How Many Items Should I Choose for My Survey?

One of the most common inquiries we receive from clients is “What is the ideal number of questions to include in a survey?” When answering this question we always refer first to what the data states. Recently, we conducted an extensive review of our historical survey data and found that fixed response or multiple choice questions typically take about 12 seconds on average to complete (but can commonly take as little as half this time). We also found that staff most commonly take between 45 seconds to 1 minute to respond to qualitative/open-ended style questions.

So what do we recommend?

Naturally it depends on the purpose of your survey. However, generally the shorter the survey the better in terms of response rates. Our data suggest that if response rate is important to you then your survey should take no longer than 20 minutes to complete. Wondering how many questions to include in a 20 minute survey? We would normally recommend including up to 5 qualitative questions and as many as 75 quantitative questions.  Wanting to increase the number of qualitative questions? Then just reduce the number of quantitative questions accordingly.

But wait… there’s more! We’ve created a free calcutor to help decide how many items to incorporate into your survey! If you’d like a copy of our new calculator just email us for your obligation free copy: [email protected]

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