How to shape multiple choice questions

Multiple choice questions allow you to pre-select the answer options. They enable you to see which answers are most popular.

 

There are two types of multiple choice questions: select one and select many. Select one questions allow team members to choose their top answer only. Select many questions allow team members to choose as many answers as they wish.

Below are 4 guidelines to help you shape your multiple choice questions:

1. Keep it simple and inclusive (low reading age)

Questions and answer options need to make sense to a wide audience. Use simple language so that everyone can take part. Here are a few tips to lower the reading age of your questions:

  • Avoid adverbs. These are most commonly words that end in 'ly' (e.g. efficiently, quickly)
  • Use active voice rather than passive voice
  • The fewer and simpler the words the better
  • Don't choose 'utilise' when you can choose 'use'

💡  Tip: Use the Hemingway App to check the reading age of your statement. Try to form a statement that has a reading age of Grade 6 or below.

Good: What helps you feel like part of a team? [Collaboration; Team celebrations; Social and team building activities; Regular team meetings; Other]

Not so good: What activities and things could our team do more of to help make you feel included and like a part of the team? [Working closely with my colleagues and collaborating; Celebrating wins, deals, birthdays and anniversaries; Socialising outside of work and team building activities; Regular team meetings every week; Other]


2. Limit your answer options

Provide up to six or seven selection options for people to choose from. This ensures team members don't have to spend too much time reading and can answer quickly.

Good: What helps you feel like part of a team? [Collaboration; Team celebrations; Social and team building activities; Regular team meetings; Other]

Not so good: What helps you feel like part of a team? [Collaboration; Team celebrations; Social and team building activities; Regular team meeting; Standups; Addressing conflicts; Eating lunch together; Checking in with each other; Having fun together; Other]


3. Follow 'Other' with an open question

If 'Other' is one of your answer options, make sure it is the last option to choose from. In addition, follow the multiple choice question with an open text question. This will allow team members to specify what 'Other' means to them.

Good: What helps you feel like part of a team? [Collaboration; Team celebrations, Social and team building activities; Regular team meetings; Other]
Is there anything else that helps you feel like part of a team?

Not so good: What helps you feel like part of a team? [Collaboration; Team celebrations; Other; Social and team building activities; Regular team meetings]

 

4. Limit the number of words in your answer options

Try and keep to 3 to 4 words if you can. Complex answer options may confuse your audience and prevent them from answering.

Good: What helps you feel like part of a team? [Collaboration; Team celebrations, Social and team building activities; Regular team meetings; Other]

Not so good: What helps you feel like part of a team? [Working closely with my colleagues and collaborating; Celebrating wins, deals, birthdays and anniversaries; Socialising outside of work and team building activities; Regular team meetings every week; Other]