There are different types of survey research instruments used by researchers and students in sourcing data for their thesis and other projects. However, the questionnaire is the most commonly used. The reason for this is not far fetched. The questionnaire saves time and contains information on what the researcher seeks. Where the questionnaire is not correctly written or done, there is a likelihood of it not achieving good reliability and validity. Without a well-designed questionnaire, no survey will be successful. Regrettably, there is no theoretical foundation for survey questionnaires to aid the student or researcher in creating a reliable and consistent questionnaire.
All the researcher is required to get started is a long list of potential pitfalls based on the experiences of previous and current researchers. As a result, creating a questionnaire is more of an art than scientific facts. The process of creating a survey questionnaire entails several steps. The first step is to decide which themes will be addressed in the questionnaire. This entails considering what is going on in the immediate society of the researcher and around the world and what will benefit the readers, decision-makers, and the information providers. It is also important to check public perspectives on a myriad of subjects over time, so it is a critical point for researchers to master the art.
Types of Questionnaire
The questionnaire structure will be determined by whether the researcher wants to gather exploratory data (i.e. qualitative data for deeper comprehension or generate hypothesis on the phenomenon at hand) or quantitative data (to examine the relationship, influence and effect between and among variables). The types of questionnaire include:
An exploratory questionnaire might not be required if the information obtained is qualitative and not statistically evaluated. A structured questionnaire, for instance, might limit the discourse and inhibit a full exploration of a specific demographic view and procedures when asking the fa specific gender to learn how household decisions are taken when procuring meals food products. Instead, a quick framework with ten major survey questionnaires and suitable measurements could be prepared.
Formal standardized questionnaires
This questionnaire is crafted when the researcher needs to test and quantify hypotheses while analyzing the data if it is statistically significant. Typical characteristics of such questionnaires are:
- To verify that each participant earns the same stimulation, the statement and order of the questions were advised.
- Pre-determined meanings or interpretations for each question, so interviewers can manage questions consistently and answer back to respondents’ requests for information if they arise.
- A pre-determined response format was used to allow for quick completion of the questionnaire during the interviewing process.
Qualities of a Good Questionnaire
Given the same project and assumptions, different individuals will almost certainly create different survey questions, each with its own number of criteria, line of inquiry, utilization open-ended questions, and magnitude. There are no long and hard guidelines for designing a survey, but there are a few things to keep in mind:
- The research aim and objectives should be met by well-designed survey questions. This seems self-evident, but most research surveys leave out significant facts due to a lack of preparation and do not sufficiently measure particular concerns due to a lack of insight. To some extent, some of this is unavoidable. Every survey will inevitably leave some unresolved questions, necessitating additional research, but effective questionnaire design aims to minimize these issues.
- It should collect the most comprehensive and reliable data possible. The student the questionnaire must be designed so that the respondents understand the questions and are unlikely to avoid answering, lie to the investigator, or try to hide their feelings. A good survey is structured and written to encourage respondents to provide exact, impartial, and reliable information.
- A well-designed survey should make it simple for respondents to provide the information necessary and for the questioner (student) to track the response and allow for sound analysis and evaluation.
- It would leave the survey short and to the point, and it would be set up so that the respondent(s) would be engaged all through.
How to Develop a Questionnaire in 5 Steps
Questionnaire development is a participatory and dynamic process in which a researcher or student meets several times throughout the questionnaire’s development to clarify drafts with the supervisor based on existing literature. The following steps would provide the student with the right information on how to develop a robust questionnaire.
Step 1: Choosing the information needed
It is significant to mention that one does not begin by asking questions. The first step is to determine “what information from the participant is expected to address the survey’s purposes?” These should arise in the research brief and the pilot study, as stated.
Step 2: Use the Right Wordings
Most students are interested in tracking variations in society’s views, perspectives, and behavioral patterns concerning an issue over time. Questions are raised at two or more locations in time to examine the relationship between variables. A cross-sectional study explores a variety of people from the same demography at different moments. To retain a line with this vision, when the question was asked originally, it is essential to use the exact question wording and be attentive to where it is asked when assessing variability. The wordings for the questionnaire can be adopted from similar studies being conducted in the same area.
Step 3. Define your target audience
The researcher must first select a sample that they wish to generalize from the sample data that will be gathered. For instance, in consumer research, researchers must frequently decide if to include those current customers of the standard market segment or non-users. The second step is for research teams to create a random selection. Third, when designing a questionnaire, The student must consider some factors such as demographics which include gender, age, years of experience
Step 4: Create A Robust Content
Is this question genuinely necessary? Researchers must be ready to ask. The tendency to include questions without critically examining their difference to the success of the survey questionnaire, as mentioned in the research proposal, is potent. No question should be included unless such information it generates is generally relevant to measuring one or more of the assumptions that were created during the study design. Only two situations warrant the inclusion of supposedly redundant questions:
Opening queries that are simple to answer do not appear intimidating and are regarded as intriguing can showing greater considerable in achieving the respondent’s participation in the questionnaire and establishing a professional relationship. This is not, however, a strategy that should be used frequently. It is almost always the scenario that questions used to test theories can also test other hypotheses.
Step 5. Sectionalize Your Questionnaire
Sectionalize the question to capture the variables used in the study. The independent variables, mediating variable, and dependent variable should be addressed in each section of the questions
- Opening questions: The opening questions should be simple to explain and should not put the respondents in danger. The first issue is critical because it introduces the respondent to the question and answer session and establishes the task’s characteristics. If they identify the first inquiry as hard to comprehend, or if it is much further than their experience and knowledge, or if it is humiliating in any way, they are likely to abandon right away. On the other hand, if they discover answering the initial question enjoyable and straightforward, they are motivated to proceed.
- Question flow: Questions should be asked in an emotional sequence, giving rise to the next naturally and effortlessly. Questions on a single topic or a specific aspect of a topic should be clustered together. Respondents may find it unsettling to be shifted from one subject matter to the other or to be asked to come back to a particular topic on which they thought they had previously expressed their opinions.
- Variety of questions: Respondents become bored and restless quickly when asked similar questions for half an hour or more. Changing the respondent’s task periodically typically enhances feedback.
Step 6 : The Questionnaire should not be Lengthy
It should be made brief, precise and address the variables that the student is investigating. The student can also adopt and adapt questions used in similar studies. This will help improve the reliability of the research instrument.