Why it’s not always best to have required questions on your survey

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Having required questions may seem like a great idea. After all, requiring questions can help to ensure you have a complete data set. In other words, requiring respondents to answer questions can reduce the likelihood of having missing data.

However, required questions can create various issues for your data collection efforts. For example, if asked, “What kind of car do you drive?” and the respondent does not have a car, he or she cannot honestly answer the question. This may lead to two negative outcomes. The respondent may simply just pick any response although no response is applicable, thereby answering dishonestly. On the other hand, the respondent may get frustrated and drop out of the survey before completion.

So when should required questions be used? Only when they are truly needed! If a question is required, ensure that each and every respondent can honestly and accurately answer the question. In other words, make sure your responses are exhaustive. If you do plan to include required questions, a great option would be to include a response for respondents that cannot or choose not to answer the question such as “Don’t know” or “Prefer not to answer”.

The Ambivista Survey Insights Suite makes including required questions easy with data validation. Do you need help determining what questions should be required? Ambivista can help you create the perfect survey!

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