What are some guidelines for creating appropriate questions for a questionnaire?

1 Answer
Aug 23, 2015

Survey/questionnaire questions should consider

  • Intended Usage
  • Sampling Issues
  • Validity of Response Issues


The following is by no means intended to be complete. They are simply some issues that should be considered.

Intended Usage
- What form of declaration is this questionnaire expected to generate? e.g. "x% of respondents believe that ...."
- What tools will be available to analyze the results? (Among other things this will impact the form of recorded responses).
- Do all proposed questions contribute to the objectives of the survey?

Sampling Issues
- (It is assumed that considerations have or will be made with respect to ensuring random selection within the sub-population and ability to generalize that sub-population to a larger population).
- Are there (initial) screening questions?
- Are demographic sub-groups something that needs to be identified?

Validity of Response Issues
- Are the questions simple, non-ambiguous, and do they avoid technical terms?
- Are the phrasing of the questions such as to encourage a biased response?
- Are choices presented as non-compound conditions?
- Are the questions as non-intrusive as possible and do they avoid possible issues of privacy?
- Are the expected responses of a form (e.g. multiple choice, scale, open-ended) that are likely to provide accurate and meaningful responses?