What is a Dichotomous Question?

The dichotomous question is a question that can have two possible answers. Dichotomous questions are usually used in a survey that asks for a Yes/No, True/False, Fair/Unfair or Agree/Disagree answers. They are used for a 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 ask this type of question if there 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 love one song but not prefer the rest of the songs in the album, while others might not like or dislike the songs in the album.

Dichotomous questions can be used in situations when there can be too many options for answers. Consider the below example where the question can have only two options – Agree and Disagree.

dichotomous questions examples

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 on why dichotomous questions are useful.

Here are some more tips on how to get the best survey results.

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