A questionnaire helps a person or organization to find out the opinions of a target group of respondents who express what they like, dislike, prefer, think or feel about a particular topic. Questionnaires are mainly used to conduct a survey either for research purposes, which can be commercial, educational or personal research, or it can be used to just find out what other think about the topic. No matter what the reason for creating the questionnaire is or what is the topic of the questionnaire, there are certain basic rules that one needs to keep in mind when constructing a questionnaire.
In the following paragraphs we shall discuss those rules and tips:
- Goal: Every questionnaire is constructed keeping in mind a certain goal or objective and all the questions in the questionnaire must be framed in such a way that the motive of the surveyor is fulfilled and he gets the kind of information he is looking for. If tone needs information about movie choices, his questions should be about the different types of movies, the latest releases etc.
- Respondents: The questionnaire must be targeted towards a certain type of respondents and the questions must be created in a such a way that they can identify with it and respond accordingly. For example, in order to find out about urban spending habits, one must ask those questions to people living in the city and not in rural areas.
- Instructions: Every questionnaire must begin with an introduction paragraph which will contain the instructions that will help the respondent to answer the questions and also give a background of the topic in question or why the surveyor is conducting the survey.
- Type: The questions can be of many types: they can be close ended, meaning the respondent can only answer in yes or no and can give limited answers, or they can be open-ended where they are no limits on what they want to write or how long they want to write. Some questionnaires also have multiple choice options where the respondent can chose from.
- Background questions: Before the questions regarding the topic of the questionnaire start, the first of the questionnaire seeks answers regarding the profile of the respondent, like, what is his name and other contact details, what is his occupation or educational standard, about his age, income etc. They help the surveyor to make a record of the respondents and also understand they answers in the context of their background
- Simplicity Whenever a question is too long, it loses the attention of the respondent. Keep them short, to the point, straightforward, related to the topic and not very complicated. Number them systematically and also have bullets form the options so that the questionnaire looks neat and organized. Try to keep it in one page if possible, unless the topic demands that you make it longer.
- Cross check: Make sure that the questionnaire is free from any spelling, grammatical and factual errors and has the all the questions necessary for you to get the kind of information you wanted.
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