Using an online questionnaire in research can benefit you in many ways. Well-written online questionnaires are easy to make and fun to answer, but they are much more than that — they offer you valuable information about your research topic.
Questionnaires are without a doubt beneficial for every type of research, but their quality is what will determine their success. Knowing which questions to ask of which respondents offers excellent results, while a poorly written questionnaire can lead to incorrect conclusions.
We will now discuss using the questionnaire method of data collection and show you how to design the perfect questionnaire. Continue reading to find out why to use questionnaires in your research!
Questionnaire research method: What is it and how is it done?
A questionnaire is a simple, easy, and highly efficient way of collecting data. It is a set of inquiries, usually containing both closed-ended and open-ended questions.
Using a questionnaire in research enables the collection of both qualitative and quantitative data. The questionnaire method of data collection allows for the acquisition of substantial amounts of information from a large group of people. However, whether the data collected is accurate and eventually helpful in research depends on how you construct your questionnaire.
Questionnaire versus survey: Is there a difference?
Today, questionnaires and surveys are considered the same thing, so the terms are interchangeable. However, there is a difference between them.
A questionnaire is a research instrument used to collect information from a group of respondents. A survey is the whole research method, referring to the process of collecting and analyzing the gathered data.
So, a survey is actually the whole process of gathering, analyzing, and interpreting data, while a questionnaire is just a part of the greater whole — a research tool used to conduct surveys.
In the past, questionnaires could only be printed out on paper and filled out by hand, with the analysis process beginning after gathering all responses. With the rise of the Internet and online survey tools, these steps became combined and things became a little more complicated.
With SurveyPlanet, you can create and share your questionnaire in just a few clicks! Create your own research tool using custom survey themes, or choose among our pre-made themes. After collecting data, you can filter results to gain better insights by analyzing them more deeply.
With SurveyPlanet, using a questionnaire in research has never been easier!
The types of questions in a questionnaire that can be used in your next research project
There are many types of questions you can choose when using a questionnaire in research, the two most important being closed-ended and open-ended. Each has its pros and cons, and closed-ended questions have additional subtypes.
Closed-ended questions offer respondents a set of answers to choose from. They are easy to understand for respondents while also easy to analyze and excellent for collecting categorical and quantitative data. One of the most used questionnaires by question type is the multiple-choice questionnaire and the Likert scale questionnaire.
Open-ended questions don’t offer participants defined answers to choose from. Instead, there is a box in which the question can be answered in their own words. Unlike the previous type, these questions are used to gather qualitative data on people’s opinions.
Which types of questionnaires in research are there?
Broadly speaking, two types of questionnaires are common that differ in regards to how they are distributed.
Self-administered questionnaires can be on paper or online and can be distributed in person or through mail or email. Questions need to be standardized, meaning all participants get the same set of questions and answers.
On the other hand, researcher-administered questionnaires are interviews conducted between a researcher and a respondent. They can take place by phone, online, or in person.
Such interviews give the researcher greater freedom to ask questions and gain information. In addition, they offer respondents the opportunity to explain their answers in more detail, as well as allowing researchers to ask additional questions to specific respondents.
However, these can be quite costly, time-consuming, and complicated to analyze, which is why most surveys are self-administered questions.
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Questionnaire design: How to make the perfect questionnaire
There are several different aspects to consider when making a questionnaire design and using that questionnaire in research. From these arise the different steps you will need to take to make sure accurate data is collected that can be analyzed correctly and lead to the right conclusions.
We will now discuss these steps and help you choose the proper questionnaire format for research.
#1 Start by identifying your main goals
The three most important aspects of every research project are the questions you ask, the sample group you ask, and the goals you want to achieve by asking. These are intertwined and depend on one other.
First, you need to identify your research goals. What do you want to learn by conducting the survey? When you’ve chosen your research topic and the most crucial question you want answered, it’s time to find the most suitable sample of respondents.
#2 Choose a suitable sample of respondents
When there is a large group of people you want information or opinions from, you won’t be able to ask each and every one of them. Instead, you make a smaller sample group to answer your questions.
When doing so, it is vital to make sure that the sample consists of individuals that are really going to represent the group as a whole. Choose participants from various age groups and geographical areas with different interests and educational backgrounds while making sure they are truly relevant to your business.
#3 Pay attention to the design of your questionnaire
Humans are visual beings. The first thing we notice about something is how it looks, and it is the same with a questionnaire. Surveys that look generic and dull are likely to bore your respondents, while a fun-looking and engaging survey will keep them around until the end.
When designing a questionnaire, you can rely on pre-made themes or make your own. By signing up to SurveyPlanet, you can choose between our ready-made templates, create custom themes, and even add images to questions and answers. With SurveyPlanet, anything is possible!
#4 Questions: Elements that lead your research to success
But the most important part of your questionnaire is the questions. When using a questionnaire in research, it is vital to incorporate just the right type and amount of inquiries to yield accurate results.
As a rule of thumb, the best approach is to combine closed-ended and open-ended questions. This will give respondents the chance to express their opinions in their own words while not burdening them with too many demanding questions.
Next, focus on the wording of your questions. A good survey question is clear, concise, and unambiguous. Use straightforward language. Keep questions short and ensure they are not misleading in any way. This is how to avoid the most common errors in surveying.
#5 Question order and the length of your survey
How long should my survey be? There is a valuable rule of thumb: if you don’t offer an incentive, make sure your survey is not too long. Without getting something in return, most participants won’t be motivated to answer a lengthy survey, which will result in a low response rate.
When it comes to the order of the questions, there are a couple of standard approaches. First, placing questions in a randomized order for each participant helps avoid bias, but the process of analyzing and interpreting the data can get more complex.
Instead, opt for a logical flow. Start with simple questions and progress towards more complex and sensitive ones. You can use our question branching feature, which allows you to choose which question is going to be presented to each participant based on their previous answers.
Questionnaire in research example: When can surveys be used?
Surveys can be used in many fields of research. The most common reason for sending out a survey is to determine the level of customer satisfaction with a product or a service. Additionally, you can use them to better understand how satisfied your employees are with management or the HR department, company culture, or their work-life balance.
However, surveys can also be used in situations when there is no need for data analysis. These include medical history forms, job applications, or any other purpose where you need specific information instead of opinions.
You can find examples and templates for many different survey types on our website. Browse and find ready-made survey examples in the field of market research, customer loyalty, human resources, and education.
The questionnaire research method is a simple yet effective way to analyze different kinds of data. Choose a research questionnaire sample from our extensive library and start using a questionnaire in research today!