Form Design

 DCR-4 Chapter 15 “Designing Questionnaires, Interviews, and Online Surveys”

Use check boxes (squares) to identify response options in “all-that-apply” questions.

Which of the following do you believe increase the chance of having a stroke?
(Check all that apply.)
Smoking
Being overweight
Stress
Drinking alcohol


However, checking “all that apply” does not force the respondent to consider each possible item; an unchecked box may mean the item does not apply or was simply overlooked.  It is better to ask respondents to mark each possible answer as either “yes” or “no”.

Which of the following do you believe increases the chance of having a stroke?

Yes                No         Don’t Know
Smoking
Being overweight
Stress
Drinking alcohol









As demonstrated above, an “all-that-apply” question with 4 possible responses is really 4 single-response questions.

Use radio buttons (circles) to identify response options to single-response questions.   The set of possible responses should be mutually exclusive (i.e., the categories should not overlap).  When indicated, make the set of response options collectively exhaustive by including an “other (specify)” response.

Which of the following do you believe is MOST IMPORTANT in increasing the risk of stroke?
(Choose only one.)
Smoking
Being overweight
Stress
Drinking alcohol
Other  

 

The visual analog scale (VAS) is another option for recording answers.   It is important that the words that anchor each end describe the most extreme values for the item of interest. Here is a VAS for pain severity:

Please mark the place on this line that best describes the severity of your pain in general over the past week.

None Unbearable

 

Online Version of Smoking Questions from our Study of Osteoporotic Fractures