To avoid asking the wrong questions or forgetting to ask
the right ones, do the Survey-Writing Moonwalk by
answering these questions and then working your way
1. What decisions will be made based on the results?
2. What do I need to report from this survey?
3. What do I want to learn from this survey?
Be clear and precise.
To make sure respondents are answering the same question, you should be
as clear as possible about:
•what the words mean (no jargon)
•the time range they should consider
•the units of measure you're interested in
•what you are measuring
•who is included in the question
Don't lead or load.
Biased questions nudge respondents to answer in
a certain way, either by implying how they should respond
(leading) or making assumptions about them (loading).
These types of questions are generally used for
confirmation, not for authentic data collection.
"Should people concerned about their
community get the COVID-19 vaccine?"
"What do you love about the new neighborhood
Ask one question at a
Double-barreled questions combine two or more ideas into
a single question, which can lead to respondent confusion
and misleading data.
Resist the temptation to shorten your survey by merging
questions together. When you try to capture too much in
one question, you capture little insight.
"Were the meeting time and place convenient
"How many times per week do you use
rideshare, bikeshare, or a scooter rental to
commute to work?"
If your question includes AND or OR,
double-check for double-barreling.
Check your answer
If you are asking respondents to select from a list,
make sure that your answer categories include all
possible responses (exhaustive) and that your
categories do not overlap (mutually exclusive).
Include "other" as an option along
with a comment box to cover all