Survey Says: How to Write Surveys to Get the Information You Want


There are many ways of asking questions, and only a few of them will give you the information you want to know. If you don’t ask questions in the right way, you get biased, inconsistent data. And that’s no way to make informed decisions based on garbage data.

This guide distills fifty years of research on how to write surveys effectively, giving you all of the information you need to feel confident that you are collecting valuable data, not nonsense. It covers:


  • Two models of how people answer questions: conversational norms and satisficing
  • When to use open and closed question formats
  • When to use ranking questions and when to use rating questions
  • How many scale points to use for ranking questions
  • How to label scale points effectively
  • How to order questions to avoid biased responses
  • How to pilot your survey before launching it

And much more. You can't write your next survey without it.


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