How to Make a Questionnaire

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When a business, nonprofit group, or politician needs to know how their stakeholders or constituents are feeling, they often create and implement a questionnaire. The results can lead to brand changes, decision making and policy changes if the feedback is good. Creating a questionnaire may seem very simple, but if it is not designed correctly, the results can be biased and unreliable.

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    Decide what you want to learn from administering your questionnaire.[1]

    Ask yourself what data you need and how you will use it. This will help you think of useful questions, as well as the order in which you will ask them.

    Advice: Ideally, the questionnaire will be short, so decide which of your objectives are essential and which may be unnecessary.

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    Plan questions that will help you get the information you need. Start with a wide range of questions, then narrow them down until each one relates in some way to your goals. Keep the questions and answers simple, using as few words as possible. You may want to rely on open questions, closed questions, or a combination of the two.

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    Use closed questions to collect specific answers. Closed questions have a certain range of options that respondents can choose from. [2]
    These questions can be yes or no questions, true or false questions, or questions that ask the respondent to agree or disagree with a statement. Closed questions may look like open questions, but they will only have a few options that respondents can use to answer. Closed-type questions can look like this:

    • “Have you shopped here before?”
    • “If so, how often do you shop here?” (This question would have several explicit answers that respondents could choose from, “once a week” to “once a month,” for example)
    • “How satisfied were you with your experience today?” (Also, this question would have limited answers: “very satisfied” to “very dissatisfied”)
    • “Would I recommend this store to a friend?”
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    Use open questions to solicit feedback. Open-ended questions ask for answers you may not have anticipated and don’t have a fixed range of answers to choose from. Open questions are an opportunity for respondents to express their experience or specific expectations. Such questions may look like this:

    • “How will you use your purchase?”
    • “Where else do you shop?”
    • “Who referred you to this store?”
    • Open questions are good for clarifying the previous answer: “Why do you feel that way?”
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    Ask questions in such a way as to avoid confusion and bias. Avoid leading questions in particular; Lead questions indicate that the person asking the question is looking for a specific answer and will limit the answers respondents will offer. Adjust the possible answers or change the wording of your question to prevent respondents from answering a certain way.

    • Questions should be formulated in such a way that they are as clear as possible. Confused respondents will distort your data, so questions should be as understandable as possible. Avoid double negatives, unnecessary sentences, or unclear subject-object relationships.

    Note: You may consider asking the same question in different ways, that can reduce overall respondent bias and give you a better chance of finding a person’s true opinion on a particular subject.[3]

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    Think about how you will deliver your questionnaire. Many possibilities are open to you. You can use the online service to create your questionnaire. You can then send links to your quiz via email. You can use a phone or email campaign to cold call respondents. Or you can run the campaign yourself, using professionals or volunteers to conduct surveys.

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    Design your questionnaire according to the delivery method. There are advantages and disadvantages to each method, and each method has limitations on what it can do. Ask yourself which submission method best suits the topic of your quiz, as well as the data you want to receive. For example:

    • Surveys delivered by computer, telephone, and mail can reach a wide range of people, while surveys administered in person are time consuming and limit who can participate (which can be beneficial).
    • Computer-delivered, in-person, and mail-delivered surveys may use images, while telephone interviews may not.
    • Respondents may be too shy to answer certain questions in person or over the phone. Decide if you want to provide clarification to your questions if the respondent doesn’t understand something; only interviews given by a living person can provide clarification.
    • A computer survey will require the respondent to have access to a computer. If your questionnaire concerns private matters, a computer survey may be best. [4]
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    Consider the order of your questions. The form of your questionnaire is just as important as its content. You should try to sequence the questions so that they follow each other logically or mark clear transitions from one section to another. Other types of questions may affect how the respondent completes the questionnaire.

    • “Qualifiers” are questions that flag certain respondents, preventing them from completing other questions. Place them at the beginning of your questionnaire.
    • If demographics are important, ask demographic questions ahead of time.
    • Save personal or difficult questions for the end of the questionnaire. Respondents won’t be overwhelmed by these questions and are more likely to be open and honest.

    Note: You may want to order the questions so that if a person says yes or no to a particular question, you skip the questions that don’t apply to them. This will help keep the questionnaire focused and will take less time to complete.

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    Decide if you offer incentives for completing the questionnaire. It’s often easier to attract respondents if you offer something in exchange for their time. Online, mail-in, or phone quizzes may offer a coupon after completing the quiz. Completing the questionnaire in person may offer merchandise in exchange for participation. Quizzes are also a great way to draw attention to mailing lists or membership offers that might otherwise go unnoticed by respondents.

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    Test your quiz before you start surveying people. Friends, employees, and family members can be good questioners. You can have them test your quiz while it is still in development, or you can have them test a finished draft.

    • Ask your testers to give you feedback. They can alert you to parts that confused them or seemed inappropriate. The user’s impressions of the questionnaire are as important as the questionnaire itself.
    • Once you’ve tested, do some number math to make sure you’re collecting the data you need. If you don’t get the information you want, adjust the questionnaire. You may need to rephrase things, add introductions, or rearrange, add, or remove questions to help the quiz guide you toward your goals.
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    Review your data to understand what your questionnaire was actually asking for. Remember that a questionnaire is often part of a larger campaign. They can be modified and reused multiple times to target different demographics, ask different questions, or better align with your goals. After reviewing your results, you may find that while your questions make sense, they aren’t exactly the correct ones you need to achieve your goals.

    • For example, you might find that a question like “How often do you shop here?” it limits its demographics to those who shop in physical stores. If you want to see how people buy a particular product, you might want to expand your question to include online shopping.
    • Your deployment method may also limit your data. For example, online surveys can usually be answered by respondents with above-average computer skills.
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    Also, review your questions. Some of your questions may work during testing, but may not work as well in the field. Your questions should make sense to the specific demographic you are targeting. Ask yourself if your respondents really understand what they are being asked, or if your survey is so standard that respondents don’t respond attentively.

    • For example, a question like “Why do you shop here?” it may be too broad a question that could mislead respondents. If you want to know if store design has an impact on shopping habits, you can ask respondents to describe what they think about store design, branding, etc.
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    Review your open questions. Make sure your open ended questions work as they should. They may be too open, in which case respondents may babble. They may not be open enough, in which case the data you received won’t be as valuable. Ask yourself what role your open-ended questions play in your quiz, and adjust them as needed.

    • As above, broad questions like “How do you feel shopping here?” you may not provide enough guidance to your respondents. Instead, you can ask “Would you recommend this store to your friends? Why or why not?”
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    Decide how you will respond to missing data. Not all respondents will answer all questions, which may or may not be a problem for you. [5]
    Ask yourself which questions were skipped or answered incompletely, if any. This may be due to the order of the questions, the wording of the question, or the topic of the question. If the missing data is important, consider rephrasing the missing questions to make them more or less specific.

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    Review what kind of feedback you’re getting. Check for unusual trends in your data and decide if this reflects reality or is the result of an error in your questionnaire. For example, your answers to closed questions will limit the type of information that respondents can give you. Your responses may be so limited that strong opinions look the same as weak opinions, or they may not provide a full range of reasonable answers.

    • For example, if you ask respondents to rate an experience, you should give them the option to respond with “very dissatisfied” and “very satisfied” and many options in between.
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Categories: How to
Source: HIS Education

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