The steps involved in designing a questionnaire are as follows
- Convert the research objectives into the knowledge needed
- Method of administering the questionnaire,
- Content of the questions
- Motivating the respondent to answer
- Determinative the sort of questions
- Question design criteria
- Determine the structure of questionnaire
- Testing the questionnaire
1. Convert the research objectives into the information needed
The respondent should develop a clear idea about the target audience he would need to study. It is the most critical stage and the researcher is assumed to have done considerable exploratory work to have crystallized objectives of the study. One has achieved the following tasks
- Elucidate clearly the specific research questions that the study will address.
- Converted questions into statements of objectives.
- Operationalized the variables to be studied, i.e., the variables under study should have been clearly defined.
- Identified the direction of the relation or any other assumption one makes about the variables under study in the form of a hypothesis.
- Specified the information needed for the study, in this case one will look at the information needed from the primary data source
2. Method of administering the questionnaire
Once the researcher has identified his information area; he needs to specify how the information should be collected. The researcher usually has available to him a variety of methods for administering the study. The main methods are personal schedule self-administered questionnaire through mail, fax, e-mail and web-based. There are different preconditions for using one method over the other.
3. Content of the questions
Decision has to be made on include or excluding certain questions depends upon a criterion. Before using any of the framed questions the researcher needs to subject the questions designed by him to an objective quality check in order to ascertain what research objective/information need the question would be covering. One needs to remember that the time of the respondent is precious and it should not be wasted. Unless a question is adding to the data required for reaching an answer to the formulated problem, it should not be included
4. Motivating the respondent to answer
The questionnaire should be designed in a manner that it motivates him/her to give exact information. There might be two kinds of barrier for active participation by respondent:
- The respondent might not be able to respond in the right manner.
- The respondent might be reluctant to part with the information.
5. Determining the type of questions,
The researcher comes to taking a decision on the response categories. The essential difference is whether the response options would be given to the respondent or will they be left open to be completed in the respondent’s own words.
6. Question design criteria,
The questionnaire should be so designed as to stimulate the respondent to give comprehensive information regarding a particular topic under study. To save time add qualifying or filter questions measure the experience or knowledge of a respondent about the concerned research topic.
7. Determine the questionnaire structure,
Every questionnaires follow a standardized sequence Put the questions together in a sequence that is respondent-friendly and generates the required data in a short time and effective manner. Most importantly explain about the purpose of questionnaire administration and do introduce the respondent to the researcher’s objective
8. Pilot testing the questionnaire
Before publishing it is recommended on testing and administering the designed instrument on a small group of people from the population under study. This is quite helpful in finding any errors that might have still remained even after following the steps.