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The Qualities of a Good Questionnaire

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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. The aim of a questionnaire is to gather information for purposes of research for market surveys, analysis or even to corroborate other research findings. They are one of the cheapest and most feasible ways of gathering data. It is important to remember that for any questionnaire to be really effective it has to be designed well.

A sample questionnaire can help you formulate a good questionnaire. The standard questionnaire design is a set of questions with fixed alternatives. These alternatives could be dichotomous (having only two options e.g. yes/no), multiple options or rank scaling, etc. All the readers need to do is tick the most appropriate answer according to them. Any questionnaire, be it a health questionnaire or a product questionnaire, must have a specific objective. Generally questionnaires have subjective/objective and qualitative/quantitative options depending on their type. A customer satisfaction questionnaire may have more qualitative/subjective parameters for gauging.

The Qualities of a Good Questionnaire

To draft a questionnaire or schedule is an art. The success of statistical investigation depends on proper drafting of the questionnaire. It is a highly specialized job and following points should be borne in mind:

1. Brief and Limited Questionnaire:

The number of questions in a schedule should be brief and limited as possible. Only relevant questions to the problem under investigation should be added.

2. Simple and Clear:

The questions should be simple, clear and precise. Its language should be very simple so that informants may easily understand.

3. Unambiguous Questions:

All unambiguous questions should be avoided at all, complicated and long-worded questions irritate the respondents which results in careless; replies.

4. No Personal Questions:

No personal question should be asked from, respondents. Such questions should be avoided.

5. Use of Proper Words:

Questions should be framed with right words. This ensures the validity.

6. Avoidance of Calculations:

Questions should not be based on calculations. Only those questions should be asked which the respondents may reply immediately. Moreover, questions should avoid memories.

7. Only Objective Questions:

The questions should be objective. It should be based on opinions of the individuals.

8. Sequence of the Questions:

The arrangement of the questions should be such so that no question may slip back. It must involve a logical flow of questions.

9. Pre-testing:

Before sending the questionnaire to the respondents, it must be properly tested.

10. Instructions:

Precise and simple instructions of filling the questionnaire should be added in the foot note.

11. Cross Examination:

The questionnaire should be set in such a way that there may be cross examination of the information supplied by the informants. In fact, it is a check on false or inaccurate answers.

12. Secret Information:

Every respondent should be ensured that information given by them shall be kept secret.

13. Attractive Questionnaire:

Proper care should be taken to make the questionnaire attractive. A well set questionnaire will certainly impress the recipient.

Basic rules for questionnaire item construction

Use statements which are interpreted in the same way by members of different subpopulations of the population of interest. Use statements where persons that have different opinions or traits will give different answers. Think of having an “open” answer category after a list of possible answers. Use only one aspect of the construct you are interested in per item. Use positive statements and avoid negatives or double negatives. Do not make assumptions about the respondent.

Use clear and comprehensible wording, easily understandable for all educational levels Use correct spelling, grammar and punctuation.
Avoid items that contain more than one question per item (e.g. Do you like strawberries and potatoes?). Question should not be biased or even leading the participant towards an answer.

The responses are gathered in a standardized way, so questionnaires are more objective, certainly more so than interviews.

Generally it is relatively quick to collect information using a questionnaire. However in some situations they can take a long time not only to design but also to apply and analyze (see disadvantages for more information).

Potentially information can be collected from a large portion of a group. This potential is not often realized, as returns from questionnaires are usually low. However return rates can be dramatically improved if the questionnaire is delivered and responded to in class time.

Large amounts of information can be collected from a large number of people in a short period of time and in a relatively cost effective way

Can be carried out by the researcher or by any number of people with limited affect to its validity and reliability

The results of the questionnaires can usually be quickly and easily quantified by either a researcher or through the use of a software package

When data has been quantified, it can be used to compare and contrast other research and may be used to measure change

Positivists believe that quantitative data can be used to create new theories and / or test existing hypotheses


Is argued to be inadequate to understand some forms of information – i.e. changes of emotions, behaviour, feelings etc.

Phenomenologist’s state that quantitative research is simply an artificial creation by the researcher, as it is asking only a limited amount of information without explanation.

Lacks validity.

There is no way to tell how truthful a respondent is being.

There is no way of telling how much thought a respondent has put in.

The respondent may be forgetful or not thinking within the full context of the situation.

People may read differently into each question and therefore reply based on their own interpretation of the question – i.e. what is ‘good’ to someone may be ‘poor’ to someone else, therefore there is a level of subjectivity that is not acknowledged.

There is a level of researcher imposition, meaning that when developing the questionnaire, the researcher is making their own decisions and assumptions as to what is and is not important…therefore they may be missing something that is of importance.




Note: Please tick ( ) mark in the squares which apply to you.

1. General. (This information will be kept confidential).
Name……………………………. Age…………………. Address………………………….. Sex: Male Female ……………………………………….
Marital Status:
Married Unmarried Any other
Monthly income No. of members in the family
Rs. 0-10’000 1-3
Rs. 10,000-20,000 4-6
Rs. 20,000-30,000 Above 6
Rs. Above 30,000

2. Do you wear makeup?
a) Yes
b) No

3. Why do you buy cosmetic products?
a) Health
b) Beauty
c) Civility

4. Which are the factors when you decide to purchase cosmetic products? a) Brand
b) Special offer or promotion
c) Packing
d) Quality
e) Recommendation from friend
f) Price

5. Which of our cosmetics do you like most?
a) Lipstick
b) Cream
c) Powder
d) Nail polish

6. Do you like our cosmetics because?
a) They are reasonably priced? Yes No
b) They are easily available? Yes No
c) They are liked and used by your friends? Yes No
d) You have a fancy for them? Yes No

7. Do you prefer Lakme mainly due to:
a) Perfume Yes No
b) Material Yes No
c) Colour Yes No
d) Packing Yes No

8. Do you feel that our cosmetics add to your grace and beauty? a) Yes
b) No

9. Do you find our product costly?
a) yes
b) No

10. Do your friends often ask the cosmetics you have used in parties, functions, marriages and get-together? a) Yes
b) No

11. Do you visit our showrooms in various parts of the city? a) Yes
b) No

12. Do you think our company should manufacture a new cosmetic? a) Yes
b) No

13. Which product do you think needs improvement?
a) Lipstick
b) Cream
c) Powder
d) Nail polish

14. What don’t you like about your brand?
a) Price (too expensive)
b) Price (too cheap)
c) Aesthetics are great but no improvement in my skin
d) Aesthetics are poor but it works
e) Doesn’t really cater for my skin needs
15. Have you ever had an adverse reaction after using these brand products? a) Yes
b) No

This project describes questionnaire which help companies, govt. and different organization about the interest and condition of the people. It’s also an easiest way to survey about a particular thing but sometimes it can’t be done in a very large group of people. So, Questionnaire is easiest but sometimes hardest way to collect data.

Statistics for Economics-by NM Shah

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