A Comprehensive Guide on Questionnaires
What is a Questionnaire?
A questionnaire is a set of questions used to gather information from a single individual. The information can be either qualitative or quantitative. Although used interchangeably, a questionnaire is slightly different from a survey.
Questionnaires do not need to be delivered in the form of a survey. For example, you might just create a questionnaire for an employee at work. The questions you ask would help you gauge the employees skill set and could serve to help the employee understand what skills he or she needs.
Put simply, a survey is designed with the intentions to summarize data from a group of people. A questionnaire is used to obtain information about an induvial, which doesn’t have to be part of a survey.
Tips on Creating a Questionnaire
Make sure that respondents are focused by only showing them relevant questions that are specific to your research. A great way to do this is by using skip logic to eliminate irrelevant questions. For example, if you have a set of questions pertaining to males and females, put those questions on different pages and use logic to only show the appropriate ones.
The question text and number of questions should be held to a minimum to keep respondents motivated to complete your survey.
Do a Test Survey:
Send practice questionnaires to ensure people understand the questions. People will be able to give feedback on the questionnaire design; you can make improvements as needed.
Questions should progress from the least sensitive to the most sensitive (e.g strong dislike to strong like) and from the more general to the more specific. The creator should also ensure that the answer to a question is not influenced by previous questions.
There should be a minimum amount of technical terms used. Questions should be simple, to the point and easy to understand. Doing this ensures a higher completion rate.
A common problem with questionnaires is that respondents may lie due to social pressures. Most people want to present a positive image of themselves and so may lie or bend the truth to look good. Even worse people might not fill out your questionnaire if they fear their answers can be tracked back to them (most commonly for employee engagement surveys). To combat this, simply make your questionnaire anonymous! This is a free feature and guarantees your respondent can have the peace of mind knowing they are truly anonymous.
What Type of Questions to Ask?
There are two types of questions you include on your questionnaire. Closed answer questions (such as multiple choice) or open ended questions (e.g. a respondent filling out a text box). Generally it is a good idea to use both.
Closed Answer Questions:
Closed answer questions only allow responses which fit into pre-decided categories.
Data that can be placed into a category is called nominal data. The category can be restricted to two options (dichotomous ) such as male or female, or include complex lists from which the respondent can choose (polytomous).
Closed questions can also provide ordinal data. This often involves using a continuous rating scale to measure the strength of attitudes or emotions. For example asking for job satisfaction on a rating 5 point scale from very dissatisfied to very satisfied.
Open Ended Questions:
Open ended questions allow people to express answers in their own words in as much detail as needed. For example: "What did you dislike most about the last event?"
SurveyKing incorporates word clouds for these open ended questions. Using this you can easily organize a list of most commonly found words or phrases in your data.
Questionniare Examples & Templates
Need to write a questionnaire, but want a little guidance on the right questions to use? We have you covered! Our pre-written templates make it easy to pick through a series of questions, understand the difference between open questions and closed questions, and quicky start collecting the data you need.
Our sample template questions are created by professional survey methodologists to make sure you ask questions the right way–and get accurate results. You can send the templates as is, add or subtract additional questions, and customize the template themes to fit your own style.