Characteristics of a good questionnaire

Use of questionnaires

Questionnaires are a common and inexpensive research tool used by private companies, government departments, individuals, groups, NGOs etc to get feedback, research, collect data from consumer, customers. or from general public depending on the need. Questionnaire plays an important role in surveys and in other purposes for which it is being made and there are many points which needs to be kept in mind so as to get the desired results. These are one of the most important part of primary surveys and the data collected us generally meant for the end-user/company for which survey is being conducted. However when the data collection is large an independent firm or a department can be given the task of getting the questionnaire filled. It is not possible to conduct a primary survey without a questionnaire. There are several characteristics of a good questionnaire, some of the important qualities of Good Questionnaire are described below :

Qualities & characteristics of a good questionnaire

  •  Need to know what needs to be measured – Having a clear picture and understanding of what data needs to be collected contributes to the quality of data collection
  • Should know how to word/frame question and words should be neutral and should not be leading – Whatever your opinion may be, own opinion should never be reflected in the questions. This is done both intentionally and unintentionally but should be taken care of.
  • Emphasis on right word/phrase should be kept in mind – The language should be clear so that the required data can be received. This also makes the question and the requirement of survey easy to understand and thus help in getting a better response and answer.
  • Define and qualify terms – This is most essential when a technical survey or a field specific survey is being done. If you think that the audience being surveyed might not know about some terms than they must be defined to get any proper response. This will increase the quality and decrease the bounce rate or number of questions which were left unanswered.
  • Avoid double negatives or more than 1 negative word in question – Use of negative word has a psychological effect and can influence the answer.
  • Sufficient or adequate alternatives should be provided – Available options should have the most expected answers
  • Multiple questions in question should be avoided – One question should have one answer. If more than one question needs to be asked than it should be made a separate question to improve clarity of questions.
  • Word requiring emphasis should be emphasized – It helps in making a point and question clear
  • options like good/bad/fair/average should be quantified through photographs or other mean – These are very vague terms and interpretations of these varies from person to person
  • Unwanted assumptions should be avoided – A survey is about getting factual data and assumptions should be avoided.


What to avoid in a Good Questionnaire?

Apart from the characteristics of a good questionnaire listed above there are certain negative points which should be avoided as far as possible.

Greater than required length – If there are too many questions than the chances of getting them answered is very less. In a busy schedule no one is willing to give answer for too many question. So try to keep it short and to the point. A good questionnaire is short and precise to fulfill the requirement, try to keep it under 1 page.

Subjective Questions –  Until and unless it is very necessary to get the opinion of the user or targeted group, subjective or open-ended questions should be avoided. This is because everyone have a different perspective and the answer received might not give any useful information. It will be difficult to quantify and present. It is also seen that people start narrating their experiences in open-ended questions which does not add much value to the research being conducted. It also takes a lot of space, time and efforts so should be avoided.

Contradicting questions – Before getting a questionnaire filled make sure to read it three to four-time. This is to ensure no question is contradicting or repeating.

Objectify/bias/conclusion – This is one of the most frequent mistakes done while preparing a questionnaire. Always keep in mind that the survey being conducted needs to be unbiased and must not reflect any opinion of the company or the person preparing questionnaire. All the questions should be neutral, also no question should influence the answer of any other question.

This will help in making a good questionnaire

Following the above mentioned characteristics and characteristics of good questionnaire will help your questionnaire to  be easy to answer for the audience. It will yield better results in terms of answer received. It will help in analyzing the data and concluding a better result.

Characteristics of Good Questionnaire

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