It is very important to adjust the style of the questions to the target audience. The phrasing of the questions might vary substantially depending whether the target audience consists of medical professionals or the general public.
1. Ask one information at a time
Do you own a dog?
instead of Do you own a dog or have frequent contact with dogs?
2. Ask precise questions
How often did you touch a dog during the past 3 months?
instead of Do you often touch dogs?
3. Ask appropriate, non-judgemental questions
How often have you consumed alcoholic beverages during the past 6 months?
instead of Are you a drunk?
4. Avoid suggestive questions
Which beverage did you consume?
instead of Did you drink the strange pink drink?
5. Be as simple as possible
Did you smoke an average of 2 packages of cigarettes/week for the last 5 years?
instead of Did you smoke not less than a mean amount of 7 cigarettes/2 days from 1999 onwards?
6. Avoid jargon, abbreviations or slang
How often do you get up at night to pass urine?
instead of How often do you get up at night to PU?
Remember that key words need to be defined (example "PU", “fully vaccinated”).
7. Use mutually exclusive and exhaustive answer options
Put the options in a vertical order. Do not forget the option "don't know, if applicable.
||Several times a week
||11 - 20 years
||Less than once per week
||21 years or older