A good questionnaire is the soul of a survey that can make or break the quality and impact of the survey. No survey will achieve the desired impact and garner expected results unless it has a good questionnaire. A sample survey asking the wrong questions in the wrong way to the wrong people at the wrong time will decrease the quality and value of your survey.
Example of a good questionnaire – approach to follow
Theoretically, you cannot explain or guide the researchers to create a seamless questionnaire. All researcher has a lengthy list of the do’s and don’ts that they have compiled after years of experience in creating a questionnaire. Creating a flawless questionnaire is more art than science and an example of a good questionnaire has some characteristics.
- Clear objective: The first thing you need to focus while creating a questionnaire is to understand the objective of the survey. You must figure out the purpose of the survey, what goal you want to achieve, how you will be using the insights and what sample you will be using to conduct the survey. Answering all these questions will automatically motivate to create a good questionnaire.
- Simple questions: While building an example of a survey questionnaire it is better to avoid complicated question types and complicated question phrases. Such complexity will make it harder for the respondents to understand the question. A good questionnaire consists of clear and concise questions, which the respondents can understand and respond immediately.
- Reliable design: Surveys conducted with a meaningful questionnaire are entitled to collect only valid and quality data that can be reproduced at any time. Good quality data in return helps in achieving the motive of the survey by precisely measuring the aspects your survey was intended to measure.
- Precise Reporting: When you ask accurate questions to the accurate audience you are ought to get good results. However, you need to interpret the data accurately to represent the perspective of the audience. A transparent and credible report will contain both positive and – negative findings offering proper guidance and a scope of improvement.
Tips to create an example of a good questionnaire
When you have a specified objective of the survey, your mind will be filled with different questions to ask in the survey. At times, it feels easy to create a survey questionnaire, especially when you are creating it using an online survey tool. But that is far from the best way to start – to create a seamless example of a good questionnaire you need to ask numerous questions to yourself, brainstorm on every question type, and think of a variety of answers you will be getting for the same question.
Keep your worries aside and take a look at these tips that will help you stay focused and create a survey questionnaire that is perfectly suitable for your motive behind each survey project.
Identifying the need for a question:
Before putting any question in the questionnaire you need to ask yourself – Is the question is necessary enough to be placed in the questionnaire? Is it mandatory to answer the question? Will the respondents be able to answer it correctly? Whether the question will make the desired impact?
It is necessary to align every question in the survey questionnaire with the survey objective. As a researcher, you need to analyze what is the value of a specific question and what role will it play in collecting information or in continuing to provide meaningful insights.
Continuing to be brief:
If you look at an example of a good questionnaire you will notice that every question asked in the questionnaire is as brief as it could be. It is a good practice to ensure the question length does not exceed more than 20 words. In addition to that, there should not be more than three commas in the question text. Lastly, if you are using multi-syllable words then you need to restrict its use by keeping its frequency as minimum as possible.
Asking clear and hard-hitting questions:
Survey questions matter a lot when you want to collect reliable and quality data. Apart from putting clear, concise and hard-hitting questions ensure that the question is targeted to collect desired data without offending the respondent.
For example: Instead of asking ‘How much did you spend on groceries last year?’ Ask them ‘How much do you estimate you spent on buying groceries last year?’
Most of the respondents here will not remember how much they spent on groceries but will have a rough figure in their minds. In this question, the responses will be a random guess and not giving them space to put a random figure might frustrate respondents.
Defining potentially ambiguous words and phrases:
Whenever you are creating a good questionnaire prevent using terms of words having the potential of being interpreted differently by different respondents.
Words such as ‘recently’, ‘frequently’ or words related to time and terms related to ‘family’, ‘household’’ etc. should be avoided as they have a different meaning for different people. If possible avoid asking questions leading to assumptions, as if, when they did something.
For example: instead of asking ‘How frequently you communicate with your boss?’ It will be appropriate if you ask ‘On an average how many times in a week do you communicate with your boss?’
Maintaining neutral language throughout:
An example of a good questionnaire will have a neutral tone of language throughout the survey. It is a creative talent to ensure the language or wording you use to construct a question is in no way offensive or culturally sensitive for any group of respondents. It would be better to create a sample of a survey first and test the survey questionnaire, through independent users and independent representatives of the audience so that any complications arising after publishing the survey can be avoided.
Respecting the privacy of respondents:
Many times your question might offend the respondents. Therefore, it is necessary to ask questions that increase the comfort level of the respondent by respecting their privacy. Remember there is a very thin line between pride and self-respect. Therefore, phrase your questions ensuring it does not hurt self-respect or pride of the respondent in any manner.
If your research needs to understand the average annual income of the respondent, be particular about the type of question and language used to create the question.
For example: If you opt for a comment box type of question to ask average family income, then it will be considered as a close-ended question. Such a question might hurt the respondent’s sentiments. Try asking a single select question type, and add no more than four answer categories –‘Which of the following categories best describe your annual family income?’ it will not offend the respondent.
A well-designed questionnaire is the heart and soul of the survey. However, survey creators and researchers need to learn with their own experience. By gathering knowledge from the expert researchers to develop a self-guide of creating a seamless questionnaire.
If possible, it is better to work first on creating an example of a good questionnaire. Afterward, beta test it until everyone in the organization is satisfied with the design, flow, and architecture of the questionnaire.