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Understanding Dichotomous Questions: Examples, Benefits & Alternatives 

Understanding A Dichotomous Questions: Examples, Benefits & Alternatives 

Are you planning to conduct an easy survey? Then inculcating just the ‘open-end questions will not suffice. Sometimes, quick answers are needed while designing survey questions. Here, we use dichotomous questions. As a member of the closed-ended question family, these questions are convenient, quick, and easy to answer. 

What are Dichotomous Questions? 

As stated above, a dichotomous question is a close-ended question that only offers two possible answers. Here’s what the answer options can look like: 

  • Yes or No
  • True or False 
  • Fair or Unfair 
  • Agree or Disagree
  • Male or Female 

Since these questions narrow down the possibilities to just two options, collecting and analyzing the data can be pretty straightforward. However, when used incorrectly, it can also be quite irritating. 

Where Can You Use Dichotomous Questions? 

This question type is perhaps the most common choice when conducting market research. For instance, if you want to gather a response on whether your audience agrees or disagrees with something, you can use dichotomous questions. Additionally, you can use these questions to gather feedback on the products or services you offer. 

In short, you can use this question type in your survey when just answer choices are required. A dichotomous question enables the surveyor to differentiate a group of responders from another based on a single analysis. 

These questions are best used when the questions are short, easy and straightforward. It can also lead to better user engagement and keeping the survey short. 

Examples Of Dichotomous Questions 

DO’S

perfect dichotomous question example would be, ‘Did you like the product you just ordered?’ followed by two choices, ‘Yes’ and ‘No.’

DON’T

A wrong dichotomous question example can be ‘How much did you like our product?’ This question asks about the degree of satisfaction, where a simple ‘yes’ or ‘no’ cannot suffice. 

Here are more examples: 

  • Are you working in a managerial post in your company?- Yes or No
  • Will you recommend our products to your friends or family?- Yes or No
  • Do you plan to shop with us again? – Yes or No 
  • Have you visited a hospital in the last 12 months?- Yes or No

Moreover, if you receive a ‘Yes’ response, you can add another open-ended question based on the conditions logic. 

Here’s an example: 

Have you visited a medical facility in the last 12 months? 

  • Yes
  • No

If the response is yes, you can add the below question: 

When did you visit the medical facility? 

  • In the past week
  • In the past month
  • In the past six months
  • In the past 12 months 
RELATED: Setting Survey Goals And Objectives: A Comprehensive Guide

How To Design A Yes/No Dichotomous Question? 

A Yes/No question is perhaps the easiest to fill and analyze. Here are a few things or tips you can keep in mind when using Yes/No dichotomous questions: 

Use Yes/No As An Entry Point 

The respondents are also more inclined to engage in the survey because dichotomous questions are simple to answer. In these surveys, respondents are easy to find. Yes/no surveys are intended to be used as springboards for further investigation. The researcher might add a comprehensive questionnaire as the survey goes along to acquire more insightful responses.

Can Be Used To Assess Consistency 

You can assess the consistency of the respondents’ responses by using Yes/No questions. How? There are numerous ways to reframe the first statement. Since not all the questions fit into this framework, you must mix them.

Careful Editing Is Advisable

The researcher should remember the survey’s goals and the specific information they want from respondents. It’s possible to combine many methods of study. At first, it could be purely quantitative, but as the conversation progresses, it could take on a more qualitative tone.

Advantages Of A Dichotomous Question 

They Are Easy To Answer

Dichotomous questions are simple to respond to because they allow respondents to choose their preferred choice without looking through a lengthy list. Additionally, it makes it simple for respondents to participate in the survey. 

They Help Determine Personas 

This type of question helps identify buyer personas. Splitting respondents’ options and perspectives will help you understand them better. 

They Have Higher Completion Rates

A survey with a lot of dichotomous questions will be simple for the respondents to finish. As a result, the surveys will be brief, which will significantly raise the survey completion rate. 

They Make Factual Reporting Easy

Dichotomous questions are simple to assess and report on because there are only two possible outcomes. In terms of reporting the facts, it proves quite helpful.

They Make Your Surveys Easy

By posing straightforward questions, surveys are made less complicated. For the respondent, it doesn’t take up a lot of time either. Respondents also don’t need to think way too hard. 

They Are Good For Screening Respondents 

You can use dichotomous questions to weed out potential respondents. The survey process has an opt-out option for irrelevant people.

Disadvantages Of A Dichotomous Question 

They Can’t Capture True Feelings 

By their very nature, dichotomous questions are straightforward and give respondents only two options. It restricts what they can say and leads to bias in surveys. Dichotomous questions don’t leave room for answers like “maybe” or “sometimes.” They cannot be used by businesses to solicit feedback on neutral experiences. 

RELATED: Biases in Surveys: What You Need to Know
They Can Reduce Reliability 

The survey procedure can be misused because dichotomous questions only ask for a little information from the respondents. Some survey participants may consider completing the questionnaire quickly and without carefully considering the questions. They could have been better versed in the questions. As a result, the survey results are less reliable.

They Can Limit The Analyzations 

It is quick and simple to develop and reply to, but it only produces two results. In contrast, an open-ended question allows responders to express themselves freely. You will receive far more reliable information if they provide thorough answers. 

They Force The Consumer To Make A Decision 

Whether or not the target audience agrees with the options offered, they are forced to choose one of the two options. They can pick a response that doesn’t reflect how they feel about the good or service. The results of your survey will turn out to need to be more accurate. 

Dichotomous questions should only be used when their benefits outweigh their drawbacks.

Concluding Remarks 

It is safe to argue that dichotomous questions give your surveys a lot of structure and clarity. However, there are several things to consider while creating survey questions. You cannot utilize radio buttons everywhere in the survey, even though they provide significant flexibility. Using solely open-ended questions in your survey would also not be a good idea. The survey participants will become impatient and possibly stop responding. 

Hence, it would help if you struck a balance when using different question types in your surveys. By doing this, you can be sure that the survey will benefit from the most pertinent comments.

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Heena Shah – Content Writer at Sambodhi 

Heena Shah
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