Have you ever created a survey with questions designed to subtly nudge a recipient in one direction or another? Or, have you ever taken a survey and felt boxed in by one of the questions? Chances are, you were crafting, or responding to, a leading question. In this blog, we’ll look at five types of leading questions with examples, why you should avoid them on surveys, and how they’re different from loaded questions.
Create your survey, poll, or questionnaire now!
What is a Leading Question?
A leading question does just what it says: It “leads” respondents toward the answer the survey-taker wants them to choose. For example, if a company wants a prospective client to sign a contract, a question may ask, “When would you like to get started?” This question doesn’t ask them if they want to get started, but prompts them to state when they will get started. It presupposes that they want to come on board. While this can be beneficial for the company, it puts the client in an unfair position.
5 Types of Leading Questions with Examples
Assumption-based Leading Questions
These types of questions operate on preconceived notions that the survey creator holds. Feedback surveys commonly use them when a researcher wants to evaluate respondents’ feedback regarding a product, service, or process. Of course, they can apply to other types of surveys as well. For example, a question may ask, “How much did you enjoy our services?” This question assumes that the respondent enjoyed the services provided, and only asks to what level of enjoyment they received. It does not allow them to state that they did not enjoy the services.
Other examples of questions that are based on assumptions:
- How satisfied are you with our product?
- Which of our product features did you find most useful?
- How bad do you think the President’s new policies are?
Leading Questions with Interconnected Statements
This type of question combines two closely related statements. Often, it will begin with a statement designed to put bias into a respondents’ head, and then follow up with a question hoping that they will agree with the aforementioned statement. Leading questions with interconnected statements are often used in employee feedback surveys designed to create new policies, and the survey creator wants to sway the decision in one way or another. For example, say a company wants to get rid of its work from home policy. A leading question with interconnected statements may be, “Many employees like coming to the office versus working from home. What do you think about this?” As you can see, the statement aims to persuade the employee to agree with it by highlighting how others feel first before posing the question.
Other examples of questions with interconnected statements:
- Many employees dislike wearing masks to work. How do you feel about this?
- Most students think virtual learning isn’t working. Do you agree?
- A lot of Americans support stricter gun laws. Do you feel the same way?
Direct Implication Leading Questions
This type of leading question is designed to get respondents to consider results that would eventually happen if something else happens. In other words, they ask respondents to consider the results of their possible reaction to something. These types of questions are often used for experienced-based surveys. For example, a restaurant may ask, “If you liked your meal, would you come back again soon?” As you can see, it asks them a question based on an implication (that they will like their meal).
Other examples of direct implication questions:
- If you found this conference beneficial, would you return next year?
- Do you think if you feel our services are top-notch, you contact us again?
- If you enjoyed this movie, would you recommend it to friends?
Scale-based Leading Questions
This type of question is leading because it uses an unfairly marked scale to tip it in the researcher’s favor. So, the scale is weighted with the positive responses outnumbering the negatives. By providing more options on the satisfied side, the question is biased and leads participants in that direction. Scale-based leading questions can appear on just about any type of survey.
An example of a scale-based question with more positives than negatives would be:
- How satisfied were you with our services?
- Extremely satisfied
- Somewhat satisfied
- Somewhat dissatisfied
Coercive Leading Questions
This type of question forces respondents to provide a specific answer, usually in the affirmative. Unlike other types of leading questions that are subtle, coercive leading questions are aggressive. This type of leading question can often be found in customer satisfaction surveys and website evaluation surveys and is a huge source of survey bias. These questions, also referred to as leading questions with tags due to their structure, pose a statement and then a question (often with a negative element, such as “won’t you?”).
Examples of coercive questions:
- Our product satisfactorily met your needs, didn’t it?
- You’ll get vaccinated when the time comes, won’t you?
- You’ll highlight your positive experience on social media, right?
Why You Should Avoid Leading Questions on Surveys
Some researchers and survey creators unintentionally use leading questions; hopefully, this helps you to better understand their characteristics so you can avoid them on your surveys. Of course, some people use these questions intentionally, arguing that they are beneficial because they are:
- Focused. They help to suit the immediate objectives of their survey.
- Efficient. They help achieve predetermined responses, simplifying data analysis.
- Specific. They help avoid vague and ambiguous questioning.
While this may be true, leading questions are a big source of survey bias. By trying to achieve predetermined results, framing questions in a way that evades neutrality and cajoles the respondent into an answer that may not be entirely true, the survey results become skewed. This means the survey, while it may say what you want it to say, is not valid. In addition, leading questions often lead to false feedback. What is the purpose of soliciting feedback, if you can’t learn and improve from it? Gathering untrue impressions will, in the long run, hurt the organization, not help it.
Leading vs Loaded Questions
There is a distinct difference between leading questions and loaded questions. While a leading question prompts someone toward an answer, a loaded question is a trick question. No matter how a respondent answers, they’re saying something that they may not agree with. You can see in these examples how loaded questions are different from leading questions:
Examples of loaded questions:
- Will you continue to support our amazing company?
- Even if the respondent replied “no,” they’re still stating that the company is amazing.
- Do you think this criminal should be convicted?
- Again, even if the respondent replies “no,” they’re still stating the person is a criminal.
- Have you stopped abusing your dog?
- If the respondent says “no,” they’re stating they still abuse their dog; if they say “yes,” they’re stating that they used to. So, if the respondent never has abused their dog, it’s a lose-lose scenario.
- Are you naive enough to believe the mainstream media, or do you just not care about the truth?
- This loaded question is framed in a way that if the respondent disagrees with one of the two included clauses, it inadvertently suggests that they agree with the other one. It’s loaded because it assumes that these are the only two reasons why a person might believe the mainstream media (they’re naive or they don’t care about the truth).
For more examples of loaded questions, we suggest checking out Effectiviology.
Leading questions are intentionally or unintentionally framed queries that prompt a respondent to answer in a particular way. So, while these types of questions may result in respondents answering in the way the survey creator had hoped, it results in survey bias which impacts the validity of the survey. Therefore, you should avoid them in order to conduct a clean and accurate survey. Armed with this information, are you ready to create your next survey, free from leading (and loaded) questions? Start now with SurveyLegend! Our surveys beautifully render, are highly secure, and completely responsive. And, it’s free to start, sign up today!
Have you used leading questions on surveys in the past? Did they skew your data? Do you have any other great examples of leading questions? Let us know in the comments!
Create your survey, poll, or questionnaire now!
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What is a leading question?
A leading question may be intentional or unintentional on the part of the survey creator. Ultimately, it results in prompting the respondent to answer in one way or another, often to the benefit of the person performing the survey.
What is a loaded question?
Unlike a leading question that persuades someone to answer one way or another, a loaded question is a “trick question” in which no matter the way someone responds, they’re siding with the person asking the question or incriminating themselves.
What are the five types of leading questions?
Assumption-based, interconnected statement, direct implication, scale-based, or coercive.
Are leading questions considered bad?
Yes. Leading questions introduce bias into surveys, often resulting in inaccurate responses which skew data and lead to an invalid survey.
What is an example of leading or loaded questions? ›
A loaded question is a trick question, which presupposes at least one unverified assumption that the person being questioned is likely to disagree with. For example, the question “have you stopped mistreating your pet?” is a loaded question, because it presupposes that you have been mistreating your pet.How do leading questions differ from loaded questions? ›
Leading vs Loaded Questions
While a leading question prompts someone toward an answer, a loaded question is a trick question. No matter how a respondent answers, they're saying something that they may not agree with.
A leading question suggests a particular answer that the questioner desires – most often a simple 'yes' or 'no' answer. ∎ “Were you in Los Angeles last week?” ∎ You were in Los Angeles last week, weren't you? ∎ You didn't see the stop sign, did you?Which of the following are examples of loaded questions? ›
An example of a loaded question is "Have you finally stopped cheating on exams?" The question implies that the respondent has cheated in the past. If the respondent answers yes, she agrees that she cheated in the past. If she answers no, then she is saying that she is still cheating.What is an example of leading by example? ›
For example, a leader can be leading by example by accompanying the marketing team on a field visit to popularize the company's products. The leader should pitch clients the same way the marketing staff is doing, and this will boost the overall morale of the team.What is the leading example? ›
What is leading by example? Leading by example is a leadership style where you model the behavior you want to see in your team members. When you lead by example, you don't just push team members towards excellence—rather, you actively demonstrate that excellence.What is a loaded question? ›
A loaded question is a form of complex question that contains a controversial assumption (e.g., a presumption of guilt). Such questions may be used as a rhetorical tool: the question attempts to limit direct replies to be those that serve the questioner's agenda.What is an example of leading question in court? ›
In other words, the lawyer leads the witness to say what the lawyer wants the witness to say. Leading questions are appropriate during cross examination, but not during direct. Example: -‐ After you went into the house, you saw the child on the couch? -‐ Were the lights on? -‐ Was the house filthy?What is an example of a leading question in psychology? ›
Leading questions are questions that are worded to suggest a particular answer. For example, if you say 'did you see the broken glass? ' it implies that there was broken glass and therefore the witness is more likely to say 'yes'.What is an example of a leading question quizlet? ›
Example: The question "Didn't you start the fire at 10:00?" suggests when the person being questioned started the fire. In contrast, the question "When did you start the fire?" does not suggest the answer. A leading question is permitted on direct examination when it is necessary to develop the witness's testimony.
What are examples of leading questions in nursing? ›
A leading question is a question that assumes the answer, for example, You didn't finish the course of antibiotics I prescribed, did you? rather than Did you finish the course of antibiotics I prescribed?What are leading and non leading questions examples? ›
Leading question: Did you tell the kitchen staff or the nursing staff? Non-leading question: Did you tell anyone your concern? Leading question: Were you mad or angry? Non-leading question: How did you feel?What are the five types of questions give examples? ›
- Closed questions. Closed questions have two possible answers depending on how you phrase it: “yes” or “no” or “true” or “false.” ...
- Open questions. ...
- Funnel questions. ...
- Leading questions. ...
- Recall and process questions. ...
- Rhetorical questions. ...
- Divergent questions. ...
- Probing questions.
For example, using words like healthy or safe cause a positive reaction from most people, but germs or caution might cause a negative reaction. We call words like this loaded words because they are loaded with the potential to generate emotions or feelings.What are leading questions in an interview? ›
A leading question is one that suggests or tends to suggest its own answer. It often assumes a fact that has not yet been established. It sometimes calls for a 'yes' or 'no' response. Leading questions should not be used when interviewing children.
- Create an environment of leadership. At all levels. ...
- Make the team feel safe. Management and leadership are different disciplines. ...
- Actively manage through adaptive change. This is critical in combat as in business. ...
- Be a servant to your team. ...
- Always eat last.
PGC founder Dick Devenzio famously said, “If the only way you lead is by example, then you're a very poor leader.” It's one thing to lead yourself, but it's another lead other individuals. True leaders make sure everyone has the right mindset, work ethic, and is pulling in the same direction.Why is leading by example important? ›
When you lead by example, you create a picture of what's possible. People can look at you and say, "Well, if he can do it, I can do it." When you lead by example, you make it easy for others to follow you.What are the different types of leading? ›
- Democratic Leadership. A democratic leader makes decisions based on their team's opinion and feedback. ...
- Autocratic Leadership. ...
- Laissez-faire Leadership. ...
- Strategic Leadership. ...
- Transformational Leadership. ...
- Transactional Leadership. ...
- Coach-Style Leadership. ...
- Bureaucratic Leadership.
1) Leadership is the great quality of a human being. 2) Whoever possesses it; is fortunate and touches the heights of success in life. 3) A leader guides people, gives them the right path and motivates them to always move forward in life. 4) A good leader is a good speaker as well as a good listener.
What is types of leading? ›
Lewin identified three styles of leadership: Autocratic, Democratic, and Laissez-faire. Over time, more leadership styles have emerged, and one that is commonly grouped in with Lewin's three is Transformational Leadership.How do you get loaded questions? ›
Loaded Question is earned from Zavala, with players progressing the quest by completing objectives in strikes or Nightfall playlists. Loaded Question is probably the weakest of the three pinnacle weapons newly added to Destiny 2, but like the others, it offers a unique perk that isn't seen on other fusion rifles.What are the rules to loaded questions? ›
- Pick the top card and read aloud the question (or Party Foul/ Favor) matching the colored space you're on. ...
- All other players (not you) secretly write their personal answer to the question on their answer sheet. ...
- All answers are collected, shuffled, and read aloud by the player to your right.
Dan feeds him a lot of unhealthy food and Tim is at the risk of developing Type-2 diabetes. Loaded: Dan keeps feeding his son trash. He should stop. In this above example, “trash” was the loaded term for “unhealthy food.” Also notice in the “loaded” example that no justification was given.
Leading questions in law are questions asked by an attorney, to a witness, with the goal of "putting words in the mouth of the witness," to achieve a desired response or result.How do you avoid leading questions examples? ›
Keep questions clear and simple, don't lead the respondent to a specific answer, provide all options to a question or offer Other and make your survey easy to answer. To help remove biases from leading questions, you could ask someone who has more distance from the topic to review your survey.What are the two types of leading questions? ›
- Leading questions based on an assumption: Asking questions on the basis of an assumption. ...
- Leading Questions based on interlinked statements: Ask questions that have two closely connected statements.
Leading questions as the name indicates leads the answerer to a particular answer. They are usually answered with a yes or no. Leading questions allow you to control what the witness talks about and often helps you get the witness to give a specific answer.What is a closed leading question? ›
A closed question usually receives a single word or very short, factual answer. For example, "Are you thirsty?" The answer is "Yes" or "No"; "Where do you live?" The answer is generally the name of your town or your address.How does a nurse lead by example? ›
You could be a leader for example by raising concerns about staffing levels, by acting as a role model, or by taking forward an idea about how to improve patient care.
Is a yes or no question a leading question? ›
Black's defines a leading question as “[a] question that suggests the answer to the person being interrogated; esp., a question that may be answered by a mere 'yes' or 'no.What is an open and non leading question? ›
A leading question is a type of question that implies or contains its own answer. It subtly prompts the respondent to answer in a particular way. They are undesirable as they can result in false or slanted information. The non-leading question allows the respondent to answer with a range of answers.What are the 5 big questions? ›
- Origin – Where did I come from? ...
- Identity – Who am I? ...
- Purpose – Why am I here? ...
- Morality – How should we live? ...
- Destiny – Where are we going?
The 5 W questions, also known as the 'wh' questions, are considered the 5 basic questions that are asked to learn about a person, event, or text.What are loaded sentences? ›
Loaded words and phrases have significant emotional implications and involve strongly positive or negative reactions beyond their literal meaning.What is a meaning loaded sentence? ›
(loʊdɪd ) adjective. A loaded question or word has more meaning or purpose than it appears to have, because the person who uses it hopes it will cause people to respond in a particular way.What is the main purpose of loaded words? ›
Loaded words are words people use to try and persuade, manipulate, and convince a person of something. They might come from an orator, trying to convince an audience of the righteousness of a particular political or social position, or be found on posters spouting propagandist ideologies.What is considered a loaded question? ›
A loaded question is a form of complex question that contains a controversial assumption (e.g., a presumption of guilt). Such questions may be used as a rhetorical tool: the question attempts to limit direct replies to be those that serve the questioner's agenda.What is an example of a leading question Counselling? ›
Leading questions are another specific form of closed questions. In this case, the answer is contained in the question. For example, you might say, “You are going to sort out this conflict issue, aren't you?.” Leading questions are not true questions, because the coachee knows the answer you want to hear.What are the 4 types of questions? ›
- General or Yes/No Questions.
- Special or Wh-Questions.
- Choice Questions.
- Disjunctive or Tag Questions.
What does loaded answer mean? ›
(loʊdɪd ) adjective. A loaded question or word has more meaning or purpose than it appears to have, because the person who uses it hopes it will cause people to respond in a particular way. That's a loaded question. Synonyms: tricky, charged, sensitive, delicate More Synonyms of loaded.What are the 5 types of questions? ›
There are five basic types of questions: factual, convergent, divergent, evaluative and combination.