Whether it’s a business venture or a school project, survey questionnaires are one of the most efficient yet effective tools in acquiring data from a given population. This is typically written to gather information on a given topic for researchers to analyze. While this may seem like a simple task to carry out, it’s not as easy as you may think. Even the smallest mistake can seriously impact the value of your survey results.
Developing a questionnaire plays a crucial part in your study. Inaccurate results can lead to poor decisions. So if you ask the wrong questions, or maybe portray it in the wrong way, you’re bound to end up with a disappointing and good-for-nothing outcome. That being said, proper planning and writing are essential to help you generate trustworthy results. And how can that be achieved? By perfecting every part of your survey questionnaire, of course.
What do you do when you meet a person for the first time? You take it as an opportunity to introduce yourself, right? A small exchange of names, witty words, and what not.
With a survey questionnaire, it’s the same thing. Every survey questionnaire begins with a proper introduction of who you are and what your purpose is. This is usually found on the first page of each document and is said to be one of the most important steps in developing a survey. For one thing, it lets a potential respondent decide whether or not he or she would be willing to go on with the survey. After all, no one would want to answer a set of questions without knowing what it is for.
Creating an introduction to your survey questionnaire can be crucial. You need to address every possible concern a respondent may have. Knowing this, you must look at your survey from the respondent’s point of view. This can help you set the tone for the survey to make respondents feel comfortable in regard to providing personal information and insights to complete your survey questionnaire. Keep in mind that the introduction should be as professional as possible. To make the perfect introduction, here are most essential parts to include:
The most important thing to remember when conducting surveys is to never force anyone to answer your questionnaire even though they have already read the introduction of your document. This could affect the way they reply to each question, giving you hollow responses in return. Regardless of its purpose, not everyone is comfortable with responding to surveys, so learn to respect a person’s decision instead.
Survey questionnaires are typically composed of a wide variety of questions. The type of questions you ask is crucial in data gathering, as this determines the kind of responses you’re expected to receive. It could consist of categorical questions, ordinal questions, ratio questions or even all those mentioned. For you to know which type would suit your questionnaire the best, let us look into the general concept of each type:
Yes or no questions, multiple choice questions, and questions that may require more than one answer fall under this type. This is considered to be the easiest type of questions to ask in a survey as it leads to a simple analysis of counts and percentages. The responses attained are usually made specific in order to garner clearer results. Researchers can then use a bar graph or a pie chart to present the data gathered for their study in an organized manner.
For instances where you need to collect ordinal data, ordinal questions are the perfect option. Similar to the categorical type of questions, the data gathered may be analyzed through counts and percentages. This may be garnered by asking multiple choice questions, drop-down questions (for online survey questionnaires) or ranking questions. And because these are an ordinal type of questions, remember to list all the choices in a proper order. This is perfect for gathering demographic data and the like.
Interval or ratio questions tend to be more advanced compared to the other types of survey questions. For instance, the previously mentioned questionnaire types gather nominal-level and ordinal-level data respectively, making it difficult and almost impossible to take averages and test correlations. But with the interval or ratio questions, an analysis is done by finding averages, testing correlations, and even running regression models. These type of questions are often seen as the most difficult to answer, considering how a respondent must take the time to fully assess the question before answering. The list of possible answers that follow these questions is usually presented through a ranking scale, a matrix or a text box.
The type of questions to include in your questionnaire should depend on the purpose of your survey, as well as the form of data you wish to acquire. It’s important to consider who your target respondents are as well.
Now that you know what type of questions to ask, it’s now time to list them down.
But beware when you do so.
It may be easy to think of the right question to ask, but the way these are delivered may affect the accuracy of your results. So before you begin writing pages full of questions, you need to know how to ask them accordingly. Here are some helpful tips for developing the perfect survey questionnaire:
Once you’ve completed your survey questionnaire, an overall review of your document won’t hurt. It would only make sense to ensure that every component of your questionnaire is done correctly to acquire insightful responses. While no survey is entirely perfect, investing your time and thought into creating the right set of questions is essential to getting the answers needed for your study.