What are some basic guidelines concerning the design of a questionnaire?
How you design a questionnaire is going to depend largely on the topic you're interested in.
For example, a questionnaire asking young adults about illegal drug use is very different from a questionnaire asking an indigenous group about their relationship to their ancestors.
- Don't ask leading questions
- Make sure each question only addresses one issue
- Decide if you want to ask open-ended or close-ended questions
- Group similar questions together
- Do not assume an opinion or belief in the question itself (For example: "Given that Republicans are against gay marriage, how do you feel about the Supreme Court's recent ruling?" This question assumes all of your respondents are against gay marriage.)
- Be careful not to ask insensitive, extremely personal, or offensive questions
- Make sure your instructions, whether verbally given to participants or written down, are clear
Getting feedback on the questionnaire beforehand is always a wise idea. You should also consider how you will analyze the results of your questionnaire and present/use this data, as this may affect your design. For example, are you going to have a scale (strongly agree, agree, disagree, strongly disagree) or are you going to have people write in answers or answer only yes or no questions.