A questionnaire is a research tool primarily used to collect information from a population of individuals in a specific geographical area.
Questionnaires, as we know, contain a series of questions related to the research being conducted. For instance, a market questionnaire asks questions about a certain product or service being rendered by a specific business, and involves the target market (customers and clients of such product or service) as respondents.
Answers gathered through questionnaire examples are vital information which are typically analyzed or interpreted, allowing the researchers to come up with a solution or conclusion to the research being conducted. Such solutions or conclusions are often used by different fields to provide answers to the most pressing issues and questions.
Main Aspects of a Questionnaire
For starters, here are some (if not all) of the main aspects to remember when creating a questionnaire.
- Answers will depend on the questions. Also, only ask questions that are related to the topic. Asking unnecessary questions will obviously confuse your respondents.
- Specific answers are for specific questions. Vague questions will also be provided with vague answers, and that is one thing you need to avoid in doing. Generalized questions (e.g. Did you like the product?) will be provided with closed answers. Try asking respondents to rate something through scales (e.g. On the scale of 1-10, how would you rate the product?), or asking follow up questions, such as ‘why?’
- Consistent questions generate consistent answers. Ask questions in a consistent manner. Group questions according to their relationship (or relatedness) with other questions. And keep your business questionnaire organized.
- Questions show biased opinions. Only a limited number of questions can be included, so make sure you do not inject questions with your opinions, (e.g. What do you like about our product?) instead ask your respondents about their opinions (e.g. What, if any, do you like or dislike about our product?)
- Incentives, and more. Respondents will be more than willing to answer your questions if they receive incentives in return (e.g. freebies, discounts, etc).
- A good response rate is a challenge. Some people might not bother to answer questions, especially if it does not concern them, so you need to be careful in selecting your respondents, or use a few techniques to get them interested (e.g. incentives, as mentioned).
Advantages and Disadvantages of Questionnaires
Using questionnaires has its own set of advantages and disadvantages. Let’s get to know some of them.
- Less time consuming.
- Low to no cost.
- Generates a large amount of data.
- Various ways of administration.
- Sensitive topics are easily answered in private.
- Format is easily understood by most respondents.
- Answers can be easily quantified and analyzed.
- Gives respondents enough time to answer the questions.
- Low return or response rate.
- Questions or concerns from respondents cannot be easily answered.
- Respondents might skip or ignore some questions, or avoid sensitive questions.
- Biased opinions from people with strong interest on the topic.
- Respondents might fail to understand some questions.
- Some respondents might not be capable of answering questionnaires in word (e.g. visually impaired).
- Some respondents might not take it seriously.
- Researchers might miss something important and cannot immediately ask for follow up questions, especially if respondent is anonymous.