Be it government, studies, non-profit or for-profit organizations, when conducting a survey on something, data collection is of great importance for one to get the needed insight into what you are researching. There are various ways in which one can collect the needed data- the most commonly used method by most researchers is the use of questionnaires.
Questionnaires are usually used to gather first-hand information on a given population in the form of a survey. There are different types of questionnaires that one can use depending on the type of data they want to collect and the purpose of their survey.
What is a Questionnaire
A questionnaire is a research tool used to collect data from a population of individuals in a given geographical area. The questionnaire, as we all know it, is usually made up of a series of questions often referred to as items all related to a specific topic under the research being conducted.
Questionnaires are usually very practical, and they can be carried out on any population size. The results obtained from the questionnaires are then analyzed or interpreted to come up with a solution to a given problem or conclusion to the research being conducted. Such conclusions and solutions are normally used by different fields to provide answers to some of the most pressing issues or questions that the research aimed to answer or solve.
Download Free Questionnaire Templates
We understand that coming up with a questionnaire for your research may be hard, especially if it is your first time developing one. To make your work much easier, we have compiled several questionnaire templates that you can download and use anytime for your survey. Download now and get started today.
Types of Questionnaire
Although questionnaires can be classified into several types, there are mainly two types of questionnaires.
Open-Ended Questions (Unstructured)
Unstructured questionnaires include qualitative questions that are open in nature and allow the target audience to answer in a manner they see fit. Such questions usually record more data since they don’t usually have a predetermined set of responses, and the target audience is free to express their opinion in a free-flowing manner.
Open-ended questions are usually considered when one is looking to get unbiased and actual answers from the respondents.
However, analyzing open-ended questions can prove to be hard on the researcher as different people usually have different opinions, and it becomes hard to process the data obtained.
Close-Ended Questions (Structured)
A close-ended question is a type of questionnaire in which the respondent is given multiple answers to choose from when answering a question. Structured questionnaires are usually administered when conducting quantitative research.
Close-ended questions are usually definite and are usually well structured to allow the researcher to get as many responses and information on a given question or statement as possible.
Psychographic surveys are normally used to study and classify people based on psychological criteria such as their attitudes, values, personality, aspirations, and lifestyle.
How do you feel about apples electric car?
Which model of car(s) have you owned in the past four years?
Would you consider purchasing an electric car if it was the same price as the one that runs on diesel?
You like to make long-distance road trips.
- Strongly Agree
- Neither Agree nor Disagree
- Strongly Disagree
Customer satisfaction questionnaire
A customer satisfaction questionnaire is usually designed to help businesses understand what their customers think about their brand, products and/or services, and their customer support.
Such surveys are usually conducted to help a business improve on its products strategically, optimize customer experience and deliver exactly what is in line with the customer’s taste and preference.
How likely are you to recommend our Moisturizer Shower Gel to your friend or colleague? (0-10)
Did our customer support help you with your questions about our products today? (Yes/No)
Which of the following statements best describes you? “I am ______”
- I am a frequent customer
- Shopping with you for the first time
- Not a regular customer
To what extent do you agree with the following:
Our Moisturizer Shower Gel’s onboarding process was simple and straightforward.
- Strongly Agree
- Neither Agree nor Disagree
- Strongly Disagree
Demographic questions help one to understand certain background characteristics of their target audience, e.g., their age, race, income, ethnicity, marital status, etc.
By administering demographic questionnaires, one can be able to gather demographic information about their current and potential customer at scale. The information obtained can then be used to design a market segmentation strategy to reach the right clients.
What is your gender?
- Other (Please specify)
Which age bracket do you fall in?
17 or younger
60 and Above
Are you black, white, African, American, Alaskan, Native, Asian, Pacific Islander, Native Hawaiian, or some other race?
Other- Please specify
What is your marital status?
Characteristics of a Well-designed Questionnaire
The questionnaire design usually depends on the type of information that you are looking to collect from your target audience. Open-ended questionnaires are normally used when there is a need to collect explanatory information from the targeted population to help prove or disprove a given hypothesis. Close-ended questionnaires, on the other hand, are used to validate or test a previously generated hypothesis. When preparing your questionnaire, regardless of whether it is open-ended or close-ended, there are some essential characteristics that you must incorporate into your questionnaires.
Questionnaires are very significant when one is looking to collect demographic data, opinions, facts, or attitudes from a given audience. One of the key attributes of a research form is uniform design and standardization. All the respondents respond to the same standardized questions. This helps in the data collection and statistical analysis of the obtained data.
The questions or statements listed in the questionnaire should be self-explanatory. This is particularly important when one is looking to collect qualitative data, or the data obtained is not to be statistically analyzed. For example, when interviewing a female of the household to understand how they spend and save their money. Open-ended questionnaires give you more insight and allow them to properly explain their activities. A close-ended questionnaire could limit their responses, thereby limiting the data collection.
The questionnaire should be drafted in a way that it follows the structured flow of questions to increase the number of responses. This sequence of questions should include screening questions, warm-up questions, transition questions, challenges questions, skip questions, and classification questions.
The length of the questionnaire usually depends on the type of data one is looking to collect. However, it is recommended that you only include questions that are absolutely important to make it easy for the respondents to go through all of them and answer appropriately.
When drafting your questionnaire, it is important that you consider the age bracket of your target audience. Use words that they can easily relate to, making it easy for them to respond to the questions that you are asking.
Pros of Using a Questionnaire
There are various benefits to using a questionnaire, to begin with, questionnaires are a quick and economical procedure. Questionnaires are an economical way of collecting data. It is not only economical to the researcher but also to the respondent in terms of time, effort and cost. The total cost of administering a questionnaire is very low compared to other data collection methods.
They have Standardized Questions which make it easy to collect and analyze data. Since the questionnaire is administered in a written form, all the questions are standardized, making it easy to respond to and ensure uniformity. With questionnaires, all the respondents are subjected to the same questions, thereby making it easy for the researcher to analyze the answers much easier.
Questionnaires also help in the Quantitative data collection. Unlike other data collection methods, which may be rigid and not allow the respondents to clearly voice their opinions, questionnaires help the respondent to properly voice their feelings and notions more openly.
Lastly, they help Reflect the brand voice. With a questionnaire, businesses can be able to analyze how their target audience is responding to their brand. They can be able to see some of the areas that they need to change and those that are working fine for their customers.
Questionnaire VS Survey
Many people, even the most seasoned researchers, usually confuse these two terms. The confusion most likely originates from the fact that these terms were initially used to represent two different processes.
There is a variance between these two terms. A questionnaire is a set of questions used for research purposes, which can either be qualitative or quantitative in nature or both.
A survey, on the other hand, can be defined as the evaluation of opinions or experiences of a given group of people through the use of questions as opposed to questionnaires, which is defined as a collection of questions. The major difference between these two is that a questionnaire may or may not be delivered in the form of a survey, but a survey must always consist of a questionnaire.
A questionnaire in research is an instrument consisting of a set of standardized questions used to obtain statistically useful information on a given subject from one or more respondents.
This usually depends on the type of questions included in the questioner. The questions included may allow qualitative or quantitative responses.
There are two main types of questionnaires, descriptive questionnaire- developed to capture a given topic or issue within a given population of interest, i.e., what exists at the moment- and analytical questionnaire- developed to analyze and explain the relationships between a given concept, i.e., why certain situations currently exist.
Questionnaires are very important tools when it comes to data collection. They are usually used to gather first-hand information on a given population in the form of a survey. There are different types of questionnaires that one can use depending on the type of data they want to collect and the purpose of their survey. As a researcher, it is imperative to know the different types of questionnaires, how to draft a perfect questionnaire, and what to include in your questionnaires. We hope that this article has provided you with all the information you need to develop an effective questionnaire for your study.