Well begun is half done - and that carries so much value in research. Your questionnaire is the starting point that charts the course of your entire research, and determines its success or failure in the long run. This calls for a great diligence and meticulousness in designing a questionnaire.
So what makes for a good survey questionnaire? What are the key things that you need to give attention to while preparing a questionnaire? Let's get an overview.
This is the first and the foremost task - getting your objectives clear. Once you know exactly what you want to achieve out of your research, you will get a thorough grip on your questionnaire and what to ask as well. This will also help you make sure that each question you ask and its response add value to the objectives of the research.
Before you start your research work, it is highly recommended that you know what kind of research has already been done in your research area. This will help you know the ambiguities and black holes in your existing research stream, and find ways to address them effectively.
In a broad classification, a questionnaire can carry either quantitative or qualitative questions. When you want to make statistical analyses, you will require collecting quantitative responses. For quantitative responses, you can use closed questions with specific responses choices provided to the respondents.
When you are looking at drawing inferences and explore into the responses, you should use qualitative questions. Qualitative questions call for open ended questions. Open ended questions allow long responses where the respondents are given the option to elaborate on their answers in detail.
It is extremely important that you define the target respondents of your survey. Once the demographics and other specific characteristics of your prospects are defined, you can frame your questions that will suit your target audience.
Are you going to collect responses through personal interviews, telephone interviews, online surveys or mailed questionnaires? Depending on the method of collection, the questionnaire can be different. Personal interviews and Telephonic interviews will require you to keep the survey really short. Online surveys can use logic in the flow of questions. So, decide the method and prepare questions accordingly.
Once you have a thorough ground work done for the questionnaire, it is then time to start preparing the actual questions that will be a part of your questionnaire. You need to decide on the types of questions that you will use like single answer, multiple choice, rating, ranking, descriptive answer etc. You need to choose each of these question types on the basis of what type of response you want to get.
Start with generic questions that will help in warming up the respondent, and then move on to specific questions. Also, make sure you place the most important questions in the first half of the questionnaire. The interest of the respondents tends to decrease during towards the end of the survey.
While preparing the questions, you need to keep the questionnaire to an appropriate length. Longer the survey, lesser, the chances of completion are. Hence prepare the questions in such a way that you are in control of how much time it will take to complete the survey.
Once you have the questionnaire ready, make sure you pilot the questionnaire with a small sample. This will help you find if there are any flaws in the questionnaire before you send it out to your target audience.
Team at Outsource2india believes that a questionnaire is successful if -
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