Questionnaire concept: Mandatory or not?

Which question should be mandatory? Be careful with the amount!

Of course, you want all questions answered. The data will be great to process and analyze. Why not make all the questions mandatory?

Mind the decision of the participant! Once you make a question mandatory, the participant has a choice to make: Answer the question or leave! Remember there is always that invisible option on the table, in addition to all the given answers in the survey. Actually, the latter is not what you want.

Questionnaire logics

Whenever you want to use filters and jumps to diversify the questionnaire, you cannot avoid mandatory questions at all. The whole logic depends on the question being answered. To avoid the forced unprovided alternative, we will give you an idea later on.

Analytically needed questions

Some questions will be needed to analyze the results properly. Those questions are usually chosen to be mandatory. In employee surveys the department is a common example for this. It would be hard to analyze working environment answers without knowing in which factory and department somebody works. Just imagine: ‚We need to improve security, but in which of our 15 factories in 14 countries?‘ Wouldn’t really get us far.

The key question of the whole survey

Depending on the topic there can be one or two questions representing the whole aim of the project. Without these core feature questions, there is no project. In fact, you are forced to choose which are these questions to make them mandatory.

Just imagine you are answering a questionnaire. You have to face the third mandatory question in a row. You didn’t like to answer any of them.

You have a choice of options, which you don’t want to choose. There is this one invisible option on the table. You could simply close the whole window and leave the survey. 

Well, actually that is called the invisible alternative in every question of a survey. When you create a survey, you surely want to avoid the participant to start thinking of this invisible alternative.

From a psychological point of view, too many mandatory questions will increase the probability that the participant will be aware of this choice. Though it is always there, you don’t want anybody to really think about it.

To give the attention a different direction, you could offer another alternative to continue. This continuative alternative is another way of ‚not-answering‘ while still continuing the survey. A not-answering alternative can be provided in different ways. 

There could be an ‚other‘ option without making the attached text response field mandatory. Sometimes participants don’t notice this option as a way not to answer and still quit.

 The most direct way to show the participant, that he can go on without answering a fair and square ‚no answer‘ or ‚no comment‘ button. You simply allow the participant to proceed without an answer to the unwanted question.

By the way, this can be applied to any questions for a logic, too. You will just need to decide the kind of logic behind the ‚no answer‘-option. 

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