Randomizing Answer Options to Avoid Bias in Your Web Survey

Randomizing your online survey form or your answer options within a survey questionnaire, means that the listed items are not asked in the same order for each survey respondent.

So, participant A may see their question in this manner:

Example Survey Question: Which pet do you prefer?

While participant B may see the question in this order:

Example Survey Question: Which pet do you prefer?

With the advent of electronic surveys, this feature can now be done in an easy and cost-effective manner!

For many survey questions, rotating the order in which answer choices are viewed by your participants will minimize potential within-item bias. Say for example, customer service survey respondents tend to remember (and choose) the last option they read from a list, or conversely, the first option they read from a list, rotating the order of the options means that each option is read last as often as all the other options available. Ensuring that any potential bias is spread out across the options.

By randomizing your answer options for certain questions, you can be more confident that your results aren't over-estimating the number or frequency of participants who prefer dogs, to say, ferrets.

Read more about this topic to learn important tips on when you shouldn't use randomization of your answer options.
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