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Questionnaire


 Questionnaire
List of a research or survey questions asked to respondents, and designed to extract specific information. It serves four basic purposes: to (1) collect the appropriate data, (2) make data comparable and amenable to analysis, (3) minimize bias in formulating and asking question, and (4) to make questions engaging and varied.

Questionnaire n : a form containing a set of questions; submitted to people to gain statistical information.

A set of questions on a form, submitted to a number of people in order to collect statistical information.

 A questionnaire is a research instrument consisting of a series of questions and other prompts for the purpose of gathering information from respondents. Although they are often designed for statistical analysis of the responses, this is not always the case. The questionnaire was invented by Sir Francis Galton.

Questionnaire Design

 Writing great questions is an art that like all arts requires a great amount of work, practice, and help from others. The following discussion is one that identifies some of the common pitfalls in creating a great questionnaire.
Avoid loaded or leading words or questions
Slight wording changes can produce great differences in results. Could, Should, Might all sound almost the same, but may produce a 20% difference in agreement to a question (The supreme court could.. should.. might.. have forced the breakup of Microsoft Corporation). Strong words that represent control or action, such as prohibit produces similar results (Do you believe that congress should prohibit insurance companies from raising rates?) Sometimes wording is just biased: You wouldn't want to go to Rudolpho's Restaurant for the company's annual party would you?
Misplaced questions
Questions placed out of order or out of context should be avoided. In general, a funnel approach is advised. Broad and general questions at the beginning of the questionnaire as a warm-up. Then more specific questions, followed by more general easy to answer questions like demographics.
Mutually non-exclusive response categories
Multiple choice response categories should be mutually exclusive so that clear choices can be made. Non-exclusive answers frustrate the respondent and make interpretation difficult at best.

Nonspecific questions
Do you like orange juice? This is very unclear...do I like what? Taste, texture, nutritional content, Vitamin C, the current price, concentrate, fresh squeezed? Be specific in what you want to know about. Do you watch TV regularly? (what is regularly?).
Confusing or unfamiliar words
Asking about caloric content, bits, bytes, mbs, and other industry specific jargon and acronyms are confusing. Make sure your audience understands your language level, terminology and above all, what you are asking.
Non-directed questions give respondents excessive latitude
What suggestions do you have for improving tomato juice? The question is about taste, but the respondent may offer suggestions about texture, the type of can or bottle, mixing juices, or something related to use as a mixer or in recipes.
Forcing answers
Respondents may not want, or may not be able to provide the information requested. Privacy is an important issue to most people. Questions about income, occupation, finances, family life, personal hygiene and beliefs (personal, political, religious) can be too intrusive and rejected by the respondent.
Non-exhaustive listings
Do you have all of the options covered? If you are unsure, conduct a pretest using the "Other (please specify) __________" option. Then revise the question making sure that you cover at least 90% of the respondent answers.
Unbalanced listings
Unbalanced scales may be appropriate for some situations and biased in others. When measuring alcohol consumption patterns, One study used a quantity scale that made the heavy drinker appear in the middle of the scale with the polar ends reflecting no consumption and an impossible amount to consume. However, we expect all hospitals to offer good care and may use a scale of excellent, very good, good, fair. We do not expect poor care.
Double barreled questions
What is the fastest and most convenient Internet service for you? The fastest is certainly not the most economical. Two questions should be asked.
Dichotomous questions
Make sure answers are independent. For example the question "Do you think basketball players as being independent agents or as employees of their team?" Some believe that yes, they are both.
Long questions
Multiple choice questions are the longest and most complex. Free text answers are the shortest and easiest to answer. When you Increase the length of questions and surveys, you decrease the chance of receiving a completed response.
Questions on future intentions.
Yogi Berra once said that making predictions is difficult, especially when they are about the future. Predictions are rarely accurate more than a few weeks or in some case months ahead.


Types of questionnaire
 
1. Structured questionnaire

a) Have definite and concrete questions.
b) Is prepared well in advance.
c) Initiates a formal inquiry.
d) Supplements and checks the data, previously accumulated.
e) Used in studies of the economics and the social problems, studies of the administrative policies and changes etc.
2. Unstructured questionnaire
a) Used at the time of the interview.
b) Acts as the guide for the interviewer.
c) Is very flexible in working.
d) Used in studies related to the group of families or those relating to the personal experiences, beliefs etc.
A questionnaire can also be divided as the follows depending on the nature of the questions therein
1. Open ended questionnaire
a) Respondent is free to express his views and the ideas.
b) Used in making intensive studies of the limited number of the cases.
c) Merely an issue is raised by such a questionnaire.
d) Do not provide any structure for the respondent’s reply.
e) The questions and their orders are pre – determined in the nature.
2. Close ended questionnaire
a) Responses are limited to the stated alternatives.
b) One of the alternatives is simply YES or NO.
c) Respondent cannot express his own judgment.
3. Mixed questionnaire
a) Questions are both close and open ended.
b) Used in field of social research.
4. Pictorial questionnaire
a) Used very rarely.
b) Pictures are used to promote the interest in answering the questions.
c) Used in studies related to the social attitudes and the pre – judices in the children

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