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Format of closed questions

Last modified at 5/26/2011 5:32 PM by CeRC

Closed questions can have different formats. The following formats are most widely used.

Single choice

The most frequently used format is a question which can be answered by "yes/no" or a number (age in years, number of sexual partners etc).

Did you travel to a foreign country in the last month? 
Please tick the right box.   

Don't know


Alternatively, a checklist can be provided:

Which of the following outdoor activities did you do last week?
Please tick the appropriate activities.
None of the above

Rating Scale

The same information can be asked in a more detailed way in a rating scale:

Did you do use sunscreen during the following outdoor activities during the past six months?
Please indicate how often you used sunscreen.
Always Sometimes Seldom Never

The rating scale could be numerical:

Do you think that information on the risk of sunburns would be useful for you?
Please circle
Not at all Useful 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Very Useful

Or analogue:

How severe is your pain in this moment on a scale from 0-10? 
Please put the tick on the line
 0 (No pain) -------------------------------I-----------------------------  10 (Very severe pain)

Lickert Scale

Another option is the use of the Lickert scale to measure attitudes.

Sunburns cannot be avoided during outdoor activities.

  No, I strongly disagree     
  No, I disagree quite a lot
  No, I disagree just a little
  I'm not sure about this
  Yes, I agree just a little
  Yes, I agree quite a lot
  Yes, I strongly agree