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What is the Best Questionnaire Format

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A questionnaire comprises of series of questions asked from the respondents in order to
investigate any phenomenon, situation, fact, or figures. Though its use is more common in
research studies and in statistics but sometimes questionnaire is used just to get fun answers.
The first questionnaire was first developed by Sir Francis Galton.
Questionnaire is basically one of the type of survey which is a method in primary research.
Questionnaire is one of the most commonly used method in survey. Since other two methods
that are interview and observation are rather difficult to conduct as compared to
questionnaire. Questionnaires can be conducted for any type of research study but their use is
common in social sciences, humanities and in management studies where one has to know
the opinion of people regarding any thing.

Source: Pick one

Source: Close-ended questionnaire

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http://www.sla.org/Documents/sla2009/2009GatherandAnalyzeData_SampleIAQuesti
onnaire.doc

http://www.samplequestionnaire.com/

Questionnaire Construction:
Questionnaire construction is a technical task and one has to take caution in designing
questions, number of questions, their sequence and their style of writing.
Question Types:
There are basically two types of questionnaire questions; i-e, open-ended questions and closeended questions. Both of these types have their own advantages and dis-advantages. Both do
not suit to a single situationa d their can be a study where open-ended questions will suit but
in another study only close-ended questions will yeild best data. In some studies both type of
questions can be used but their are problems associated with such a study which we will
discuss below.
Open-ended Questions:
Open-ended questions are those questions that do not have options or they do not have predefined answers from which respondent will choose. The respondent is given free choice to
write any response of their own choice. Open-ended questions are used in a situation where
the researcher is either unaware of the kind of responses respondents will choose from or else
the topic is so wide and the population is so diverse that their is chance that they will give
very diverse answers. Sometimes the questions need in-depth answers so researcher prefer to
use open-ended questions so that the respondents can give detailed answers. They have
sertain draw-backs and advantages.
Advantages:
Open-ended questions yeild in-depth information from the respondents.
Open-ended question make the respondent at ease by writing whatever they wanted to write.

Open-ended questions do not limit the respondents responmses.


Their are less chances of personal bias by the researcher in using open-ended questions.
In open-ended questions the verdict of the respondent get very clear.
The real views of the respondent are portrayed in open-ended questions.
Dis-advantages:
Regardless of many advantages sometimes it becomnes difficult to use open-ended questions
and does not suit in some situations.
Open-ended questions yeild a data so in-deptjh that its analysis becomes difficult.
Most of the researchers prefer to use close-ended questions because in open-ended questions
respondents give responses which has nothing to do with the research objectives.
Sometimes respondents also find it difficult to write from their own mind and they like
questions in which they just have to choose an option rather than writing elaborate details.
Close-ended Questions:
Close-ended questions are more commonly used in questionnaires. Though in close-ended
questions their are pre-defined options from which respondent will choose but still it is most
adaptable method of questioning. In close-ended questions the respondent had to choose from
yes/no questions or multiple choice questions. Their are also pre-designed scales which many
researchers prefer to follow while designing a close-ended questionnaire.
Advantages:
There are several advantages of close-ended questions.
Close-ended questions are easier to fill by the respondents. Many times respondents feel that
it will take less time so they accept being part of the survey.
Close-ended questions get responses which are easy to analyze and interpret, therefore, most
of the researchers prefer this method over open-ended questionnaire.
Close-ended questions have pre-formulated options so the respondents do not give irrelevant
answers and thios is also one of the biggest advantage.
Dis-advantages:
Close-ended questions may at times confine the respondent to choose from the list of options
which may not reflect the real answer the respondent wish to give but in these cases usually
the researcher add an additional option of "other" or "anything else" in which the respondent
can write his/her own opinion other than what researcher has mentioned.
Question number:

Number of questions to be added in a questionnaire depends on various factors but one thing
is sure that a questionnaire that contain too many questions will not be very effective. Still it
depends on the type of study and the target population. A population that has low mental I.Q.
will face problems in answering too many questions but a questionnaire that has to be
submitted to an educated population will know that the questions should be answered in
proper manner.
Order of Questions:
The sequence of questions in the questionnaire should be logical and it should not be a
haphazard one. Some researcher do not think about the order of questions but when
respondents read the questionnaire they do get effected by it. So try to think from
respondent's point of view while writing questionnaire. Bold questions should be asked at the
end.
Other Considerations:

Check the spellings of the question statements before printing and submitting them to
the respondents. Misspelled words can mean something else to the reader.

Do not use offensive language in the questionnaire. If one question in the


questionnaire offends respondent than he will not answer the questions.

Sometimes consciously or unconsciously we write question statements that carry


double-meanings such questions will not get right responses.

If their are any difficult terms in the questionnaire than do explain them otherwise the
respondents will either do not give answers to such questions or else skip it.

Write too the point question statements.

Avoid unnecessary questions a long questionnaire will cause respondents to get bore
and they may even not fill it.

Know the academic and mental capacities of the target population and design
questions accordingly.

If their are certain personal or emotional questions ask them in the middle or at the
end. If you will start your questionnaire with such questions respondents will feel that
your questionnaire contains many such questions. Let your respondents make a
rapport with you.

Don't ask for elaborate answers for the questions as elaborate answers need much
more time of the respondent and they may not fill it. Detailed answers are difficult to
analyze too.

Use polite language but that does not mean that you start to ask about their personal
life and don't be harsh either. Don't forget the formality.

Don't write questions that already contain the answer to the question. In this way you
will impose answers to the respondents rather than knowing their point of view and
bias will come into your research.

Prefer neutral questions rather than using confirmatory or negative questions.

Let the respondents know that their privacy will be ensured and their name and other
information will not be leaked.

In close-ended questions provide enough options to choose from.

Questionnaire Administration and Collection:


Questionnaire can be administered in many ways. Each has its own pros and cons; no single
method is best one. In some situation one will suit more than the other. Some of the common
methods are as follows.
Mail-administered Questionnaire:
Through mail questionnaires an be sent to respondents who live farther away. When
questionnaires are mailed to the respondents they are usually accompanied by a cover-letter
which tells the respondent the objective of research and the importance of their participation
in survey. It may also include money to send back the questionnaire after filling it.
Phone-administered Questionnaire:
Administering questionnaire by phone gives responses readily but many people do not
cooperate in this method.
Electronic Questionnaire:
Electronic method of questionnaire submission is new one. In this method the researcher email questionnaire to the respondents and they fill it and send it back to the researcher. There
are also other methods to conduct poll on internet.
Self-administered Questionnaire:
Self-administered questionnaire is the best method of administration because you can submit
questionnaire and collect them on the spot.