The Design of Grids in Web Surveys

Grid or matrix questions are associated with a number of problems in web surveys. In this article, we present results from two experiments testing the design of grid questions to reduce breakoffs, missing data, and satisficing. The first examines dynamic elements to help guide respondent through the grid, and on splitting a larger grid into component pieces. The second manipulates the visual complexity of the grid and on simplifying the grid. We find that using dynamic feedback to guide respondents through a multiquestion grid helps reduce missing data. Splitting the grids into component questions further reduces missing data and motivated underreporting. The visual complexity of the grid appeared to have little effect on performance.