions: These are the simplest. They give you a quick, clear answer.

● Multiple Choice (One Answer): Like picking one item from a menu, these give you more specific information than just yes or no.

● Multiple Choice (Multiple Answers): Think of these like picking toppings for a pizza; people can choose all that apply.

The key is knowing what kind of information you need. The better you understand that, the better results you'll get.

Building Powerful Surveys With ease 

You can easily create effective surveys to gather information with platforms such as SurveyPluto

● Simple tools: Build your own surveys or choose from pre-made templates for common purposes such as employee satisfaction or customer satisfaction surveys.
● Customizable: Design surveys that match your brand's look without needing to write any code.

● All-in-one: Create, distribute, collect responses, and analyze your survey results directly within the platform.

Read also: Free Survey Maker: Create Surveys and Get Insights with SurveyPluto

Crafting Effective Closed-Ended Questions

Customer survey

Sometimes, you need clear, concise answers rather than a long discussion. That's where closed-ended questions shine. 

While open-ended questions are great for sparking ideas and exploring feelings, closed-ended questions help you quickly collect specific data or guide someone towards a decision.

Tips for Crafting Top-Notch Closed-Ended Questions

1. Keep it Simple: Don't overcomplicate things. Ask one focused question at a time, using clear and easy-to-understand language. For instance instead of "Did you find the website easy to use and did you like the visual design?", try "Did you find the website easy to use?"

2. Offer a Range of Choices: Ensure your answer options cover most likely responses. For example: "How often do you visit our store?"

- Daily

- Weekly

- Monthly

- Less Than Monthly

3. The "Other" Option: Sometimes, answers don't fit neatly into boxes. Including an "Other" option lets people provide unique responses. For further insight, add a "...please specify" text box.

4. Yes/No for Clarity: For straightforward facts or preferences, "Yes/No" questions work wonders. Keep them to the point.

5. Scales for Measurement: Use rating scales to measure opinions or intensity. Example: "On a scale of 1-5, how likely are you to recommend our product to a friend?"

Why Closed-Ended Questions Rock

● Easy to Answer: People can quickly select a response, increasing participation rates.

● Fast Analysis: Closed-ended questions let you crunch data quickly, getting those insights faster.

● Decision Drivers: They guide respondents towards a choice, ideal for narrowing down opinions.

Your Words Matter!

Avoid these pitfalls for top-notch closed-ended questions:

● Leading Questions: Don't phrase the question to steer towards a particular answer ("You found the instructions helpful, didn't you?").

● Double-Barreled Questions Keep it to ONE question at a time ("Do you like the product's color and design?").

● Biased Language: Maintain neutrality for accurate results.

Beyond Closed-Ended Questions

Closed-ended questions get you the numbers, but don't forget to add a few open-ended ones too! That's how you find out why people feel the way they do, and that adds valuable color to your data.  

Just be careful not to make your survey too long. Remember that nobody wants to answer a ton of questions, even if they have easy answers.  A few pictures or a progress bar can help keep people interested.

—— You might also like ——