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Qualities of a Good Questionnaire and types of Questions

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  • Last Updated : 23 May, 2022

Meaning of questionnaire:

A questionnaire is a research instrument used by any researcher as a tool to collect data or gather information from any source or subject of his or her interest from the respondents. It has a specific goal to understand topics from the respondent’s point of view. It consists of a set of written or printed questions with a choice of answers devised for survey or statistical studies. It is the most popular type of primary data collection, which can be used to gather both quantitative data ( in form of numerals) and qualitative data (in form of words and figures) or mixed data, which is a  continuation of both quantitative and qualitative data. 

Example:

A brand new website or even an existing brand can use a feedback form to gather data about what costumers like or do not like on their website. This kind of information is essential for the brands to get an unbiased insight into how their brand is perceived by the customer.

A sample website feedback form can be as follow:

Question 1. How many times have you visited the website in the past month?

Answer:

  1. Once
  2. More than once
  3. None

Question 2. What is your primary reason for visiting the website?

Answer:

  1. To purchase courses
  2. To read articles
  3. To contribute
  4. None of the above

Types of Questionnaires:

In a broader sense, there are two types of questionnaires:

  • Structured questionnaire: It is also known as a closed questionnaire where such questions are asked, which can be answered as yes or no. It includes less number of researchers and a large number of respondents, and it has definite and concrete questions. These types of questionnaires are formal and are prepared well in advance. 
  • Unstructured questionnaire: It is based on a more open questionnaire. An open questionnaire means recording more data, as the respondents can point out what is more important for them in their own words and methods, as responses can go to any length. This type of questionnaire is quite flexible and can be applied to several areas of study as they do not require much planning and time.

Qualities of a Good Questionnaire:

1. Limited Number of questions: The number of questions in the questionnaire should be as limited as possible, and questions should be asked only related to the purpose of the inquiry.

2. Proper sequence of questions: Questions must be placed in the proper sequence, like simple and direct questions must be placed at the start of the questionnaire, and hard and indirect questions must be placed at the last.

3. Simplicity: The language of the questions should be simple and easy to understand, and the questions should be short. Complex questions must be avoided.

4. Instructions: A good questionnaire must have clear and proper instructions for filling out the forms.

5. No undesirable questions: Undesirable questions like personal questions, which can offend the respondents, must be avoided.

6. Non-controversial question: The question should be asked in such a way that they can be answered impartially.

7. Calculations: Questions involving calculations must be avoided, as they can be complex and time-consuming..

8. Objective-type questions: More focus should be given to objective-type questions, whereas subjective-type of questions should be avoided.

Types of Questions:

Broadly, There are two types of questions, i.e. Closed-ended and Open-ended:

1. Closed-ended Questions: In these kinds of questions, respondents can answer questions by selecting from a limited number of predefined options already given by the researcher. In such kinds of questions, the researcher cannot provide an unanticipated answer, but rather chooses from the list of answers already provided. The various type of closed-ended questions are as follow:

A. Alternate response type: This type of question offers only two options, which can be either yes or no, fair or unfair, or true or false.

Example:

Question: Have you ever written an article for GFG?

Answer: 

  1. Yes
  2. No

B. Multiple Choice Type of Questions: In such kinds of questions, respondents are allowed to select one or more options from a list of predefined answers.

Example:

Question: What is your educational qualification?
Answers: 

  1. Primary
  2. Matriculation
  3. Graduate
  4. Post-Graduate
  5. Doctorate

In this question, there are multiple choices for answers. This kind of question is called a single multiple-choice question.

C. Rating Scale or Ordinal type of Questions: In a rating scale question, the researcher gives a scale of numbers for the answer to choose from, and the respondent can choose a number from the given scale that most accurately represents his response.

Example:

Question: pH of water is?

Answer: 

  1. 1-5 (Highly acidic)  
  2. 5-6 (Acidic)
  3. 6-7 (Moderately Acidic) 
  4. 7-7.1 (Neutral)

 Here the options have a scale for answers.

D. Ranking type of questions: These questions ask respondents to order their answers in order of preference.

Example:

Question: Most peaceful country?

Answers:

 

 Here respondents can rate the countries on a scale of 1 to 5 according to their preferences.

2. Open-ended Questions: These kinds of questions are explanatory in nature and can go to any length, as they provide the researcher with rich qualitative data and give an opportunity to the researcher to gain insight into those fields of study, which are not covered by the close-ended questions. Such questions have no statistical purpose, as they let the respondent answer questions of varying lengths, which makes such questions concluding in nature.

Example:

 Question: How one can contribute to open sources?

 Now answer to this question will be of different lengths varying from respondent to respondent.

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