One of the struggles of research is how to design a good questionnaire that meets the need of the research study. A Questionnaire is a systematic, data collection instrument consisting of a series of questions for the purpose of gathering information from respondents. You can have a good research problem in your area of research but if you do not have the right questionnaire for data collection, you are most likely not to achieve the objective of the research.
In this article, I have explained some three tips that in my opinion, can make you design a simple, effective and relevant questionnaire for your research study.
i. Have a clear understanding of your research study.
A thorough understanding of your topic of study, research problem, the purpose of the study and the background information is important since it will help you know which questions to ask your respondents. It will also help you focus on your topic of study in your questionnaire so as to avoid asking questions that will not add value to the research study. Make sure that all questions asked address the aims of the research. I consider this the beginning point since if missed, the rest about the questionnaire will be inappropriate.
ii. Decide on the content of the individual questions.
With a better understanding of the purpose of the study, you can easily decide which questions to ask. When deciding on the questions, always ask yourself, “Is this question important in this study?”, and “Are there significant detail(s) I will miss if I do not ask this question?” In addition to that, check whether the individual questions contribute to the research objectives. Ask questions such that progressively build-up to the general research questions.
iii. Keep the questions simple and objective.
To reap much out of your questionnaire, design the questions such that the respondents are able to answer them comfortably. This is because your respondents may find it difficult or unwilling to answer the questions depending on the nature of the questions. If the questions are sensitive, there are high chances the respondent will not answer the questions. The respondents may also fail to answer the questions if they are not fully informed or the language used in the questionnaire is not comprehensible to them (language barrier). So make the questions simple and objective.