Bias in survey questions

Biased questions are also referred to as 'leading questions' because they lead to certain responses.

When writing survey questions care must be taken to avoid language and phrases that may introduce bias.

Bias can be introduced by:

  • selecting questions that include several unpopular choices along with one favoured choice
  • phrasing questions positively or negatively
  • limiting the number of options provided when respondents have to make a choice
  • including closed questions without the opportunity to give a reason for a particular response.

The SurveyMonkey website provides tips for writing good survey questions.

Curriculum links

Year 8: Explore the practicalities and implications of obtaining data through sampling using a variety of investigative processes

Year 8: Investigate techniques for collecting data, including census, sampling and observation