The dichotomous question is a question which can have two possible answers. Dichotomous questions are usually used in a survey that asks for a Yes/No, True/False or Agree/Disagree answers. They are used for clear distinction of qualities, experiences or respondent’s opinions. Here is an example of a dichotomous type question:
Have you ever purchased a product or service from our website?
If you want information only about product users, you may want to ask this type of question to “opt out” those who haven’t bought your products or services. It is important that you only ask this type of question if there really are only two possible answers. Avoid using a dichotomous question to inquire about feelings and emotions as it is a neutral area where people would prefer to answer “maybe,” or “occasionally ”
Dichotomous questions (Yes/No) may seem simple, but they have few problems both on the part of the survey respondent and in terms of analysis. Yes/No questions often force customers to choose between options that may not be that simple, and may lead to a customer deciding on an option that doesn’t truly capture their feelings.
Dichotomous Question Example
For example, a good dichotomous question would be “Are you taller than 6 feet?” While a bad dichotomous question would be “Do you like the songs in album X? The respondent might not be able to express the way they feel through a Yes/No choice. Many respondents might just love one song but not prefer the rest of the songs in the album while others might neither like nor dislike the songs in the album.
The benefits of dichotomous questions are that they are easy and short. Also, you can simplify the survey experience. Dichotomous questions have the advantage to ease responses and ease the analysis of the data. Here is another great article of why dichotomous questions are useful.
If you are creating a survey, here are some more tips to plan for the best survey results.
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