Getting the most out of open-ended questions
How to get the most out of open-ended questions
Published on
1 November 2022
Chun Hui Lee image
Chun Hui Lee
Insights Writer

Open-ended questions should be part of any research project as they can gather in-depth and rich insights from your target audience. Learn more about open-ended questions and getting the most out of them for your projects.


What is an open-ended question?

Open-ended questions are questions that prompt respondents to respond in their own words. Unlike close-ended questions that provide participants with a pre-determined set of answer choices, open-ended questions are usually designed to gather more detailed and personalised answers from the target audience.

Often open-ended questions are neglected in surveys, as they can be more time-consuming to prepare and analyse than other questions. However, having a good mixture of close- and open-ended questions in your research ensures holistic and comprehensive insights into your customer preferences and opinions.

How to use open-ended questions in market research?

1. As an additional text field in closed-ended questions to gather more details

Instead of limiting respondents to only the given options, an additional open-ended field allows respondents to provide more options. This will minimise chances where respondents are forced to pick an option. Importantly, respondents may suggest alternatives that you were missing.

2. As a follow-up question to understand the context and reasons for previous answers

Providing comment boxes or additional questions for respondents to explain their selections or address previous questions minimises the risk of misinterpretation. These inputs reveal respondents’ thinking rationale, helping you understand your target audience preferences more in-depth.

3. As the primary source of richer insights, especially for small-sample exploratory research

When an industry, technology, or product is new, open-ended questions are more beneficial as respondents have no established references for decision-making. To maximise the value of your research, include stimulating questions to provoke respondents to share helpful thoughts and motivations that may help you unfold novel findings on your offerings.

4. As a tool to engage respondents

Open-ended questions allow respondents to express themselves freely and more in-depth. This make respondents feel their opinions are valued ,and they are more keen to share helpful comments and ideas to help you reach your goal.

How to get the most out of open-ended questions?

1. Present your open-ended questions in different ways

An open-ended question need not be a plain question with an empty text field. As covered earlier, you can combine close-ended and open-ended questions to collect more detailed insights, or insert text excerpt and image into your free-standing question to make them look more interesting.

Conjointly offers a wide range of intuitive and exciting open-ended question types to cater your different research needs. Learn more about each question type:

2. Add formatting and customisation to your question text

If you are including interrelated open-ended questions in your survey, you should add formatting to the question text and highlight the keywords. This helps respondents to understand your questions better.

To provide your respondents with a more personalised and enjoyable survey experience, present them customised questions by incorporating their information or answers to previous questions.

3. Extract key insights by organising and summarising your responses

To analyse the text responses you gathered, it is important to first go through the responses to understand them. Then, organise them into different groups and identify the common theme that arises in each group. Thanks to advanced artificial intelligence and machine learning, the analysis of open-ended questions can now be done more time and cost-effectively.

For instance, Conjointly’s AI Summary of open-ended text responses is a paid functionality that can automatically process and analyse all your open-ended questions within seconds and is priced only at a fraction of the labour cost of manually sifting through text responses.

As all-in-one survey research platform, Conjointly provides access to millions of respondents and industry-leading product and pricing research methods that help you gain actionable insights into your market, customers, product, and pricing. Feel free to get in touch with us for any market and pricing research enquiries, or even if you have any thought on open-ended questions.


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