In 7 Habits of Highly Successful Surveys, marketing experts at Vovic Corporation offer these ideas on writing objective questions:
Remember the adage “Garbage in, Garbage out”. Poorly worded questions will lead to suspect results and erroneous conclusions. Respondents should not be able to determine where you stand on any topic, so use nonjudgmental wording and choose neutral terms. Don’t ask leading questions such as “What do you like about your service?” but instead ask “What, if anything, do you like…?”
Remove any ambiguity in your questions. Ask one item at a time, rather than using confusing questions like “How would you rate our price and service?” Make sure to avoid industry jargon. Write from the respondent’s perspective and not your perspective. Have others proofread your questions for clarity, and consider pre-testing your survey with a segment of your audience.
The best practices for writing scales have been thoroughly researched. Respondents prefer fully labeled scales; they have greater reliability and validity. Five- and 7-point scales have the greatest reliability and validity but 10- and 11-point scales are popular. Where possible use standard scales rather than writing your own. Numeric values alter the meaning of labels and should be avoided.