Tutorial: Steps in Preparing an Online Questionnaire

  1. Review the basic objectives of the study. What are you trying to discover? What actions do you want to take as a result of the survey?
  2. Visualize all of the relevant information items you would like to have. What will the output report look like? What charts and graphs will be prepared? What information do you need to be assured that action is warranted?
  3. Rank order each topic in items 1 and 2 according to the value of the topic. List the most important topics first. Revisit items 1 and 2 again to make sure the objectives, topics and information you need are appropriate. Remember, you can't solve the problem if you ask the wrong questions.
  4. How easy or difficult is it for the respondent to provide information on each topic? If it is difficult, is there another way to obtain the information by asking another question?
  5. Create a sequence for the topics that is unbiased. Make sure that the questions asked first do not bias the results of the next questions. Sometimes providing too much information, or disclosing purpose of the study can create bias.
  6. Determine the type of question that is best suited to answer the question and provide enough robustness to meet analysis requirements. This means do you use open-ended text questions, dichotomous, multiple choice, rank order, scaled, or constant sum (ratio scale) questions.
  7. Write the questions. You may need to write several questions for each topic, selecting the best one.
  8. Sequence the questions so that they are unbiased.
  9. Repeat all of the steps above to find any major holes. Are the questions really answered? Have someone review it for you.
  10. Time the length of the survey. A survey should take less than five minutes. At three to four questions per minute, you are limited to about 15 questions. One open end text question counts for three multiple choice questions.
  11. Pretest the survey to 20 or more people. Obtain their feedback... in detail. What were they unsure about? Did they have questions? Did they have trouble understanding what you wanted? Did they take a point of view not covered in your answers or question?
  12. Revise your online questionnaire using the QuestionPro intuitive builder and pre-test again or begin data collection.

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