Matrix Questions: Definition, Types, and Best Practices

Do you need help doing the ideal survey? There is a risk of survey fatigue if you ask too many questions, especially if they are all similar. This can cause respondents to lose interest, abandon the survey midway through, and provide inaccurate answers.

Creating interesting survey questions is the first step to increasing poll participation. Matrix questions are common because they can yield incredible insights from data if asked and answered properly. Look at this manual for more advice on framing probing survey inquiries.

Definition of Matrix Questions:

Matrix questions are a category of inquiry that solicits a reply on a spectrum, for instance, “concur” or “disagree.” Likert scales are frequently employed in the context of surveys and focus groups, although they possess the versatility to be utilized in a variety of survey or questionnaire formats. These are called “hierarchical” questions, requiring survey participants to respond within a predetermined hierarchy of options.

When you want to get a feel for people’s opinions on a topic quickly, matrix questions are your best bet. Matrix questions can be useful when you want to know people’s views on whether or not you should do something or implement a new policy.

A matrix inquiry can be useful when there are several possible responses to a question, such as when evaluating a product’s popularity. In a matrix statement, you ask respondents to rate how much they agree or disagree with a succession of views regarding the same topic.

Types of Matrix Questions

Single-Selection Matrix Questions

The reply must select a single choice from a given list to complete the inquiry. Use them to discover specifics about a topic you’re investigating with your survey, such as how many respondents have read a book on the subject at work. They are also useful for determining demographics like age or gender breakdown because only one answer from a list needs to be chosen.

Multiple-Selection Matrix Questions

Respondents must choose many options to respond to these questions adequately. When you need your respondents to pick several answers from a list or to choose between several alternatives, these questions are for you. Asking open-ended questions might help you learn about the various approaches people have used to resolve a problem or issue.

Benefits of Using Matrix Questions

Space Saving:

Matrix questions let you save space in your survey by grouping questions of a similar nature. Researchers work hard to maintain all questions on a single page because they know that respondents who have to scroll down are much more likely to abandon a survey.

The issue arises when multiple copies of the same question are asked, requiring the respondent to scroll down or click to the next page. By merging numerous questions into a single, straightforward scale, matrix questions drastically reduce the necessary amount of room.

Removes Monotony:

It might grow tedious to repeatedly answer the same types of long and short-answer questions in a survey. An in-depth mental process is needed to answer each of these questions. Matrix question and answer, on the other hand, avoid boredom by filing questions on the same topic together. Your audience should ignore irrelevant details and give full attention to the product, always picking the same answers.

Saves Time:

That monotony is time-consuming since, without the matrix, the respondent would have to read the same question multiple times and enter different answers for each cell. In addition, as kids become more familiar with the scale, they may quickly and efficiently scroll through the numbers by scrolling down in a straight line.

Matrixes are useful for surveys that need to evaluate numerous items of data on the same scale, and they may also aid in data analysis and the framing of questions. However, there are also several drawbacks to employing surveys, many of which result from the same things that make the survey effective.

Best Practices For Using Matrix Questions

Matrix surveys are useful for gathering information about customers’ interactions with a brand, their thoughts on a topic, etc.

Many guidelines for creating high-quality survey questions also apply to generating effective Matrix questions. However, there are certain additional considerations because of the grid layout.

  • Reduce the number of columns or rows. Don’t give your respondents too many choices; five questions and replies are plenty.
  • Include a “no opinion” or “neutral” answer option so respondents can skip questions about topics with which they are unfamiliar.
  • The questions should not be brief. Long questions in the table style make the survey less user-friendly for respondents.
  • Classify ideas as much as possible. Keep the questions that are specifically about brand perception, for instance.
  • As with any closed-ended scaling question type, it is important to maintain the order of the scaling answer choices.

Examples of Effective Matrix Questions

  • Survey questions that ask respondents how frequently (rows) they engage in specific activities (columns).
  • A hotel asks guests how significant different amenities (columns) are to them.
  • A restaurant chain asks head chefs which vendors (columns) they believe are the greatest match for various menu items (rows).

Building a Questionnaire Matrix

Making a matrix survey is as easy as doing any other survey and inserting a matrix question wherever you like. There is no limit to the number of rows; twenty can be used as the maximum number of columns. To reduce participant fatigue, the recommended maximum number of rows and columns for a survey is twenty (20) and ten (10), respectively.

Only three (3) columns are shown above for the varying degrees of contentment. We advise using only a three- or five-point scale when assessing satisfaction levels. Longer surveys lead to more survey weariness, leading to less reliable results.

Additional question options:

Demand a response (continue only once it has been provided – each row must include at least one checkmark).

Include a column for “N/A” (which will be ignored when calculating the weighted average).

This question type can use display logic, so it will only appear if specific conditions have been met.


What is a Matrix question?

Matrix questions are a set of multiple-choice questions laid out in a grid. The questions are presented to the respondents in the rows, while the answer options are shown in the columns. Answers are frequently offered on a sliding scale.

When are Matrix questions necessary?

When a sliding scale is involved, a matrix question is the most effective way to ask multiple questions on a single concept.  They are versatile enough to serve as a stand-alone survey or a representative sample of a larger survey’s question pool.

Which surveys and contextual questions benefit most from the use of Matrix questions?

Use a matrix question if you have a succession of questions with the same predetermined answers. These are convenient for rating-scale inquiries, surveys gauging customer satisfaction, and questions of a specific section of a broader questionnaire.

Is a matrix question similar to a Likert scale inquiry?

It’s the other way around. A Likert Scale inquiry is a matrix question that uses a linear system to gauge respondent sentiment. A Likert Scale can be used to evaluate user opinions by collecting 5- or 7-point responses.

What are the two types of Matrix questions?

Single- or multiple-choice matrix questions are both possible. This means selecting many answers in a single row or a single response in each row. These could be used in surveys designed to assess the competitive landscape to determine how well one product or brand is doing relative to others in the market.