At minimum, two specific characteristics define a good list of response options for survey questions. First, the categories (response options) must be mutually exclusive, which means they do not overlap with one another. Second, survey response options must be collectively exhaustive, meaning they provide all possible options that could comprise a response list. Let’s take a look at examples of common mistakes for each of these characteristics:
Example of Survey Question Mistake #1:
You can see while this response list is exhaustive, it does not provide mutually exclusive categories. For example, if a survey respondent eats out three times per week, he or she could select either (b) or (c) as an accurate response.
Sample Marketing Survey Question Mistake #2:
In this survey question example, the response categories do not overlap, but they are not collectively exhaustive. If a survey respondent makes less than AU$10,000 annually, he or she does not have an option that can accurately capture his or her response. This could be corrected for option (a) by applying the same response type as shown in (e), such as “AU$29,999 or less."
By Tyson Gingery