What are Close Ended Questions? Examples and Tips

What is a Close Ended Question?

Here, you’ll find everything you’ll need to know about close ended questions and how best to analyse them.

Close Ended Questions

The most common form of these are multiple choice questions, there’s a list of answers to choose from. However, they can also include those where a one word answer is given.

The intention of close ended questions is to collect quantitative data for ‘statistical significance’. They also allow respondents to quickly answer your questions, meaning they’re less likely to disengage.

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

Open ended questions can be answered with unique responses which are usually longer and free form. These questions are broadly suited to collecting opinions or explanations.

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 main difference between these two question types lies in the data they collect. If your project requires quantitative data, then you’ll more likely need close ended questions.

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 usually easy to understand and interpret.
  • Results are easy to analyse.
  • If a respondent is struggling to understand a question, they can read the answer options for further context.
  • Decrease the likelihood of irrelevant answers.
  • 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 an in-depth knowledge of the project/question topic. As close ended questions have a set list of answers, they must be consistent and clear. Any ambiguity can affect your results and completion rate.
  • Some respondents may feel that none of the set answers reflect their own opinion or experience. In these cases, they may choose to skip the question or even select an answer at random.
  • Too many answer choices may deter or confuse respondents, so you should only provide the most important and relevant options. See our article on Writing Survey Answers.
  • It’s not always clear if some respondents misunderstood a question. I.e. you can’y identify this in your results as you can with open ended questions.
  • The format of close ended questions may be too simple for more complex issues. I.e. respondents have no room to expand their answer if they want to.
  • You’d need a larger set of responses to find any statistical significance.

Tips for using Close Ended Questions

Become an expert

It’s important to fully understand the topic your project is concerned with in order to ask the best questions.

Keep questions simple and clear

As respondents 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 your question.

Provide a range of answer options

Not only do you need to fully understand your topic, but also to understand and anticipate respondent answer choices.

The right amount of choice

Too few answer choices will not represent the thoughts and ideas of every respondent. Whilst, too many answer choices can lead to respondent disengagement.

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. KwikSurveys provides 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.

Final Thoughts

Close ended questions are a more efficient means of collecting quantitative data. Where open ended questions are better for collecting qualitative data. However, your data will be of a better quality if these styles are used together.

You should begin a line of questioning with a close ended question, then follow up with an open ended question. The latter can then be used to interpret or explain the trends in the statistical data.

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