A questionnaire consists of a list of questions created by a person, organization or company to find out another’s opinions on a particular topic. While constructing a questionnaire, one needs to keep in mind what is the motive or objective of this questionnaire and what kind of information is one seeking from the respondent. Once that goal has been set, the questions must be added to the list so that people can give their opinions. A questionnaire thus helps one to conduct a survey and to know the preferences, opinions, likes, dislikes and knowledge of a group of people.

There can be different types of questionnaires: For example, some may have open-ended questions, that is, the answer can be given by the respondent without choosing any option given in the questionnaire, or it can be close ended, which means the respondent has to choose from limited options and answer in affirmative or negative. Some questionnaires may also be constructed in such a way that they multiple-choice questions and all the respondent has to do is choose one of the options from the list. These are the most popular way of constructing a questionnaire.

While constructing a questionnaire, there are certain things one needs to keep in mind in order to make the questionnaire more effective and easy to respond to:

  • Objective: Before creating the questionnaire, think of what you want to achieve or what kind of information you are seeking from the respondent and then accordingly frame the questions which will help you get the information you want. For example, in order to know the spending habits of the people, you will have to ask about their household income, how often they eat outside, when and where do they buy clothes from etc.
  • Respondents: In order to find out the right response and information, you must select the section of people who will answer the questions and who are affected by the topic you are researching. For example, for finding out the fashion preferences of youngsters, you have to make questions for teenagers and cannot frame your questions with middle-aged people in mind.
  • Introduction: Before you start including the questions in the questionnaire, add an introduction in the beginning so that the respondents know what the survey is all about, why you are conducting the survey and they will also get instructions on how to answer the questions.
  • Background questions: The first few questions seek information about the name, address, age, income, occupation and education of the respondent. They are not exactly questions but help the one know more about the person’s background by profiling him and understanding the other answers in that context.
  • Simple and straightforward: Don’t make your questions very long and complicated as the respondent will lose interest or not understand your questions. Keep them to the point, simple and straightforward. You can use multiple-choice or open-ended questions depending on your topic and objective.
  • Cross check: Run a spell check and look out for any grammatical or factual errors in the questionnaire before you distribute it.