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    Close Ended Questions: Definition, Types + Examples

    Ultimate guide to understanding close ended questions, examples, advantages and questionnaire examples in surveys

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    Close Ended Questions: Definition, Types + Examples

    By Formplus Blog  | Last updated: Mar 17    |     9 min read

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    Close Ended Questions: Definition, Types + Examples

    Close-ended questions are question formats that provoke a simple response from a respondent. They are designed such there isn’t much thought into the single word answer. An example of a close ended question is, “Are you hungry?”.

    Individuals generally enjoy talking about themselves. If you give then an opportunity, you'll be surprised how much information they'll disclose to you. However, close-ended questions seek the exact opposite. Rather than seek to hear all they have to say, these questions target specifics.

    Close-ended questions are better suited to quantitative research, where the respondents answer your questions in a manner such that they're less likely to disengage

    What is a close ended question

    A closed-ended question, by definition, is a question that could be answered with a one-word answer or a simple "yes" or "no." In research, a closed-ended question refers to any question in which participants are provided with options to choose a response from.

    In a search for statistically significant stats? closed-ended questions are your best bet.

    Close-ended questions allow a limited number of responses and are ideal for surveys because you get higher response rates when users don't have to type so much.

    Types & Examples of Close Ended Questions 

    Dichotomous or True/False Questions 

    The true and false questions basically consist of a question and TWO answer options. Many a time, the answer options used are 'True and False'. You can, nevertheless, use other options, such as 'Yes' and 'No', 'I Agree' and 'I Disagree'.

    Examples of a true/false close ended question includes;

    For each of the following statements, indicate True or False

    The sun rises in the east and sets in the west.

    Regression coefficients have a sum of 0.

    Printers can be connected directly to a computer network

    @[email protected]#=img=#

    Multiple Choice Questions

    A multiple-choice question is one in which provides respondents with multiple answer options. In examinations, a multiple-choice question contains a set of alternatives or possible answers that contain one that is the best answer to the question and a number of distractors that are plausible but incorrect answers to the question.

    Multichoice can be divided into two; one preferred answer per question (Radio Choice)  and the ability to choose more than one option (CheckBoxes).

    Close Ended Question Example on Radio Choice

    What is the name of the incumbent president of the United States?

    Close Ended Question Example on Radio Choice

    Which of these cities is situated in the United States?

    Rating Scale Choice Questions

    A rating scale is a subset of the multiple-choice question which is widely used to gather opinions that provide relative information about a specific topic. Most researchers use a rating scale when they mean to associate a qualitative measure with the various aspects of a product or feature.

    Examples of Rating Scale Close Ended Questions

    How difficult (1) or easy (5) was it to log in to the app? (1=Very difficult, 5=Very easy)

    How disinterested (1) or interested (5) are you in purchasing Nike boots? (1=Not at all interested, 5=Extremely interested)

    Please rate your agreement with the following statement: “I understand who this product is for.” (1=Strongly disagree, 5=Strongly agree)

    Rank Order Choice Questions

    Rank order questions are basically multiple-choice questions represented in a single column format. They are close ended questions that allow respondents to evaluate multiple row items in relation to one column item or a question in a ranking survey and then rank the row items.

    Examples of Rank Order Closed Questions

    Please rank these toppings on a scale of 1 to 5. With 1 being your favorite.

    Olives Sausage Mushrooms Anchovies Pepperoni

    Please rank the following in order of importance from 1 to 4, where 1 is most important to you and 4 is least important to you.

    Cleanliness Ease of packing

    Friendliness of staff

    Speed of service

    Please rank (1 to 4) the following in order of interest.

    Skiing Biking Snowboarding Hiking

    Create Close Ended Questionnaire with Formplus

    Use of Close Ended Questions

    Surveys/Questionnaires 

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    A key part of creating excellent online surveys is in the proper uses of both open-ended and closed-ended questions. There are a wide variety of closed-ended question types for survey creators to choose from, including: multiple choice, drop down, check boxes, and many more. Open-ended questions allow for the respondent to provide any answer they choose.

    Closed-ended vs open-ended questions

    Get started

    A key part of creating excellent online surveys involves using open-ended and closed-ended questions effectively.

    Before we move forward in discussing how to use them, let’s define each:

    A closed-ended question is made up of pre-populated answer choices for the respondent to choose from; while an open-ended question asks the respondent to provide feedback in their own words.

    Let’s take a deeper look at both question types, review their strengths and weaknesses, and clarify when to use each of them. Ready? Let’s jump right in!

    Closed-ended questions

    Closed-ended questions come in a multitude of forms, including: multiple choice, drop down, checkboxes, and ranking questions. Each question type doesn’t allow the respondent to provide unique or unanticipated answers, but rather, choose from a list of pre-selected options. It’s like being offered spaghetti or hamburgers for dinner, instead of being asked “What would you like for dinner?”

    Use closed-ended questions for the following:

    When your audience isn’t particularly interested in your survey topic

    When you need quantifiable data

    To categorize respondents

    1. When your audience isn’t particularly interested in your survey topic

    Closed-ended questions are easier to complete than open-ended questions. Why? Because closed-ended questions lay out all of the possible answers, removing respondents’ task of coming up with their own responses.

    So when you find yourself surveying an audience who may not be excited about what you’re asking them, air on the side of using closed-ended questions. It’ll give them an easier survey-taking experience and, in the process, provide you with a higher completion rate.

    2. When you need quantifiable data

    If you’re looking for statistically significant stats, closed-ended questions are the way to go. Going back to our earlier example, using a closed-ended question can help us arrive at stats like: 70% of respondents want to eat spaghetti for dinner versus 30% who prefer hamburgers.

    Questions that are closed-ended are conclusive in nature as they are designed to create data that is easily quantifiable. The fact that questions of this type are easy to code makes them particularly useful when trying to prove the statistical significance of a survey’s results. Furthermore, the information gained by closed-ended questions allows researchers to categorize respondents into groups based on the options they have selected.

    3. To categorize respondents

    In other words, they allow you to conduct demographic studies. Why is this valuable?

    Imagine that the manager of a designer clothing store believes that certain types of people are more likely to visit their store and purchase their clothing than others. To decipher which segment groups are most likely to be their customers, the manager could design a survey for anyone who has been a visitor. This survey could include closed-ended questions on gender, age, employment status, and any other demographic information they’d like to know. Then, it would be followed by questions on how often they visit the store and the amount of money they spend annually. Since all the questions are closed-ended, the store manager could easily quantify the responses and determine the profile of their typical customer. In this case, the manager may learn that her most frequent customers are female students, ages 18-25. This knowledge would allow her to move forward with an action plan on how to cater to this niche better or break into other target demographics.

    The major drawback to closed-ended questions is that a researcher must already have a clear understanding of the topic of his/her questions and how they tie into the overall research problem before they are created. Without this, closed-ended questions will lead to insufficient options for respondents to select from, questions that do not properly reflect the research’s purpose, and limited or erroneous information.

    Send your survey to a large or small group of people with our online Audience panel.

    For example, if I asked the question, “do you get to work by driving, busing, or walking?” I would have accidentally omitted carpooling, biking, cartwheeling or any other form of transportation I am unaware of. Instead, it would have been better for me to ask the open-ended question of “how do you get to work?” to learn all the different types of answer before forcing the selection based on a list of several options.

    Open-ended questions

    Open-ended questions are exploratory in nature, and offer the researchers rich, qualitative data. In essence, they provide the researcher with an opportunity to gain insight on all the opinions on a topic they are not familiar with. However, being qualitative in nature makes these types of questions lack the statistical significance needed for conclusive research.

    Nevertheless, open-ended questions are incredibly useful in several different ways:

    Expert interviews

    Small population studies

    Preliminary research

    A respondent outlet

    1. Expert interviews

    Since questions that are open-ended ask for the critical thinking and uncut opinion of the respondent, they are perfect for gaining information from specialists in a field that the researcher is less qualified in. Example: If I wanted to learn the history of Ancient China (something I know very little about), I could create my survey for a selected group of historians whose focus is Ancient China. My survey would then be filled with broad open-ended questions that are designed to receive large amounts of content and provide the freedom for the expert to demonstrate their knowledge.

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    Close Ended Questions: Definition, Types with Examples

    Learn everything about close ended questions with definition, types and examples. Close ended questions and its question types are critical for collecting survey responses within a limited frame of options. Closed ended questions are the foundation of all statistical analysis techniques applied on questionnaires and surveys.

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