Using an Other Text Box in Online Surveys

Although some questions will have a straightforward set of answers, you can’t always predict every available option. This is where using an ‘Other’ text box comes in handy.

What is an ‘Other’ text box?

The ‘other’ text box, or comment field, allows respondents to enter a unique answer when your list doesn’t apply to them.

They will often contain the text: “Other (Please Specify)”.


  • Save space when there are too many possible answers to include.
  • Avoid creating a bias in your survey by forcing respondents to select an answer.
  • Highlights responses you may not have predicted.
  • Provides you with more information to discuss in your results report.


  • They take more time to analyze than multiple choice answers.
  • Their use can decrease the statistical significance of the responses.
  • There’s a risk that respondents will abuse the other answer option by giving irrelevant answers.

Note: The answer list you provide respondents should not be any less exhaustive just because you’ve used a comment field

Test your survey on a sample audience to find out if you need to provide a comment field beneath your answers.

With Shout, you can use other answer options with the following question types:

  • Multi-Choice (Single Select)
  • Multi-Choice (Multi-Select)
  • Drop Down List
  • Matrix (Common Scale)
  • Picture Choice (Single Select)
  • Picture Choice (Multi-Select)