What are Close Ended Questions? Examples and Tips

What is a Close Ended Question?

Before you go creating a survey, form, or quiz, it’s first best to understand the styled approaches to questioning. Here, you’ll find everything you’ll need to know about close ended questions, when to use them, and how to analyse them.

Close Ended Questions

There are a range of close ended questions you can employ in your surveys and forms, but they’re discernible in most cases by an accompanied set of predetermined answers.

Respondents are required to choose one (or more) of these explicit options, which usually take the form of ‘yes’, ‘no’, or other short relevant pieces of information. The intention of close ended questions is to collect quantitative data, that when analysed produces some ‘statistical significance’.

Close Ended Question Examples:

  • Do you like our service?
  • Did our product work for you?
  • Did you expect this result?
  • Are you satisfied?

Open Ended Questions

These differ to close ended questions in the results they collect, that is to say that open ended questions require longer ‘free form’ style answers. They encourage respondents to provide personal experiences, interpretations, or opinions, and require them to take a more critical and evaluative in their response.

Open Ended Question Examples:

  • What did/ didn’t you like about our service?
  • How satisfied/ dissatisfied were you..?
  • What would you change about our product?
  • What did you expect to happen?

Why is the difference Important?

As previously mentioned, the notable difference between these two question types lies in the data they collect. If your project requires you to harness large scale quantitative data, then close ended questions are more likely what you’ll need to employ.

However, if you intend to collect qualitative data then open ended questions are more suitable for your needs. Think of the question styles as ‘tasks’ for respondents, each of which needs a different approach.

Pros of Close Ended Questions

Below you’ll find a few of the positive aspects to using close ended questions:

  • Time-efficient for respondents.
  • Questions are easy to understand and interpret.
  • Results are easy to analyse.
  • If the respondent is struggling to understand a question, they can read the answer options for further context.
  • Decrease the likelihood of irrelevant answers.
  • Less articulate respondents are not at a disadvantage, as questions and answers are less comprehensive.
  • You can include an ‘Other’ answer option with close ended questions if a respondent wants to provide a unique answer.

Cons of Close Ended Questions

Conversely, here are a few problems concerning the use of this question style:

  • These require the surveyor to have an in-depth knowledge of the project/question topic. As close ended questions limit respondents to a set number of answer choices, each question and answer must be consistent and clear within the context of their topic, and must reflect the aims of the research.
  • Some respondents may feel that none of the set answers reflect their own opinion or experience. In these cases, respondents may choose to skip the question or even select an answer at random.
  • They limit respondents to a predetermined list of answers.
  • Writing too many answer choices may deter or confuse respondents, so you should only provide the most important and relevant options.
  • The answers you provide may not reflect a respondent’s ideas and thoughts.
  • Respondents with no prior knowledge or opinion may refuse to answer, or provide a dishonest answers if your question is ‘required’.
  • It’s not always clear if some respondents misunderstood a question.
  • The format of close ended questions may be too simple for more complex issues, i.e. respondents have no room to expand their answer.
  • You’d need a larger set of responses to derive any statistical significance from your results. Therefore, you’ll have to put into survey distribution.

Tips for using Close Ended Questions

  • Become an expert! This may not be applicable for all types of surveys, but it’s important to fully understand the topic your project is concerned with.
  • Keep questions simple and clear! As respondent’s will have to choose from a preset list of answers, your questions should be should be specific and concise.
  • Relevant answer choices! Ensure that respondents can understand each answer choice in the context of the question.
  • Provide a range of answer options! These types of questions not only require you to fully understand your topic, but also to understand and anticipate respondent answer choices.
  • The right amount of choice! There is a skill to creating answer choice balance in surveys, and this balance can be a defining factor in the success of your project and results. Too few answer choices will not represent the thoughts and ideas of every respondent, whilst too many answer choices are not only mentally taxing, but may also deter respondents from completing your form.

How to Analyse Close Ended Questions

Once you’ve completed your project, and distributed it, it’ll be time to analyse those long-awaited results. We provide everything you’ll need to achieve this, including:

Data Tables: These contain the weighted average, standard deviation, and total number of responses for each question.

Charts: There are numerous graph and chart formats for you to use, and make your data more digestible. These include: Doughnut Graphs, Line Graphs, Column Graphs, Radar Charts, Pie Charts, Star Ratings, and Rankings.

Individual Results: You’re able to view individual results, through which you could monitor trends and correlations between answer choices.

Filters and Comparisons: You can also take advantage of our Filtering and Comparison tools in your Quick Reports. Use filters to segment your data by Question, Respondent, Domain, Date, Location, or Completion. Each of these filters/comparisons will provide you with some meaningful patterns to discuss.

Close ended questions are a more efficient means of collecting quantitative (statistically-driven) data. Whereas open ended questions are better for collecting qualitative data. However, these question styles are better when used together.

By starting with a close ended question, then following up with a related open ended question, you not only collect two kinds of relevant data on the same topic, but also give value to a respondent’s experiences and opinions.

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