Questionnaires and schedules are very much used in gathering a variety of data. They have been used for the collection of personal preferences, social beliefs, attitudes, opinions, behavior patterns, group practices, habits and other kinds of data. The increasing use of schedules and questionnaires is probably due to increased emphasis by social scientists on quantitative measure¬ment of uniformly accumulated data. A questionnaire is a tool for data collection. It consists of a number of questions printed or typed in a definite order on a form or a set of forms. It is administered to a respondent either person¬ally or through mail. The respondent answers the questions on his own without being aided. Questionnaires are now widely used collecting data, particularly when data are to be collected from a large number of people who are scattered over a wide area. They are used both as indepen¬dent and separate method of collecting data. They are also used as an additional device to check data gathered through observation and personal interview. Definition of Questionnaire:
1. “A questionnaire is a means of gathering information by having the respondents fill in answers to printed questions” —Wallace and Wallace. 2. “Fundamentally, the questionnaire is a set of stimuli to which literate people are exposed in order to observe their verbal behavior under these stimuli —Lundberg. 3. Good and Hatte define questionnaire as a device for securing answers to questions using a form which the respondent fills in himself 4. Questionnaire studies are systematic ways of asking questions under scientific controls. A questionnaire is a device in which the respondents fill in their responses in specified manner personally.
Questionnaire and the Interview Guide:
The questionnaire is designed to collect data from large, diverse and widely scattered groups of people. The questionnaire is generally sent through e mail to the informants to be answered as specified and without further assistance from the sender. Questionnaire:
The word “Questionnaire” refers to a device for securing answers to questions by using a form which the respondent fills in theirself. Schedule or Interview Schedule:
“Schedule” or “interview schedule” is the name usually applied to a set of questions which are asked and filled in by an interviewer in a face-to-face situation with another person. In its form and content, a schedule is similar to the questionnaire. The main difference between the questionnaire and schedule is that— the questionnaire is filled in by the respondent on his own, whereas the schedule is filled in by the interviewer. Ways of Obtaining Response through the Questionnaire Method: There are two ways through which the responses of the informants could be collected. Re¬sponses of the informants could be collected through questionnaire method (i) by mailing the ques¬tionnaires to the selected people under study, or (ii) by asking the questions to them directly in an interview. Mailed questionnaires have some advantage over interviews, including saving money and time, convenience to the respondents who can reply at will. There is greater assurance for them that the respondents will remain anonymous; and that questions will not be put in various tricky ways; and that the respondents are not biased by the interviewer. Further there is greater chance for the respondents to find time to consult other sources before responding. There is greater ease of access to the people who are widely separated geographically. Types of Questionnaire:
Questionnaires can be classified into two broad types:
(i) Structured Questionnaires, and
(ii) Unstructured Questionnaires.
i. Structured Questionnaires:
Structured questionnaires are those which pose definite, concrete and prepared questions. It means the questions are prepared in advance and not constructed on the spot during the questioning period. Additional questions may be used only when need or inadequate replies by informants. These structured questionnaires may be of two broad types: (a) Closed-Form or Poll Type or Selective Type Questionnaire, and (b) Open-End or Inventive Type Questionnaire.
(a) Closed-Form Questionnaire. In closed-form questionnaire, a number of alternative an¬swers are provided at the end of each question and the task is, the informant has to choose one of them. This is also called “Poll-Type “or “Selective-Type” of questionnaire for the informant has to select one among the answers supplied by the investigator himself. His choice of giving his own answer is not permitted and hence it is a “closed-type”. “Example: Where do you wish to live in? (1) City, (2) Suburb, (3) Village? (b) Open-End Type or Inventive Type. In this type, questions are not followed by any reedy- made answers. The informant has to think of the answer himself and he is free to answer as he likes. The open-end responses are free and spontaneous expressions on the part of the informant who is not limited in his replies to a particular question posed to him. This is also called “inventive type” for the respondent has to think of or invent the answer for himself. The respondent may be asked to write a descriptive essay and express his viewpoints, describe his relationships, attitudes, indicate his prob¬lems, and report on details and events without restrictions imposed as in the type of closed questions Structured questionnaires are used in a wide range of projects which may pertain to studies of economic or social problems, measurement of public opinion on public issues or events, studies of administrative policies, studies on cost of living, consumer expenditures, child welfare, public health and numerous other issues.