What is a Questionnaire?
A questionnaire is a form prepared and distributed to secure responses to certain questions. It is a tool for obtaining response to questions by using a form which the respondent fills by himself.
It is a systematic compilation of questions that are submitted to a group of population called samples from whom the required information is acquired.
It is that form of inquiry which contains a systematically compiled and organized series of questions that are to be sent to the population samples.
Steps involved in designing a questionnaire
The investigator cannot get a ready made questionnaire appropriate for his study. He has to prepare it for himself. He should keep in mind the following steps and suggestions.
1. While planning and constructing his questionnaire, the investigator should secure all the help he can. He should study other questionnaires and submit his items for critical evaluation. He should consult those who have experience in questionnaire construction.
2. He should obtain a thorough grasp of the field in which he is constructing questionnaire. He must have a clear understanding of the objectives of the study and of the nature of the data needed.
3. Constructing a questionnaire calls for numerous revision. Variations of the same questions should be submitted to experimental trial. The same question posed in different ways brings out different response.
4. The content of question should elicit valid and reliable answers. Each question must be justified on the basis of its contribution to the overall purpose of the study.
5. Each question must be absolutely clear not only to the maker but also to the listener.
6. If the desired information is delicate or confidential in nature, he should provide for anonymous response.
7. The questionnaire may not be desirable for all. It should be sent only to those who possess the required information.
8. The questions should be so worded as to allay any fears, suspicion, hesitation, embarrassment or hostility of the respondent.
9. Some specific questions may be asked in order to check the truthfulness of answers to general questions.
10. The items should be placed psychologically or logically – in a sound sequence – simple, interesting neutral questions preceding the more difficult ones.
11. He should include a courteous, carefully constructed covering letter to explain the purpose and importance of the study.
12. The respondents often cause delay while returning completed questionnaires. To avoid this, a vigorous follow up is necessary.