Best Practices for Survey Length & Question Types

One of the main things to consider when designing a survey is “time to completion” which is somewhat different than total survey length (i.e., number of questions). For instance, traditional Likert items (e.g., agreement scale) take less time to respond to than a Rank-order or Open-Ended question. So with that in mind here a few broad tips to consider in designing your survey:

Time to Completion: Shoot for 10-15 minutes.

  • Likert Items: Between 30-40 items.
  • Open-Ended: We shouldn’t expect our employees to answer more than 2-3 open-ended questions. However, open-ended questions naturally take longer, and some employees love to write! A lengthy response could easily take them past the 10-15 minute time-frame that we recommend aiming for. 
  • Additional Item Types: Other common types include, but not limited to: 
    • Rank-Order
    • Factors (e.g., Multiple Choice)
    • eNPS