Questionnaire Design

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Chapter 4: Questionnaire Design

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Chapter Objectives
Structure Of The Chapter
The qualities of a good questionnaire
Preliminary decisions in questionnaire design
Choose the method(s) of reaching target respondents
Decide on question content
Develop the question wording
Disadvantages are also present when using such questions
Closing questions
Physical appearance of the questionnaire
Piloting the questionnaires
Chapter Summary
Key Terms
Review Questions
Chapter References
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No survey can achieve success without a well-designed questionnaire. Unfortunately, questionnaire design has no theoretical base to guide the marketing researcher in developing a flawless questionnaire. All the researcher has to guide him/her is a lengthy list of do's and don'ts born out of the experience of other researchers past and present. Hence, questionnaire design is more of an art than a science.

Chapter Objectives

This chapter is intended to help the reader to:
·Understand the attributes of a well-designed questionnaire, and ·Adopt a framework for developing questionnaires.

Structure Of The Chapter

A brief account of the key attributes of a sound questionnaire serves as the opening section of the chapter. This is followed by a nine-point framework for developing an effective questionnaire. These are the only two components of this chapter on questionnaire design.

The qualities of a good questionnaire

The design of a questionnaire will depend on whether the researcher wishes to collect exploratory information (i.e. qualitative information for the purposes of better understanding or the generation of hypotheses on a subject) or quantitative information (to test specific hypotheses that have previously been generated). Exploratory questionnaires: If the data to be collected is qualitative or is not to be statistically evaluated, it may be that no formal questionnaire is needed. For example, in interviewing the female head of the household to find out how decisions are made within the family when purchasing breakfast foodstuffs, a formal questionnaire may restrict the discussion and prevent a full exploration of the woman's views and processes. Instead one might prepare a brief guide, listing perhaps ten major open-ended questions, with appropriate probes/prompts listed under each. Formal standardised questionnaires:If the researcher is looking to test and quantify hypotheses and the data is to be analysed statistically, a formal standardised questionnaire is designed. Such questionnaires are generally characterised by: ·prescribed wording and order of questions, to ensure that each respondent receives the same stimuli · prescribed definitions or explanations for each question, to ensure interviewers handle questions consistently and can answer respondents' requests for clarification if they occur · prescribed response format, to enable rapid completion of the questionnaire during the interviewing process. Given the same task and the same hypotheses, six different people will probably come up with six different questionnaires that differ widely in their choice of questions, line of questioning, use of open-ended questions and length. There are no hard-and-fast rules about how to design a questionnaire, but there are a number of points that can be borne in mind: 1. A well-designed questionnaire should meet the research objectives. This may seem obvious, but many research surveys omit important aspects due to inadequate preparatory work, and do not adequately probe particular issues due to poor understanding. To a certain degree some of this is inevitable. Every survey is bound to leave some questions unanswered and provide a need for further research but the objective of good questionnaire design is to 'minimise' these problems. 2. It should obtain the most complete and accurate information possible. The questionnaire designer needs to ensure that respondents fully understand the questions and are not...
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