Webinar Discover the magic behind the card sorting survey method!
  • John Oppenhimer, Research & Community Manager QuestionPro

Understanding the importance people give to various information and how they bucket such information is one of the major factors that keep brands and researchers up at night. Are you building out new products or services, but aren’t sure how to group its features or attributes together when presenting to your customers? Are you designing a website, but you have no idea how to organize all of your content for your customers to find? Are you trying to compare different concepts and rank them in importance or in usage?

Card sorting is an important research question-type and technique that can help you derive insights about how respondents categorize and rank answer options. Not just that, using the closed-card sorting method can help you gain insights from your brand's top promoters and the open-card sorting method can help you gain insights from a wider audience. Join John Oppenhimer, Market Research Community Manager at QuestionPro, as he dives deep into the finer nuances of conducting high-value research using card sorting.

  • doneWhat is the purpose of card sorting and how is it useful to you?
  • doneClosed vs. open card sorting in research for insights collection
  • doneInterpreting results with confidence
  • doneCard sorting blueprint to facilitate actions


Speakers: John Oppenhimer, Market Researcher & Community Manager, QuestionPro

Top five questions & answers from this webinar
Q: Is there any logic available? Skip logic and branching etc.? What about show and hide options?

Answer: If you’re building out a Card Sorting exercise in a survey of yours, you can create skip logic or delayed compound branching off of another survey question(s) or other variables so that certain respondents don’t have to see the Card Sorting exercise. Within the Card Sorting question type, there is no way for us to manually implement show/hide questions or show/hide response logic. Though if you had no choice, you could put in a request to our Services team and they can use scripting to implement the show/hide logic that you need.

Q: Could you create the category and then allow for open/create your own comments -using to prioritize the effectiveness or need for potential options or products?

Answer: Currently it is not possible to link categories to other components in the same survey, whether you’re applying closed or open card sorting. Though we are looking to add that as a product enhancement later this year. Workarounds for this are to follow up with arbitrary open-ended questions (e.g. Please elaborate on why you selected the following cards to be assigned into these categories.) If you want to ask an open-ended question for the respondent to comment on, but focuses on specific cards/items and categories, you can review your data and then follow up or re-contact these respondents (w/ the contact information that you have available for these respondents) and ask to provide comment to specific categorizing they did.

Q: When are appropriate times to use card sorting questions in my surveys?

Answer: Just like any exercise that involves advanced analytics, card sorting can be applied during any part of the survey. Though ideally, you want to save it towards the middle or end sections of a survey, that way respondents will have a slightly better sense of the circumstances of what these cards/items represent, based on previous questions asked in the same survey. That way, your insights will be much stronger when you do the analysis afterward.

Q: How to know when to keep card sorting closed versus open, and vice versa?

Answer: Closed card sorting is when you’re seeking out more evaluative insights whereas open card sorting is for getting more ‘generative’ insights in your research. So if you’re creating something from scratch, whether that’s a website, or an inventory, or an agenda for upcoming market research projects for your panel/community, but don’t have the foresight to really know how your target audience perceives these items (products, services, concepts, etc.), then Open Card sorting might be more useful for you. In the case where you want to study how your target audience categorizes things over time, or if you’re looking to pinpoint misleading or unclear labels, or if you’re trying to reduce the number of categories of items for a website/inventory/market research agenda/etc., then closed card sorting might be more beneficial for you.

Another important thing to call out is that you cannot use open card sorting when evaluating item hierarchy. For example, if you’re categorizing items based on the level of priority or usage among your target audience, these categories would have to be pre-defined, whereas, in open card sorting, the respondent categories items, and then they create the labels themselves.

Q: What else card sorting is good for (besides UX Research)?

Answer: Card sorting is great if you think you need to reorganize your inventory so it’s easier for your customers to navigate, not just online but in-stores, across any industry. Additionally, as a market researcher, you can identify what your target panelists/audience find as high priority versus not, or how a product/service/concept is associated with their lifestyle and you can prioritize and filter your audience for upcoming projects on specific products/services/concepts, whether they already exist and are known to the public, or if they’re a prodigy or new product/service/concept in the pipeline.