An Alternative to the Check All That Apply Question Type

Many times a check all that apply question type is very useful for gathering a lot of data using only one question. It can also be a useful way of getting a general idea of your population when you aren't sure of the parameters (e.g. "Please check all the after school activities you currently participate in")

A typical check all that apply question can look like this:

Education Survey Example Question: Which sports do you currently participate in? (Please check all that apply)
Education Survey Example Question

But is this always the best way to format our questions?

Some studies have shown that when respondents are faced with a check all that apply, they tend to skim down the question and check off many options without fully reading each item. So if we use our example from above, they check off more activities then they are actually participating in, thereby over inflating our data and the percentages of students actually engaging in after-school activities.

One alternative to using a standard check all that apply question type is to use a variation, switching the question to a Yes/No matrix question. So the same education survey sample question would now look like this:

Education Survey Example Question: Do you currently participate in the following sports?
Education Survey Example Question

Using this format, participants tend to read each option more carefully, since they have to provide an answer for each option. Another benefit is that your data comes out in the same format as when you construct a check all that apply question type, so data cleaning and analysis wont be a hassle!

If you are planning to go the Select All That Apply route, make sure you follow these online survey best practices.
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