Matrix questions are a type of survey question that allows respondents to answer multiple statements using rates in rows and columns. For example, rather than asking “Would you like some fries with that?” 

Your survey might ask people the rate at which they would like fries with their hamburger. The questions can be used to collect information on specific content areas or on more general concepts.

In this article, we’ll cover the different types of matrix questions and when you should consider using them.

What Are Matrix Questions?

Matrix questions are a type of question that asks for a response on a scale, such as “agree” or “disagree.” They’re often used in surveys and focus groups, but they can be used in any kind of survey or questionnaire. They’re also called “hierarchical” questions because they ask respondents to answer within a hierarchy of options.

Matrix questions are great for when you want to know how people feel about an issue. You might use matrix questions when you’re trying to get feedback on whether people think something should be done or not, or if there should be a new policy in place. 

Matrix questions can also be helpful if you want to know what your users think about a product or service, especially if there are multiple options available. Matrix statements pose a series of statements about a topic and ask respondents to agree or disagree with each statement. 

For example, let’s say you wanted to know whether people agreed or disagreed with the statement “I feel lonely when I don’t have anyone I can talk to.” You could use matrix questions by posing them like this:

* Agree

* Disagree

This kind of question is useful because it helps you get more accurate information about your respondents’ preferences and interests.


Types of Matrix Questions 

There are two types of Matrix Questions: Single-Selection and Multiple-Selection.

  • Single-Selection Matrix Questions: These questions require the respondent to pick one answer from a list of options. They can be used when you want to gather data on a specific issue or problem in your survey, such as how many people have read a book about an issue or problem in your company. They are also good for gathering information about demographics, such as gender or age distribution since only one option needs to be selected from a list.
  • Multiple-Selection Matrix Questions: These questions require respondents to select more than one answer from a set of possible answers. You can use these questions when you want your respondents to choose between multiple options or if they want them to select more than one answer from a list. These types of questions are especially useful when you’re trying to understand how many different ways your respondents could solve problems or issues in their lives.


When To Use Matrix Questions

Matrix questions are useful in any situation where you want customer feedback on your product or service whether it’s an online survey or a customer satisfaction survey after they’ve purchased something from you. Most businesses use them to learn what customers think about products and services before they launch them into production; they’re also great at gathering data after an event or campaign has concluded so that you can adjust future campaigns based on what worked well.

Matrix questions are often used in surveys designed to gather information about customer satisfaction, usage frequency, need satisfaction levels, and more. Here’s how they work:

The respondent is asked a series of questions that include open-ended questions that require free responses (such as “What do you think is the most important thing about this product?”). Then, after answering those questions, you ask them some closed-ended questions for example: “If I could change one thing about this product, what would it be?” or “How would you rate the quality of this product on a scale from 1-10?”

After completing all of these steps, you have a comprehensive picture of how your customers feel about your products or services. Matrix questions can be used in surveys to get insight into how people see issues or concerns differently, or what they think would work best in a situation. 

For example, if you’re wondering whether your customers think that giving away free samples of your product is a good marketing strategy, then you might use a matrix question like “If we offered free samples of our product, would it make us more money?” “Strongly Agree” or “Strongly Disagree”


Examples of Matrix Questions

A matrix question is a question that asks for information about two or more items simultaneously. For example, if you were asking about what a client would prefer on a scale of 1-5, the cost of a new car vs. maintenance costs for an old car, this would be a matrix question because it asks about two different types of expenses at once. Your respondent will then tick what scale within the 1-5 is most preferable to them.

Another example is if you’re conducting a survey about workplace satisfaction, you could use the following matrix question:

If you were asked to rank these three options in order of preference (1 being most preferred), how would you rank them?


1) _______


2) _______


3) _______


Benefits of Matrix Questions

Matrix questions are typically used to measure the extent to which individuals agree with certain statements. For example, you might use them to measure whether or not people believe that the environment should be protected from pollution or whether they think it should be made more friendly for animals.

Here are some benefits of matrix questions:

  1. Matrix questions are a great tool for answering questions about your customer’s buying habits, preferences, and attitudes. 
  2. They’re also an excellent way to get a holistic view of how people use your product or service so you can see what parts are working well and what needs improvement.
  3. Matrix questions are easy to set up and administer you just have to make sure that your participants understand what you’re asking them. 
  4. They’re also relatively cheap to run.


Limitations of Matrix Questions

  1. Matrix questions aren’t very clear about what specific behaviors they’re measuring (if any). They require more time on the part of interviewers than other types of questionnaires or surveys, so it’s important that they be administered in a timely manner when needed.
  2. Some questions may require more than one answer choice so you can analyze different categories or behaviors in order to reach a deeper understanding of your users. Other times, you might want specific answers that aren’t necessarily relevant for all participants in the survey or across all possible scenarios (e.g., “What were some problems you encountered when trying to use this feature?”).


Matrix questions vs Likert Scale: Differences

Matrix questions and Likert scale questions both have their advantages and disadvantages, but it’s up to you to decide which type of question is right for your survey.

Matrix questions have the advantage of being more flexible than Likert scales. For example, they can be used to scale responses or as an indirect question, which means that people don’t necessarily have to answer with a yes/no response. 

This flexibility can be useful when you want respondents’ answers to be more nuanced than “right” or “wrong,” but still want them to give an answer at all.

Likert scale questions are also flexible, you can ask people what they think about something in different ways, like on a scale from 1-5 or yes/no—but they’re usually less flexible than matrix questions because they don’t allow for any kind of nuance or indirectness.


Best Practices For Writing a Good Matrix Question

When writing matrix questions, it’s important to keep in mind best practices for writing good ones: 

  1. Make sure each question has a clear intent.
  2. Provide enough space for people to respond.
  3. Use visuals whenever possible, and avoid being too long or wordy.
  4. Use numerical data if possible as numbers are easier for people to understand than words alone.
  5. Be precise. Give respondents enough information so they know exactly what you’re asking them about.


Matrix questions are a great way to get your respondents to think about their answers in a way that’s more focused on the data than on their own biases. Matrix questions also have the potential to help you communicate more effectively, which will ultimately lead to better work.

So if it matches your research needs, go for it.

  • Olayemi Jemimah Aransiola
  • on 7 min read


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