How to elicit longer responses in an open ended survey item?

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    Hi,

     

    So we recently piloted a survey made mostly of likert scale items. We have 1 open ended question, and we’d like to ask participants, but it seems that our pilot participants didn’t make much use of the space avaiable.

     

    The question we asked is, “What does respect mean to you? Please write your response in the blank to the right. (Feel free to use as much space as you need)”

     

    Some students just responded along the lines of  “Treating others the way you want to be treated” which is fine, but we’d like them to explain that.

     

    Would something like  “What does respect mean to you? And why does it mean this to you?” elicit a more thoughtful response? or maybe including a note that asks them to write a specific number of sentences? I’d appreciate any thoughts on this.

     

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