Tips On Using Open-Ended Questions for Feedback in Qual Research

Rafael Roxas
Apr 24, 2021

Open-Ended Questions for Feedback

It’s no secret that quantitative and qualitative methodologies provide valuable insights to market research professionals. When looking for more encompassing and general feedback, quantitative is the way to go. If you’re looking for deeper and more specific information, a qualitative approach can help you out. In an increasingly mobile world, the means of benefitting from these two methodologies have grown, but what is the best practice for using open-ended or close-ended questions for feedback? We have written down and simplified the process for you.

The Case for Quantitative: Close-Ended Questions for Feedback

It’s difficult to undermine the value of quantitative data that is often easier to evaluate and take action from. Close-ended questions typically make their home in surveys that are efficient to create and just as efficient to respond to. The best part is, results are often smoothly translated into quick and actionable insights. General trends or directions are revealed that help pinpoint basic signs of improvement or decline in products or services.

Surveys with close-ended questions work well when:

  1. Catering to a diverse demographic of consumers that engage with your content using mobile phones, tablets, or computers.
    Due to the usability factor that is optimized by ticking or selecting options out of a group, keyboards aren’t completely necessary to submit feedback. Thus, close-ended questions in surveys are generally more mobile and client-friendly.
  2. They are short and to the point. Close-ended questions provide useful and quickly analyzable information but only if they are submitted truthfully and accurately. 
  • Low survey response rates are an issue that researchers have to account for. They often occur when there are too many questions indicated on a survey.
  • Extensive close-ended questions in surveys can also skewer the quality and reliability of data. The more questions presented, the less time available for respondents to think about how to answer them.
  • Finally, short surveys remove the possibility of bias which can occur when participants end up getting used to the questions being asked and become aware of how you want them to respond. If they know what will please you, they will most likely adhere to it.

    The Case for Qualitative: Open-Ended Questions for Feedback

Open-ended feedback centers around the most critical things that customers experience. This is commonly absent from insights born from close-ended questions. Aside from this, open-ended feedback also lets researchers filter bad feedback almost immediately. Since open-ended questions take more effort to answer, respondents who are uninterested would most likely leave blank spaces or short answers that a researcher can easily remove. Last but not least, open-ended feedback can also reveal demographic information and characteristics from those who answer them, which is usually done by analyzing the language and spelling used by the respondent.

Surveys with open-ended questions work well when:

  1. Looking for shorter, more in-depth answers
    These are often answers given from a handful of targeted questions that are highly subjective and emotion-based. By giving your clientele the opportunity to be in complete control of their feedback, you end up obtaining insights that explain the why behind their thought processes instead of simple quantitative facts.
  2. Mixing open-ended questions with close-ended questions
    1. Too many open-ended questions can leave your respondents with survey fatigue. Close-ended questions give your participants a much-needed break and allows them to prioritize how they want to answer your survey. They can finish the close-ended questions first because it takes less time to answer or they can go straight to the open-ended questions because they take more time to answer.

      Civicom® Can Optimize Your Qualitative Research

Open-ended qualitative feedback takes longer to analyze than close-ended quantitative feedback. This results in slower decision-making and actionable solutions. Text analytics makes it possible to act on open-ended qualitative feedback as soon as it arises. Civicom® Marketing Research Services provides text analytic capabilities through Civicom ChatterBoxTM, an online community and bulletin board platform.

Civicom ChatterBoxTM allows researchers to set up short-term and long-term online community studies with a wide variety of self-directed activities such as surveys, prompt tasks, polls, fill in the blanks, and many more. It also equips researchers with respondent segmentation features, live chat, gamification elements, and robust analytics and reporting capabilities such as automated word clouds and word trees. At Civicom®, your project success is our number one priority.

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