In our previous post, we looked at the best practices in MS Teams and how to encourage engagement within the digital space and when live-teaching. This week, we turn our attention to MS Forms as a teaching tool. This can be used for creating Quizzes, Surveys, questionnaires in research and evaluations for feedback. Here, we also want to provide another suggestion of where MS Forms could be used.

Let’s get started!

What is MS Forms?

MS Forms are a Microsoft product / App where you can create a form. This could be a poll, survey or quiz. It’s then possible to people (students, clients, etc.) to respond to your form. It can be used on almost any web browser or mobile device. As the MS Form creator, you can see results in real-time as they are submitted. This allows you to use the built-in analytics to assess the responses. These results can be exported to Excel for further analysis.

What’s the difference of a quiz and survey?

Essentially, these have the same question make-up. Quizzes have points applied to questions, whereas surveys do not. Quizzes are used for assessment purposes and this can be formative, i.e., zero graded such as a class test to gauge understanding, or summative such as an end of module time-limited exam.

What question types are available?

Like all quizzes, MS Forms offer a number of question types to include:

  • Multiple Choice Questions (MCQs)
  • Multiple Response
  • Text
  • Rating **
  • Date **
  • Ranking **
  • Likert **
  • File Upload
  • Net Promoter Score® **

Whilst all questions can be used in surveys for information gathering, anything on the list above marked ** are less used in quizzes for assessment purposes as these questions are used more to gather opinion and measure data.


When writing multiple choice questions, the question is the stem. The answers should have ONE definite correct response and several plausible correct responses. Also make answers of the same or similar length. Studies show answers which are much longer are typically the correct answer.

Always ask direct questions with MCQs and provide. Avoid creating obvious distracter answers. Distracters should be well-written and plausible answers. This is one of the biggest challenges when writing questions.

Example of Multiple Choice - Credit: Nguyen Dang Hoang Nhu
Example of Multiple Choice – Credit: Nguyen Dang Hoang Nhu

Advantages of MCQs include:

  • Quick and easy to mark (automated)
  • Reduces some burden of large class sizes
  • Can assess knowledge, understanding, application, analysis, synthesis, and evaluation (Bloom’s Taxonomy)
  • As a diagnostic tool, it’s helpful as incorrect choices indicate weaknesses and
  • This is a familiar question format for students

Of course, there are disadvantages:

  • Time-consuming to write quality questions
  • Questions may be ambiguous to students
  • Students are encouraged to find correct answers by the process of elimination
  • Students can guess an answer
  • It’s not the best question type for all disciplines or course objectives
Multiple Response questions

When giving answers for multiple response questions, avoid answers with ‘all of the above’ or ‘none of the above’. These are text-book go-to answers and don’t test student knowledge. It’s good practice to state how many answers respondents are to select.

If there are many multiple response questions in a quiz, stick to a consistent format. For example, five answer options throughout. Some quizzing platforms may use negative marking and this is something to consider. MS Forms allows for points to be added and with both MCQs and multiple response answers, answers can be shuffled to change the answer sequence. This can be helpful in a test scenario.

When giving feedback on MCQs / multiple response questions, give specific feedback for incorrect answers. Feedback is often given after quizzes to help students in their learning. Also, to assess higher-level thinking, use scenario based questions. A scenario based question can really be any question type.

Text questions

With this question type, respondents enter their own answers. This could be a simple ‘fill in the blank’ question or for longer text questions. Longer answers are better for learners to convey knowledge and understanding without suggested answers being given. It requires learners to know the correct answer(s).

Questions for ‘filling in the blanks’, do allow for typing errors, spelling variants and abbreviations that respondents may use. Add as many variations as answers for automatic marking. Realistically, when it comes to marking text based answers, this should be checked by a person and long answers should not be marked by a computer.

Long text questions can be used both in quizzes to assess knowledge and in research to gather qualitative data.


If respondents are asked rating questions, these can measure how likely a respondent has liked a product or service and/or how likely the respondent is to recommend the product / service to others.

An example question would be: How likely are you to recommend this product to family or friends with 0 being not likely to recommend the product and 10 being very likely to recommend the product. Sometimes the rating question can use stars, such as rating questions seen on TripAdvisor, Amazon and other review web sites.

Star ratings - Credit: Obi Onyeador
Star ratings – Credit: Obi Onyeador

Used in research, this question type can be used to find out dates of birth, when vaccinations were received, when people travelled to and from a destination, when an employee started / ended work, etc. The date format question (or calendar question) allows date information to be captured in a standardised format.

For example, if a study is being done across several countries and respondents type in the date as text, this could be day:month:year or month:day:year, etc. This can skew the data and render results less reliable. However, if date fields are labelled, this helps date information to be more accurate.

Date responses can be used for both qualitative and quantitative research methods.


This is where a number of items are listed and respondents rate the items from highest to lowest or most important to least important. This is used to gather opinion on products or services and is quantitative. An example rating question would be:

Put these services in order of what you consider to be most important with 1 being most important and 5 being least important:

  • Remuneration
  • Mentoring
  • Recognition
  • Career Opportunities
  • Professional Development

Likert scale formats are more suited to MS Form surveys or questionnaires. Here, respondents express opinion on statements using a five-point Likert scale (the five-point is default but more points can be added to the scale). Several statements can be grouped together where example responses are Strongly Agree, Agree, Not Sure, Disagree and Strongly Disagree. These are quantitative information gathering modules.

These question types are great for asking opinion on a range of topics as can be seen below:

Wikipedia - example Likert scale
Wikipedia – example Likert scale

Likert scales are great for gathering opinions, perceptions and behaviours of your audience on a product or service. Here, you will find some tips for creating Likert scales.

  1. Label the options. Numbered scales can be troublesome. Scales labelled 1 – 5 may confuse respondents as they may not know which end of the scale is positive or negative.
  2. Stick with odd numbers of scale options. Scales using an odd number of values are better as they have a midpoint. Research indicates respondents have difficulty defining their opinion on scales with more than than seven values. This can lead to randomised answering which makes captured data meaningless.
  3. Keep it consistent. Scale options should be equally distanced apart. This can hard with word labels. Do consider how your words could be interpreted.
  4. Be inclusive. Scales should include the entire range of responses. If a question asks how quickly customers’ hot food takeaway was delivered and answers range from “very quick” to “quick”, respondents whose deliveries were slow won’t have an answer option to select.
  5. Logical questioning. Depending on how respondents answer a question, you may want more detail or skip to the next question. Build logic into your surveys / questionnaires to get feedback on how to improve a service if respondents select ‘unsatisfactory’ or ‘unhappy’ responses.
File upload

Surveys or questionnaires can use questions with file uploads for attachments. For example, an insurance company may ask about details of a car accident. Instead of respondents describing damage to a car, photos can be taken of the damage on the car as they provide the information visually and more accurately.

At University, MS Forms can be used with file uploads to get a snapshot of student work (before and after a period of time to gauge progress within a project) or for students assignment submissions. Other businesses may use the file upload option to gather CVs for a job vacancy, photos for identification (student cards), photography competition entries, etc.

Example upload icon
Example upload icon
Net promoter score

A net promoter score (recently added question type) is a customer’s willingness to recommend a product or service to others. The net promotor score is calculated as the difference between promoters and detractors.

From the viewpoint of a respondent, it looks like a simple rating option. Respondents who answer more positively in the rates are promoters, they get added to results. Detractors are respondents who rated lower options and whom would be less likely to promote a product or service, these are subtracted from the results.

If a survey was completed by 100 people, the results could look similar to this:

Net Promoter Score example results
Net Promoter Score example results
Setting up your MS Form

Ask for a new form. Decide if it’s a quiz or a survey.

MS Forms - form options (Quiz = quiz / New form = survey)
MS Forms – form options (Quiz = quiz / New form = survey)

Add in your questions. Think about what questions you are adding in and why. Are they appropriate for the responses you hope to get? Are the questions for assessment, surveys or research purposes? Do the questions flow from one to the next? Is there opportunity to skip questions or get more detail on a product or service?

MS Forms - some question formats
MS Forms – some question formats

Before sending out a quiz or survey, ask a colleague to complete it. This will test assessment questions, ensure the ‘right answers’ are correctly selected and whether the feedback makes sense. It’s important to test as quizzes and surveys cannot be amended once live. Staff can collaborate on the same MS Form to add / test questions and the look of the form can be customized to fit in with your organizations branding.

When the quiz / survey is ready, share the link via email or on a learning platform, etc. To do this, click Share, select who can respond and copy the link to wherever it needs to go.

MS Forms - sharing a quiz / survey link
MS Forms – sharing a quiz / survey link

A final note. The MS Forms you create can be duplicated or the same form can be reused in a different time period by downloading and saving the previous years data. For example, it might be you use MS Forms to:

  • gather student evaluations on your teaching of a module
  • gather information on IT issues on learner platforms
  • gather questions at the start of term to create an FAQ section
  • gather file submissions (i.e., portfolios)
  • gather responses to ideas and improving services
  • create polls to vote up items on agendas
  • create RSVPs to gather information on attendees or event registrations
  • capture information for incident reports
  • forms for information requests
  • MS Forms can replace a web language ‘contact us’ on websites
  • forms can be used for ordering goods (i.e., stationery)
  • they can be used in departments for requesting annual leave
  • businesses can use MS Forms in the hiring process
  • training or mentoring requests
  • arranging meetings or 1-2-1 sessions (i.e., clinics, interviews, etc.)
Next time

In our next blog post, we will be looking at the benefits of MS Bookings when it comes to setting up times for meetings, training and individual sessions.

Remember, the DigiKnow blog posts are released at noon on a Monday.

Please do join us then to learn more and don’t forget to follow us on Twitter: @MDBSelearn.


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