Steps in Questionnaire Design

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First, the researchers usually look for a pre-constructed questionnaire that he may use for his research. However, if he is unable to find a pre-constructed questionnaire that is acceptable for his research; then, he needs to design a fresh questionnaire specifically for his research.

While developing a questionnaire, the researcher should take care of the following suggestions:

  • Enlist as many relevant questions as possible

  • Prepare and construct his questionnaire after referencing several different questionnaires

  • Develop a good understanding of the field and topic in which he is creating the questionnaire

  • Develop a thorough awareness of the study’s goals and the nature of the data required.

  • Ensure that each question is unique

Creating and using a questionnaire has its own set of benefits and drawbacks. Questionnaires provide a number of advantages:

  • Acts as a low-cost method of data collection

  • Produces a vast amount of information Features an easy-to-understand and respond-to design, making it simple to comprehend and respond to

  • Reactions are simple to quantify

  • Aids in contrasting and comparing other studies

  • Results of a questionnaire are simple to analyse.

  • Surveyor might use the qualitative and quantitative data received from a questionnaire to develop new strategies and learn about the audience’s tendencies

  • Collecting responses from respondents does not always requires to have a personal touch.

Questionnaires also have a number of drawbacks, including:

  • Respondents are occasionally dishonest when answering the questions

  • Understanding and interpreting the responses might be tough in case of open-ended questions

  • A questionnaire isn’t an ideal instrument for learning about respondents’ sentiments and emotions.

  • Respondents may be demotivated by a lack of customisation and may not answer at all.

Steps in Questionnaire Design

Steps involved in the design of a questionnaire are shown in Figure:

Steps in Questionnaire Design
Steps in Questionnaire Design

Initial Considerations

In this step, the researcher needs to decide the purpose of their questionnaire. To do so, the researcher must be familiar with the subject, do a literature review, formulate a hypothesis and then define the information required to test the hypothesis. According to Sarantakos, “A hypothesis can be defined as a tentative explanation of the research problem, a possible outcome of the research, or an educated guess about the research outcome.”

Define the Target Audience

In this step, the researcher needs to identify his target audience. On the basis of his target audience, the researcher can choose whether the questionnaire should be administered to males/females, a particular ethnic group or race, or to people belonging to a particular country, or any such criteria.

Identify the Data Required

In this step, the researcher needs to prepare a list of the information/data required.

Decide the Content and Format of the Question

In this step, the researcher needs to develop the questions required along with their phrasing and response formats. Well-phrased questions result in more accurate and useful data, as they can be easily understood by the target audience.

Select the Type of Questions

In this step, the researcher needs to choose the type of questions to be used in the research. In explorative studies, mostly open-ended questions are used, whereas in quantitative research, close-ended questions are used.

Make a Plan of Statistical Analysis

In this step, the researcher needs to decide which statistical tests are to be included in the research. This step is helpful in drawing a dummy table with the data of interest. This will be helpful in determining the type of results you wish to get.

Design the Sequence and Layout and the Question

In this step, the researcher designs the sequence of questions and the layout of the questionnaire. Generally, the questionnaire starts with easy questions and then goes on to more difficult questions. Ideally, the sensitive questions should be placed somewhere in the middle. Avoid putting the most important questions in the last. Self-administered surveys are probably the most difficult to design, because appearance is so important in motivating responses.

You can be sure that if the text is too small, the instructions are unclear, or the design is unprofessional or cluttered, it will have an instant impact on both the total response rate. In self-administered questionnaires, the respondent is intended to complete the questionnaire without the assistance of others. As a result, self-administered questionnaires should be visually appealing and printed with clear guidance and skip patterns. Professional interviewers handle telephone questionnaires. It is common to work backwards from the number of participants to estimate the sample size.

The analysis requires replies (completed surveys) A reasonable guideline is to expect roughly 20-30 responses in each of the categories from sample’s major subcategories. For instance, If you want to compare male and female studies, you need to look for roughly 30 men and women in your responses, there were 30 males and 30 females. This number must then be changed. It’s not very uncommon for survey response rates to hover around 20%, which indicates sending out five times the number of questionnaires you expect to be returned. For the scenario above, 300 questions would be required.

Add Administrative Instructions

In this step, the researcher needs to add instructions for the administrator, i.e. the person who will administer the questionnaires to the respondents. Also, the questionnaire contains definitions of keywords for the ease of participants.

Pilot Test and Revise

In this step, the researcher conducts a pilot test and does revisions in questionnaires as necessary. In the survey development process, pre-testing questionnaires are critical. Pretesting will help in framing the questions which can be easily understood by the respondent and they will reply truthfully. When we focus on how individuals answer our questions when pre-testing surveys because there are a lot of them.

When responding to our survey, our respondents may go through a variety of different stages. Finally, we want to make sure that respondents understand and react to questions in a consistent manner in the way that our research is planned. We’ll use pre-testing to see if people grasp what we’re saying about the questions, as well as whether or not they are capable of performing the tasks or possess the information that requires a question.

Finalise and Implement

In this step, the researcher needs to finalise the questionnaire. For this, he must ensure that each question is clear, simple and brief and the layout is clear. Finally, the questionnaire is launched. Face-to-face questionnaire administration, in which the items are presented orally by an interviewer. The administration of a paper-and-pencil questionnaire, in which the items are provided on paper.

Computer-assisted questionnaire administration, in which the items are displayed on a computer screen. Adaptive computerised questionnaire administration, in which a selection of items is shown on the computer, and the computer selects subsequent items optimised for the testee’s estimated skill or attribute based on the replies to those things.

The final shape of the questions and questionnaire will have evolved into its final form if the questionnaire has been put to a comprehensive pilot test. Only the mechanical procedure of laying out and setting up the questionnaire in its final form remains. This will entail arranging and sequencing questions in a logical order, as well as numbering questions and including interviewer instructions.

In conclusion, we can say that questionnaire design involves finalising the content of the questions, their structure, wording, sequencing, form and layout, directions, and deciding the question difficulty before finally testing the questionnaire.

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