The goal of a questionnaire design is to find answers for research objectives. The answers generated from the questionnaires need also be relevant and valid. Therefore, the purpose of the research questionnaire is to find reliable and valid answers to the research questions. The researcher first needs to define the aims of the research, wether it is a market research or an academic research. To successfully fulfill these objectives the researcher should focus on the following points.
1. Respondents should feel at ease
- Involve respondents and explain questions when they are not clear about them
- Keep respondents at ease, do not burden them
- Reach them where they are comfortable to answer your questions
- Avoid probing them unnecessarily
2. Facilitate data processing
- The process should be carried on smoothly as lots of people are involved in the process of formulating, administering, collecting, analyzing and evaluating the questionnaire.
- At any step, if any error occurs, it will be difficult to spot it later. The error needs to be spotted and fixed on time to ensure the validity of the instrument.
- Provide clear instructions for each step; content generation, questionnaire administration, design, wording, language, and phrasing.
- Good communication is necessary, by good communication it means that the person who is submitting and explaining the questionnaire should be familiar with the language of the respondents and their education, skill level, socio-economic status and so on. He should deal with the respondents in a way that best reflect their way of communication.
3. Wording of the questionnaire
- A simple, everyday language is best suitable for any type of questionnaire with some exceptions. Usually, a questionnaire is used in survey research where a simply worded questionnaire is the best one for the audience.
- The questions should be worded in such a way that they show neutrality from your end. Using language that shows your bias may lead to biased responses.
- Making easy sentences and short phrases and avoid double meaning questions. The audience can feel confused in answering such questions.
- Clear and concise questions are better than length questions. Lengthy questions can result in poor response rate.
- Once the questions are formulated the researcher also needs to sequence them in order. Some simple questions can be asked first and tricky or touchy questions can be sandwiched in between other questions.
- Kumar Ranjit, Research Methodology, Sage Publications, New Delhi, Pp-110-120
- Bynner, J. and Stribley, K.M. (eds.) (1978) Social Research: Principles and Procedures, Longman/ Open University Press.
- Questionnaire Designs and Survey Sampling: http://obelia.jde.aca.mmu.ac.uk/resdesgn/arsham/opre330Surveys.htm
- B. F. Thomas, A General Introduction to the Designs of Questionnaire for Survey Research, Univ of Leeds, May 2001, Ed 1.1, Pp-3, 6