How to design a good questionnaire? Six tips for good questionnaire


Nowadays questionnaire is widely used for data collection in social research. It is a reasonably fair tool for gathering data from large, diverse, varied and scattered social groups. Drafting of a good questionnaire is a highly specialized job and requires great care skill, wisdom, efficiency and experience. There is no hard and fast rule for designing or framing a questionnaire. However, the following general points shall be kept in mind

Size Of The Questionnaire

A researcher should try his best to keep the number of questions as small as possible, keeping in view the nature, objectives and scope of the enquiry. Respondent’s time should not be wasted by asking irrelevant and unimportant questions. A large number of questions would involve more work for the investigator and thus result in a delay on his part in collecting and submitting the information. A large number of unnecessary questions may annoy the respondent and he/she may refuse to cooperate. A reasonable questionnaire might contain from 15 to 25 questions at large. If a still larger number of questions are a must in any enquiry, then the questionnaire should be divided into various sections or parts.

Questions Should be Clear

The questions should be easy, brief, unambiguous, non-offending, courteous in tone, corroborative in nature and to the point, so that much scope of guessing is left on the part of the respondents.

Arrange the questions in a Logical Sequence

Logical arrangement of questions reduces a lot of unnecessary work on the part of the researcher because it not only facilitates the tabulation work but also does not leave any chance for omissions or commissions.

For example, to find if a person owns a Car, the logical order of questions would be: Do you own a car? When did you buy it? What is its make? How much did it cost you? Is its performance satisfactory? Have you ever got it serviced?

Questions Should Be Simple To Understand

The vague words like good, bad, efficient, sufficient, prosperity, rarely, frequently, reasonable, poor, rich etc., should not be used since these may be interpreted differently by different persons and as such might give unreliable and misleading information. Similarly, the use of words having double meaning like price, assets, capital income etc., should also
be avoided.

Questions Should Be Comprehensive & Easily Answerable

Questions should be designed in such a way that they are readily comprehensible and easy to answer for the respondents. They should not be tedious nor should they tax the respondents’ memory. At the same time questions involving mathematical calculations like percentages, ratios etc., should not be asked.

Questions Of Personal & Sensitive Nature Should Not Be Asked

There are some questions which disturb the respondents and he/ she may be shy or irritated by hearing such questions. Therefore, every effort should be made to avoid such questions. For example, ‘do you cook yourself or your wife cooks?’ ‘Or do you drink?’ Such questions will certainly irk the respondents and thus be avoided at any cost. If unavoidable then the highest amount of politeness should be used.

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Author and Assistant Professor in Finance, Ardent fan of Arsenal FC. Always believe "The only good is knowledge and the only evil is ignorance - Socrates"
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