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#630921 - Thu Jun 02 2011 01:12 AM Question Order
FatherSteve Offline

Registered: Wed Jul 14 2010
Posts: 20
Loc: Mukilteo, WashingtonUSA...
Do you think the order in which you ask your questions matters? Or do you simply upload them in the order in which they are written? If you think question order is important, what guides your choices in how you arrange the questions in your quizzes?

#630927 - Thu Jun 02 2011 01:27 AM Re: Question Order
looney_tunes Online   content
Forum Champion

Registered: Tue Jan 20 2009
Posts: 5403
Loc: Briar Hill Victoria Australia
I think order definitely matters most of the time. That's one of the reasons why I write a quiz in Word,so I can change my mind about the order as I go, if it is necessary. Sometimes there is a logical order,such as asking questions about a book, movie or TV show episode in the order in which they are encountered, so that the extra information can provide the framework of the original structure of events and ideas. A quiz with an historical framework similarly seems right to me if the questions are in historical order. Quizzes that visit a number of different countries I try to place in a roughly continuous flow around the globe.

But there are also quizzes that simply have ten questions around a theme, with no reason based on their subject matter for a particular order. When that happens, I try to make the first and last among the easiest or most amusing questions (or, for a photo quiz, the ones with the most stunning or intriguing images), to have players start and finish on a positive note. Any that I suspect will be more obscure or difficult I spread somewhere in the middle.
(Editor in Humanities, Religion, Literature and Books For Children)
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#630942 - Thu Jun 02 2011 02:09 AM Re: Question Order
rossian Offline

Registered: Sat Jun 10 2006
Posts: 3386
Loc: Merseyside UK
I agree that question order can make a real difference to a quiz. I still use paper and pen initially for my quizzes - jotting down ideas for questions, then sorting them into the order they should be asked. I make sure that questions of the same type are not next to each other, e.g. if the answer is a person then the next answer might be the name of a film, or book.
Editor - Animals & Sci/Tech

#630944 - Thu Jun 02 2011 02:10 AM Re: Question Order
malik24 Offline

Registered: Fri Sep 14 2007
Posts: 347
Loc: Somerset UK
I think order and structure do matter. I'm no master on this, but my best rated quiz is the one I consider to be 'well structured'. Having either the most interesting and/or the less difficult questions to start and finish with seems like a good idea, in quizzes without natural structure. Good old primacy/recency effect...
Actually, having another look at my quizzes and their structure/% corrects has been interesting. Actively thinking about this might have helped me out too, so thanks for making the thread.

#630947 - Thu Jun 02 2011 02:21 AM Re: Question Order
mehaul Offline
Forum Champion

Registered: Wed Feb 03 2010
Posts: 6516
Loc: Florida USA
Rule #1: The Answers should definitely follow the Questions. Elsewise, you're playing Jeopardy.
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The ultimate activity is the Dream.

#630972 - Thu Jun 02 2011 06:21 AM Re: Question Order
Snowman Offline

Registered: Wed Oct 31 2007
Posts: 1613
Loc: London EnglandUK
I try to have a narrative thread wherever possible (and however oblique). Sometimes chronology dictates the order but usually I will take care over the order so that there is some sort of natural progression from one question to the next.

Like LT, I also try to start and end quizzes with questions that are either not too tough or have an amusing element to them so that players end with a smile on their face.

#630984 - Thu Jun 02 2011 07:37 AM Re: Question Order
agony Offline


Registered: Sat Mar 29 2003
Posts: 14801
Loc: Western Canada
As an editor, I always advise authors never to end a quiz with a picky date or number question. Actually, I advise them not to use those questions at all, but if they feel they have to have them, don't let them be the last thing your player sees before he/she rates the quiz.

#631019 - Thu Jun 02 2011 10:50 AM Re: Question Order
Bruyere Offline
Star Poster

Registered: Sat Feb 10 2001
Posts: 18792
Loc: California USA
We have an author who goes by the handle of Quizzical I think...who writes the best crescendo of questions and ends with the one that's the most challenging. I used to love to take his quizzes for this reason. His word games were a work of art. He has a series of geography based questions that go up in difficulty level as you answer them. You'll have Canada as an answer in the first one, then by the time you've finished, it's some country you've never really figured out the location.

I usually write to a certain level, put in a clincher question that's challenging somewhere near the end, and that's it. If you put in a clincher at the beginning, you'd scare folks off! The ultimate goal is that even when your question is challenging, it isn't a trick question at all but one that the person will say, 'You learn something every day.'

I have one about which of the following composer's fathers was not a barber surgeon for an example. Or which one was not born in Vienna. Most people wouldn't hold those against me if they got them wrong as they're fair.

I do feel it's nice to have a certain rhythm in difficulty though.
I was born under a wandering star.

#631026 - Thu Jun 02 2011 11:27 AM Re: Question Order
LadyCaitriona Offline
Forum Champion

Registered: Thu Feb 08 2001
Posts: 5985
Loc: Ottawa
Ontario Canada
It looks like I'm the odd one out here, not being overly concerned with question order. There are some quizzes for which question order makes a crucial difference and others that do just fine on the whim of the quiz author.

My highest-rated quiz was based almost entirely on whim, although the suspects being interviewed in each question follow the ABCs (Andrea Arson, Bertram Burgler, Lady Catherine Constantly-Conniving, Dennis Dishonest...). I didn't even really plan the location of each suspect's alibi, I just picked a city at random to write about.
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#631029 - Thu Jun 02 2011 11:36 AM Re: Question Order
JanIQ Offline

Registered: Thu Jul 09 2009
Posts: 831
Loc: Antwerp
I usually spend some time thinking about the order of my questions. In quizzes where it is not quite obvious, I tend to alternate the answer category. For example: in my quizzes on classical music, I might ask for the composer in question 1, for the title in question 2, and for something about the story in question 3.
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#631032 - Thu Jun 02 2011 12:30 PM Re: Question Order
skunkee Offline
Star Poster

Registered: Thu Oct 16 2003
Posts: 10534
Loc: Burlington OntarioCanada
I think when you're doing a quiz on a movie, order of questions matters. I find reliving the flow of the movie through the chronology of questions fun and helpful in answering. This doesn't have to be nitpickingly in order, but I find quizzes, about movies, that have a complete randomness of question order not as enjoyable.
What's always interesting is if someone writes 8 questions in chronological order, then runs out of ideas so tacks questions about the beginning of the movie at the end of the quiz. Quizzes like this would be so much better if the writers would take the time to re-order the questions.
Editor: Movies/Celebrities/Crosswords

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#631038 - Thu Jun 02 2011 01:40 PM Re: Question Order
James25 Offline
Forum Adept

Registered: Fri Sep 17 2010
Posts: 104
Loc: The Netherlands
I think it depends on the quiz really. I have written some geography quizzes and in those quizzes the character was going to different locations. Upon reading back I discovered that the path used was quite unlogical. For my latest geography quiz involving pirates from the Caribbean travelling to other world seas, I specifically made their journey a logical one going from one sea to another in a sequence.

#631044 - Thu Jun 02 2011 02:10 PM Re: Question Order
Tizzabelle Offline

Registered: Sun Jan 17 2010
Posts: 2507
Loc: Sydney NSWAustralia
I love movie quizzes, song lyrics, book quizzes, history etc to be in order. It makes more sense to me. Alphabetical quizzes only makes sense to my poor brain if they're in alphabetical order. For most other quizzes I prefer to have the questions progress from easier to harder but it's not really an issue, just a preference. Like James 25 I prefer some order in Geography quizzes but then my last Geo quiz didn't work that way. I decided to write it from easier to harder so a logical trip around Australia from one area to the other wasn't going to work. I suppose it's a matter of working out what works for each quiz. There is one thing I really don't like though. I really dislike going from FITB to Multiple choice and back again over and over in the quiz. That's probably just a personal thing with me and my brain but I like having questions with a similar format lumped together. Other players most likely don't have a problem with that or even prefer formats mixed up. To each their own. smile
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#631046 - Thu Jun 02 2011 02:21 PM Re: Question Order
guitargoddess Offline

Registered: Mon Jul 09 2007
Posts: 39271
Loc: Ottawa OntarioCanada
I'm like a lot of the above posters, if it's a quiz on something that has a logical flow like a movie or TV episode, then I (mostly) write the questions in the order that they occur in the movie or episode (or whatever else). The other thing I can think of that I do is in Thematic Fun quizzes (or other such quizzes with a common theme running throughout) is to try to vary the order of the types of questions so that there's not three Movies type questions back-to-back and then three Literature, the two Sci/Tech, etc.
Editor: Television and Animals

#631209 - Fri Jun 03 2011 12:07 AM Re: Question Order
FatherSteve Offline

Registered: Wed Jul 14 2010
Posts: 20
Loc: Mukilteo, WashingtonUSA...
Thank you for the many, varied, interesting and helpful responses to my little question.

I'm probably overthinking this (which is a defect of personality to which I am prey), but I tend to use two maxims in ordering the questions in a ten-question quiz:

1. The first and the last questions should be relatively easy and, if possible, contain a bit of humour. [This is pretty much what Looney Tunes, Snowman and Malik24 said.]

2. Really difficult questions should be in fourth and eighth place.

It is not that I always follow these maxims in ordering my questions, but, as a general rule, they hover somewhere over the process as I'm getting ready to lob a quiz up to the editors.

I picked up some new ideas about question order from reading all of your responses and I am grateful.

#631322 - Fri Jun 03 2011 04:04 PM Re: Question Order
reeshy Offline

Registered: Tue Aug 11 2009
Posts: 741
Loc: Glasgow ScotlandUK
Although the original poster has already read the responses, I thought I'd make a quick post too to say I pretty much agree with most of the others. If a quiz is on a subject with significant chronology (book, movie) I order it as such. Otherwise I'm not too fussed. I usually work through my source material (mostly my lecture notes) from start to end, so I tend to come up with a general sense of order for some of my science quizzes too. One thing I do pay particular attention to is putting in FITB or True/False questions - I try to separate them out nicely, and seem to be fond of putting FITBs in Q3 and Q7. smile

#631507 - Sat Jun 04 2011 11:35 AM Re: Question Order
shuehorn Offline

Registered: Tue Jul 04 2006
Posts: 3613
Loc: Lawrenceville Georgia�USA�...
Thanks for mentioning that it is a good idea to put the cleverest, funniest or most enjoyable questions at the beginning and end of the quiz, all other considerations being equal. It is common sense, but sometimes when you are using the template, you don't think of specific positions for questions.
Sue (shuehorn)


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