Questionnaires — Usage and Types

Have you ever answered a questionnaire before? Or perhaps created one for a school project or a marketing research? Preparing these questionnaires may be a daunting process for some, but it’s an effective way to gather first-hand information from an audience. It is a practical and cost-efficient research tool that is carried out effortlessly through a survey, leaving you with valuable data.

While sample questionnaires are used for different purposes, whether for school-related or business-centered reasons, questionnaires usually consist of similar types of questions. By familiarizing these types, it will be easier for you to craft clear and sensible questions for your respondents to grasp.

The Purpose of Questionnaires

A questionnaire is used to obtain data from a targeted group of individuals for a specific purpose. It is ideal for acquiring information from respondents through various platforms, such as printed questionnaires and online questionnaires. Here, respondents are given the same set of questions to answer with no time limit and interference. Researchers may also design their questionnaires according to the kind of data they wish to attain. This helps them address issues and concerns efficiently, with a higher possibility of a good response rate. The cost of production and distribution of these questionnaires is also the least of your worries, as questionnaires are known to be a relatively inexpensive research tool. You may also see the importance of a questionnaire.

But like every other research material, there are advantages and disadvantages of using questionnaires. For instance, there’s always a chance of getting unmotivated respondents, leaving you with inaccurate answers. If poorly designed, data may also be misleading. Fortunately, the good outweighs the bad by a good mile. Aside from the strengths already mentioned, questionnaires permit anonymity to protect the privacy of respondents. With this, researchers are more likely to garner honest and reliable answers for their study. But keep in mind that you can never force a respondent to answer your questionnaire, so it’s necessary to request a response first.

Types of Questionnaire Formats

A questionnaire may be made up of different types of questions, depending on the kind of data you wish to acquire.

1. Structured Questions

Structured questions are definite and concrete in their structure. These questions tend to lessen the amount of thinking that a respondent needs to complete the questionnaire. Since the data gathered is more accurate, it would be easier for you to analyze. You may also see questionnaire for customer satisfaction.

2. Unstructured Questions

These are the type of questions asked during an interview. It serves as a guide for an interviewer to refer to, which ideally centers on topics that relate to personal experiences, beliefs, family, relationships, and more. Interviewees can prepare themselves for these questions by studying various pre-interview questionnaires online. What makes this type of questionnaire unique is how it stays flexible. This allows the interviewer to ask questions in his or her words, while still conveying a logical thought.

But questions may also be categorized according to their nature, so as follows:

3. Open-Ended Questions

With open-ended questions, respondents are given the chance to freely express their personal views and ideas. In some cases, these questions are found at the end of a questionnaire to draw feedback or suggestions from respondents. The great thing about open-ended questions is how you are likely to collect real and perceptional answers. This can help you attain reliable insights regarding certain issues. However, open-ended questions can be quite difficult to code and analyze, which is why it would be best to keep them to a minimum in a questionnaire. You may also see evaluation questionnaire examples.

4. Close-Ended Questions

Multiple choice questions that come in a close-ended format are those that aim to collect accurate statistical data. This helps you perform preliminary analysis with ease. Close-ended questions are ideal for tracking market opinions on a given topic, product or service, as data may be calculated in an efficient manner. You may also like research questionnaire examples.

Listed below are the sub-categories of close-ended questions:

  • Leading Questions – These type of closely-formatted questions typically generate specific responses. These are prepared to allow respondents to provide opinionated answers within a limited number of words.
  • Likert Questions – This measures the degree to which a person agrees to a given statement. These questions are typically asked when you wish to garner answers that center on the respondent’s feelings towards a product, service or topic. You may also see student questionnaire examples.
  • Importance Questions – A rating scale of 1-5 is usually given for respondents to identify the level of importance of a given matter. This helps researchers determine what respondents consider significant.
  • Dichotomous Questions – Yes or no questions fall into this category. Although answers are general and direct, having to choose between only “yes” or “no” with no middle perspective available makes it difficult for researchers to come up with accurate results.
  • Bipolar Questions – These questions are similar to dichotomous questions, except that answers may have different levels of extremities. Respondents are given the opportunity to express their opinions by marking their answers anywhere between these two extremities. You may also like lifestyle questionnaire examples.
  • Rating Scale Questions – While the number of choices that fall under this category may vary, respondents may provide personal ratings on a particular matter on a scale of 1-10 or “poor” to “good”.
  • Buying Propensity Questions – Questions that aim to assess consumers’ future intentions are called buying propensity questions. This helps marketers understand the wants and needs of their target customers, along with their thoughts on a given product or service. You may also like interview questionnaire examples.

Other Types of Questionnaires

Apart from those mentioned above, here are other types of rarely-used questionnaires:

  • Mixed Questionnaires – This is a type of questionnaire that consists of close-formatted questions and open-ended questions. These are most common in the field of social research due to the nature of the questions being asked. You may also like health questionnaire examples.
  • Pictorial Questionnaire – These are the questions you find in children’s textbooks and study materials, as well as digital games. They are similar to multiple choice questions, except that they contain pictures to promote interest among target respondents.

When developing a questionnaire, you must pay attention to the type of questions you ask. Some questions may be too sensitive for one to respond to, or its structure may be too complicated for one to comprehend. It’s important to avoid questions that are hypothetical, embarrassing, and extremely positive or negative, as these tend to scare away respondents. Always remember that the questions you ask may greatly influence the data you receive. So the next time you create a questionnaire, make sure to use the right type of questions.

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