What are some basic guidelines concerning the design of a questionnaire?

1 Answer
Jul 1, 2015

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.

That aside,

  1. Don't ask leading questions
  2. Make sure each question only addresses one issue
  3. Decide if you want to ask open-ended or close-ended questions
  4. Group similar questions together
  5. 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.)
  6. Be careful not to ask insensitive, extremely personal, or offensive questions
  7. 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.