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QUESTIONNAIRE

DESIGN

Often misused words generate misleading thoughts


Herbert Spencer

The STOCK / LIVESTOCK Case


The range of error due to
use of imprecise words
may be as high as 20 to 30
percent.

Relevance and Accuracy

What

Layout

Questionnaire Design

How
(Phrasing)

When
(Sequence)

The Steps in a Survey Project


Establish the goals of the project
Determine your sample - Whom to interview
Choose interviewing methodology - How to interview

Create your questionnaire


Questionnaire Design

The Interviewing Methods


Personal Interviews
Telephone Surveys
Email Surveys

Internet/Intranet (Web Page) Surveys

Choice of survey method will depend on several


factors : Speed, Cost, Internet Usage,

Literacy Levels, Sensitive Questions


Questionnaire Design

Question Types
Researchers use three basic types of questions: multiple
choice, numeric open end and text open end. Examples of
each kind of question follow:

Questionnaire Design

Questionnaire Design

Designing the Questionnaire


Its all about the questions

Effect of a given word


Balance in question wording
Dont know answers offered or volunteered?
Using scales
Question order
Pre-testing

Questionnaire Design

The Effect of One Word


How important do you think it is
to have a hotline telephone number
people can call to get help when they
have problems with their health plan?

How important do you think it is for the


GOVERNMENT to set up a hotline
telephone number people can call to get
help when they have problems with their
health plan?

To have a hotline
Very Important

For government to set up a hotline

Somewhat Important

Not too important

Not at all important

Kaiser Family Foundation/Harvard University National Survey of Americans Views on Consumer Protections in managed Care, January 1998

Questionnaire Design

Balance in Question Wording


Whats wrong with these questions?

Do you support the India taking military action


against Pakistan?

If you heard that Candidate X supported stricter


gun control laws, would that make you more likely
to vote for her?

Did you happen to vote in the presidential election


in 2000?

Questionnaire Design

Balance in Question Wording


Bad questions, improved:

Do you support or oppose the India taking military


action against Pakistan?

If you heard that Candidate X supported stricter


gun control laws, would that make you more likely
to vote for her, less likely to vote for her, or
wouldnt it make much difference?

Did you happen to vote in the presidential election


in 2000, or not?
Questionnaire Design

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Dont Know Answers offered or volunteered?


Do you favor or oppose the government
offering parents money or "vouchers" to
send their children to private or religious
schools, or public schools outside their
district?

Do you favor or oppose the government


offering parents money or "vouchers" to
send their children to private or religious
schools, or public schools outside their
district, or havent you heard enough
about that to have an opinion?

Oppose

Oppose

Favor

Favor

No opinion

No opinion
NPR/Kaiser Family Foundation/Kennedy School of Government Education Survey, June 1999 (conducted June 25 July 19, 1999)

Questionnaire Design

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Using scales getting to the most


Now, Im going to read you some different health care issues. As I
read each one, please tell me how important you think it is for the
President and Congress to deal with this issue very important,
somewhat important, not too important, or not important at all.
Percent saying very important

When forced to choose


Which of the following issues you
say are very important do you
think is most important?*
Percent saying most important

Helping people age 65 and over pay


for prescription medicines
Making Medicare more financially
sound for future generations
Increasing the number of Americans
covered by health insurance
Helping states with the cost of
Medicaid
*Also includes those who
named only one issue as
very important

Lowering the cost of medical


malpractice insurance for physicians

Questionnaire Design
Source: Kaiser Family Foundation Health Poll Report

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How questions can affect one another

Ask general questions before specific priority questions in order to


obtain unbiased responses (e.g. most important problem facing
the nation) FUNNEL TECHNIQUE

Pay attention to how one question might influence answers to


future questions:

In considering whether or not to vote for a political candidate, how


important is the candidates position on HIV/AIDS in making your
choice?

What do you think are the two most important health care issues for
the government to address?

Questionnaire Design

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Testing the Questionnaire

Pre-testing
The last step in questionnaire design is to test a questionnaire
with a small number of interviews before conducting your main
interviews. Ideally, you should test the survey on the same kinds
of people you will include in the main study. This kind of test run
can reveal unanticipated problems with question wording,
instructions to skip questions, etc. It can help see if the
interviewees understand your questions and giving useful
answers.
If you change any questions after a pre-test, you should not
combine the results from the pre-test with the results of post-test
interviews.

Questionnaire Design

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References
Roper Center for Public Opinion Research: iPoll
http://roperweb.ropercenter.uconn.edu/iPOLL/
American Association for Public Opinion Research http://aapor.org/
National Journal: Poll Track http://nationaljournal.com/
Kaiser Family Foundation: Kaiser Health Poll Report
http://www.kff.org/healthpollreport
Strategos Institute at http://www.stategos.com/survey/
Zikmund G. William, Business Research Methods 7E, Chapter 15,
Pg: 329 331, 344 347.

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