Questionnaires are a research instrument, Consisting of a series of questions to gather information from respondents. Questionnaires can be thought of as a kind of written interview. They can be carried out face to face, by telephone, computer or post. Questionnaires provide a relatively cheap, quick, and efficient way of obtaining large amounts of information from a large sample of people.
Questionnaires can be an effective means of measuring the behavior, attitudes, preferences, opinions and, intentions of relatively large numbers of subjects more cheaply and quickly than other methods.
Types of Questionnaires
- Structured Questionnaires: Structured questionnaires collect quantitative data. The questionnaire is planned and designed to gather precise information. It also initiates a formal inquiry, supplements data, checks previously accumulated data, and helps validate any prior hypothesis.
- Unstructured Questionnaires: Unstructured questionnaires collect qualitative data. They use a basic structure and some branching questions but nothing that limits the responses of a respondent. The questions are more open-ended to collect specific data from participants.
Advantages of Questionnaire
- With a questionnaire, you can gather a lot of data in less time.
- There is less chance of any bias creeping if you have a standard set of questions to be used to your target audience. You can apply logic to questions based on the respondents’ answers, but the questionnaire will remain standard for a group of respondents that fall in the same segment.
- Surveying online survey software is quick and cost-effective. It offers you a rich set of features to design, distribute, and analyze the response data.
- It can be customized to reflect your brand voice. Thus, it can be used to reinforce your brand image.
- The responses can be compared with the historical data and understand the shift in respondents’ choices and experiences.
- Respondents can answer the questionnaire without revealing their identity. Also, many survey software complies with significant data security and privacy regulations.
Types of Questions in a Questionnaire
You can use multiple question types in a questionnaire. Some of the widely used types of questions are:
- Open-Ended Questions: They help collect qualitative data in a questionnaire where the respondent can answer in a free form with little to no restrictions.
- Dichotomous Questions: The dichotomous question is generally a “yes/no” close-ended question. This question is usually used in case of the need for necessary validation. It is the most natural form of a questionnaire.
- Multiple-Choice Questions: The multiple-choice question consists of incomplete questions, right answers, or incorrect answers, close alternatives, and distractors. Of course, not all multiple-choice questions have all of the answer types.
- Scaling Questions: These questions are based on the principles of the four measurement scales – nominal, ordinal, interval, and ratio. A few of the question types that utilize these scales’ fundamental properties are rank order questions, Likert scale questions, semantic differential scale questions, and Stapel scale questions.
- Pictorial Questions: This question type is easy to use and encourages respondents to answer. It works similarly to a multiple-choice question. Respondents are asked a question, and the answer choices are images. This helps respondents choose an answer quickly without over-thinking their answers, giving you more accurate data.