Research Methods Activity > Questionnaires
“It is harder to produce a really good questionnaire than might be imagined.”
Reasons for Using
If carefully planned, it is a useful method for gathering a large number of generaldata and opinions from a large number of people relatively quickly.
Often useful at the start of a project – can provide baseline data and shape thenature of questions you wish to ask in interviews or consider when observing.
Before proceeding with a questionnaire the following needs to be considered: whattype of information is needed to answer the research questions and who are therespondents?
How responses will be analysed needs to considered at the design stage.
Go back to hypothesis/objectives and decide on the questions you need to ask toachieve these objectives - then work on ordering & wording.
Each question should have a purpose.
There are a number of issues regarding the wording of questions:
Type of question needs to considered. There are seven types of question, each withdifferent benefits: verbal/open, list, category, ranking, quantity, grid & scale.
Start with questions about the factual information required.
Do a pilot run and make adjustments as necessary.
Questions do not always have to use words.
Anonymity: questionnaires are often anonymous. Need to consider that anonymitymeans that responses cannot be followed up with individuals. Preservation of anonymity of respondents needs to carefully considered if promised.
How are you going to collect?
Adults: In person or pigeonhole drop? Collecting in person leads to a muchhigher response rate. Otherwise, distribute twice as many as are needed!
Pupils: Completing collectively in class normally works well. An appropriateatmosphere can be created to ensure respondents answer questions ingood faith. Need to minimise the potential for influence by research and peer pressure. Questions can be read out – especially useful for mixed abilitygroups.
Plan how you will deal with non-response.
Collate data as you get it – often by tally.
Open-ended responses are more difficult – can be categorised by researcher,however there is an issue of the researcher attributing meaning. Otherwise, readthrough and note the significant points and the number of times they were cited.
Describe & explain the results – use charts & graphs to express results visually.Also need to find out if the results are statistically significant.
Issues to consider when wordingquestions
avoidambiguity/imprecisionavoid makingassumptionsavoid respondentsusing their memoryconsider reading abilityof respondentsbe careful with sensitiveissue questionsavoidhypothetical questionsavoidpresuming questionsavoidleading questionsavoiddouble questionsavoid questionsrequiring knowledge