Types of questions

Selecting the best question types, to get the best information from respondents

What are question types

When setting up a Commonplace, it is important to consider the effect the design of your survey will have on the data you collect. 

If your survey is too complicated, people may ‘switch off’ without completing it. Using a variety of question types, at the right point, makes your survey more interesting and engaging, and it also helps to understand the bigger picture. 

Commonplace has a number of different question types, each suited to a different type of question - they are as follows:

Smiley face scale

The smiley face question is perfect for getting a simple view of how people are feeling. You can add labels to the faces, and also choose whether they display with the positive face on the left and the negative face on the right, or vice versa.

A smiley face question forms the overall sentiment of the project in your dashboard.


Rating scale

The rating scale question works similarly to the smiley faces, but instead of faces it simply displays numbers.

This is good to measure questions on a numerical scale. 


Label and Text poll - “Tags”

These question types give your respondents a pre-set list of options to choose from. In other words, they operate like a dropdown with multiple choices to choose from. 

A ‘label’ question allows multiple options to be selected, whereas a ‘text poll’ question only allows a single option to be selected. You can also optionally enable an ‘add something else’ field so that respondents can write their own options in. One of the major benefits of these types of questions is that they avoid the labour-intensive data analysis involved with free text comments.


Free text

Sometimes you’ll want to give respondents the opportunity to write whatever they want - you can choose from the short (single line) and long (multi-line) questions. These boxes do not have a character limit, but give an indication of the amount of text you expect a respondent to write. It is always good to have one of these open-ended questions in a survey. 



Priority questions allow respondents to rank options in order of preference.  We suggest using up to six tags as a larger number often means people only move their top issues around, leaving the remainder in a random default order.


Image poll

An image poll functions the same way as a label/text poll question, but instead of the boxes being purely text, they include an image, too - this makes your survey much more visually interesting.


General tips on question types

  • Instead of approaching the survey design by asking “what sort of questions do I want in my survey?”, instead, consider “what kind of data do I want to collect from my target demographic?”. This sort of reasoning can help you find the most efficient method of collecting responses, and eliminates any unnecessary questions that may lengthen the survey and reduce conversion.
  • Free-text questions need to be carefully considered as they are difficult to analyse post-consultation. If Natural Language Processing (NLP) methodologies cannot be used, then data extraction can involve tedious combing of answers to extract useful information. An appropriate mix of multiple choice and free-text questions should be considered.
  • If you plan to have multiple tiles containing similar or replicated questions, ensure that the question type and phrasing is identical to ensure that the responses can be successfully merged after the consultation.

Contact Support

If you find you still have some questions or you’re unsure about something, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with our dedicated technical Customer Support Team