March 21, 2018

How do you write survey questions that accurately measure public opinion?

We’re excited to bring you the second video in Pew Research Center’s occasional Methods 101 series, which aims to demystify the methodology we use to conduct our research. This time around, we’re tackling why question wording is so important in public opinion surveys.

Writing clear and neutral survey questions is much more difficult than it might seem. We spend a lot of time thinking about the phrasing and ordering of our survey questions. Paying close attention to these seemingly minor factors makes a huge difference. It helps us avoid the trap of poorly worded or leading questions, which can skew survey results.

Check out the video for a quick behind-the-scenes tour of the many ways writing survey questions can go wrong, and the steps you can take to avoid these pitfalls. We hope it will be a helpful guide.

Topics: Research Methods

  1. Photo of Courtney Kennedy

    is director of survey research at Pew Research Center.