Design of web questionnaires: The effects of the number of items per screen

Vera Toepoel*, Marcel Das, Arthur Van Soest

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


This article analyzes the effects of an experimental manipulation of the number of items per screen in a Web survey with forty questions aimed at measuring arousal. The authors consider effects on survey answers, item nonresponse, interview length, and the respondents' evaluation of several aspects of the survey (such as layout). Four different formats are used, with one, four, ten, and forty items and headers on a screen. The authors find no effect of format on the arousal index, but nonresponse increases with the number of items appearing on a single screen. Having multiple items on a screen shortens the duration of the interview but negatively influences the respondent's evaluation of the questionnaire layout. Grouping effects are generally similar for different demographic groups, though there are some differences in magnitude and significance level.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)200-213
Number of pages14
JournalField Methods
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 18 Jun 2009


  • Measurement error
  • Nonresponse
  • Questionnaire design
  • Scrollable versus multiple screen
  • Web survey


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