Question order

Once you’ve got your list of questions, you need to think about the order in which they appear. Here are some general principles:

  • Put the most important items in first half of questionnaire: Many people don’t complete questionnaires. This will ensure you get the most significant data from nonfinishers.
  • Don’t start with awkward or embarrassing questions: respondents may just give up.
  • Start with easy and non-threatening questions: This encourages respondents to continue with the questionnaire.
  • Go from the general to the particular.
  • Go from factual to abstract questions.
  • Go from closed to open questions.
  • Leave demographic and personal questions until last.