Open ended questions or not for screener surveys?


  • QA Engineer

    I am preparing my first screener survey to recruit some participants for an interview.

    I am getting mixed views on if these questions should be open ended or not.

    For example, I have the following questions:

    • How often do you shop in Townsworth High Street? [Daily, Weekly, Monthly, Never]
    • How often do you attend events in Townsworth? [Daily, Weekly, Monthly, Never]
    • Do you prefer to “shop local” or support local businesses than a high street chain? [yes, no] (although I know I shouldn't have yes/no questions, but not sure how I can reword this to get people who prefer to shop locally in the interview)
    • How often do you read reviews about a shop before visiting? [Always, Sometimes, Less Often, Never]
    • How often do you read reviews about a product before purchasing? [Always, Sometimes, Less Often, Never]

    Should some of these be open ended questions such as

    • Tell me about the events you attend in Townsworth
    • Tell me why you prefer to shop local than high street chains

    Should I be using open ended questions in the screener survey or leave these until the actual interview?

    The NN Group mentions having open ended questions: https://www.nngroup.com/articles/screening-questions-select-research-participants/

    Any advice would be great, thanks!



  • Yes, they can sometimes gauge how open and descriptive your subject will be. But don’t ask so many it can dilute the quality of each response due to limited subject commitment. It’s a lot to ask upfront.

    To keep responses more informative, try asking for specific things such as what they liked about the events, why they attend them, with who, etc. These serve to guide the user into providing more information than for example “The events are nice”.

    For some more ideas, check out IDEO’s research facebook group. They post multiple recruiting surveys with open ended questions - https://www.facebook.com/IDEOresearch/


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