What is an ideal survey length

Determining how many questions to add to your survey can be a tricky one. The number of questions in a survey can greatly impact the response rate and the quality of data collected. In this blog post, we will explore the factors to consider when determining the optimal survey length, the best number of questions to be in a survey, and the reasons for these conclusions.

What is a good survey length?

As a general rule, the survey should take no more than 10 minutes to complete; less than five minutes is more than twice as good. So the number of questions should be able to fit into this time for better survey performance.

How many questions should then be in a survey?

It is best to keep survey questions around 10 to 15 questions. The survey should take no more than 10 minutes to complete; less than five minutes is more than twice as good. The fewer your questions, the higher your response rate.

Why you should make shorter surveys

Creating a short survey is important because it helps improve respondent engagement and increases the likelihood of obtaining accurate and meaningful responses. The following are more reasons why shorter surveys are often more desirable:

1. People have short attention spans

With so much content vying for our attention, it's important to keep your survey short and sweet. Long surveys can be tedious and overwhelming, leading to survey fatigue. By keeping your survey short and simple, you can reduce the chances of respondents losing interest or abandoning the survey altogether. A shorter survey will not only increase the likelihood of your respondents completing it, but it also ensures that you are only asking the most relevant questions.

2. Less unbiased response

When respondents are faced with a barrage of questions, they may not put much thought into their responses. By limiting the number of questions in your survey, you can encourage more thoughtful responses.

Ideal Survey length

3. Increased response rates

When respondents see that a survey is short and to the point, they are more likely to complete it. This leads to higher response rates, which can ultimately lead to more reliable and accurate data.

Factors to consider before choosing survey length

Purpose of the Survey

When deciding how many questions to include in a survey, it is crucial to take several factors into account. The purpose of the survey plays a significant role in determining its length. A survey designed for exploratory research may have a fewer number of questions to gather general insights, while a descriptive or causal survey may require a more comprehensive approach. The target audience and their time constraints should also be considered, as well as the complexity of the topic being surveyed. Now let's go through some factors to consider before choosing how many questions to include in your survey.

Impact on Response Rate

Research has shown that longer surveys often lead to decreased response rates. Respondents may experience survey fatigue or feel overwhelmed by a lengthy questionnaire, resulting in incomplete or rushed responses. To optimize response rates, survey designers can employ strategies such as prioritizing essential questions, utilizing skip logic and branching to customize the survey experience, and offering incentives to encourage participation.

Balancing Question Quantity and Quality

While the number of questions in a survey is important, the quality of those questions is equally crucial. Well-crafted questions ensure that respondents can provide accurate and meaningful answers. It's essential to avoid leading or biased questions that could influence respondents' opinions. Survey designers should strive for clear and concise language, structuring questions appropriately based on their objectives (open-ended, closed-ended, or rating scales), and ensuring that the survey flows logically.

Type of the Surveys

The number of questions in a survey can vary depending on the type of research being conducted. Exploratory surveys, which aim to uncover new insights, typically have fewer questions and cover broader topics. On the other hand, descriptive surveys focus on specific areas and may require a moderate number of questions. Causal surveys, designed to investigate cause-and-effect relationships, tend to be more comprehensive, incorporating multiple factors and consequently containing a higher number of questions.

Segmentation and Customization

By segmenting surveys based on respondent characteristics, such as demographics or past behavior, designers can tailor the questionnaire to specific groups, resulting in higher relevance and increased response rates. Skip patterns and branching logic can also be utilized to personalize the survey experience by showing respondents only the questions that are relevant to them, making the process more efficient and engaging.

Analyzing Survey Results

Once the survey data is collected, the length of the survey can impact the subsequent data analysis phase. The more extensive the survey, the more data will need to be analyzed. It is crucial to ensure data quality and reliability by conducting proper data cleaning and validation processes. By focusing on meaningful data, survey designers can extract valuable insights that drive decision-making processes effectively and efficiently.


Consider using a professional survey tool like Enquete to build your surveys to ensure quality surveys are made. 

Determining the ideal number of questions for a survey is a balance between gathering sufficient information and respecting respondents' time and attention. By considering the purpose of the survey, the target audience, and the complexity of the topic, survey designers can strike the right balance. Additionally, focusing on question quality, utilizing customization techniques, and analyzing data efficiently contribute to the overall success of a survey. As survey design continues to evolve, it is important to adapt and optimize survey length to meet the needs of both researchers and respondents alike.

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