Considerations for designing a good questionnaire

A questionnaire is a set of questions arranged in sequential order and related to the investigation of inquiry. The questionnaires are sent to the respondent through different sources viz. by post, by Internet, by newspaper etc. Through the questionnaire primary data are collected. It is a most popular and widely used method for the big investigation.

In the questionnaire method, the questionnaire is the only media of communication between the investigator and the respondents. So the most important factor for the success of the questionnaire method is the skill, efficiency, care and the wisdom with which the questionnaire is framed. If the questionnaire is not properly prepared, then the survey is bound to fail. Making a good questionnaire is a highly specialized job and requires great care, skill, wisdom, efficiency and experience. There are no hard and fast rules for preparing a good questionnaire. However, the following general considerations might be taken while preparing questionnaire.
  • The questions should be few, short, clearly worded, simple and easy to reply.
  • The questions should be within the information scope of the respondents.
  • The questions should have direct relation to subject of the investigation.
  • The opening questions should not be such as to abuse human interest.
  • Units and technical terms are not to be used in question as far as possible.
  • The questions should be inter-related with each other.
  • The questions should proceed in logical sequence moving from easy to more difficult questions.
  • Personal and intimate questions are not to be included as far as possible.
  • Emotional questions should be avoided.
  • The questions should be so framed that there is a minimum of writing works. Questions may be dichotomous or multiple choice. Open-ended questions should be avoided to the extent possible.
  • The questions should be free from ambiguity. Vague expressions capable of different interpretations should be avoided in a questionnaire.
  • Answer to a question should be objective and have a capacity of easily classified, tabulated and analyzed.
  • There should be some control questions in the questionnaire which indicate the reliability of the respondent.
  • Adequate space for answers should be provided in the questionnaire.
  • There should always be provision for indications of uncertainty, e.g. "do not know", "No preference" and so on.
  • Questions should be so worded that ego of the respondents is not injured in any way.
  • If there is more than one page of questionnaires, each page of questionnaires should be numbered serially.
  • A place in the questionnaire should be provided for the signature of the respondent.
  • Brief directions with regard to filling up the questionnaire should be given.
  • The physical appearance of the questionnaire should be good. The quality of the paper, along with its color must be good.

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