Those who commission, design, or run online surveys may find this old-school chart revealing.

Based on over 114,000 participant responses*, we show the proportion of all questions that are claimed by each major question type and, alongside, what proportion of all survey time each question type accounts for.


There are two main points here I reckon:

  1. Questionnaire designers often sacrifice participant experience in the pursuit of brutal data capture. What seems clever and efficient on paper may ‘work’ online in a technical sense, but be an abject failure in terms of respondent engagement, and therefore data quality.
  2. As researchers and programmers, we don’t look at this kind of survey data in this way often enough! Whether we like it or not, it’s our footprint.

*All quantitative online surveys of between 5 and 45 minutes in duration, mostly from the healthcare sector