How To WriteA questionnaire Dr. JAWAHER AL-AHMADI MB. ABFM. SBFM. MSc
When to use a questionnaire? • When resources and money are limited • When it is necessary to protect the privacy of the participants • When corroborating other findings
Role of the questionnaire • The role of the questionnaire is to elicit the information that is required to enable the researcher to answer the objectives of the survey. • To do this the questionnaire must not only collect the data required, but collect the data in the most accurate way possible • A poorly written questionnaire will not provide the data that are required or, worse, will provide data that are incorrect.
The steps required to design and administer a questionnaire include: • Defining the Objectives of the survey • Determining the Sampling Group • Writing the Questionnaire • Administering the Questionnaire • Interpretation of the Results
Defining the Objectives of the Study • The first task with any study is to define the objectives that the study is to answer. • Where the objectives are specific, the questionnaire writer’s task is usually rather more straightforward than where the survey is exploratory in nature. • A specific objective usually implies that there is a specific question to be answered and it is the questionnaire writer’s job to find the most appropriate way of answering that question.
people who have an interest in the questionnaire • The people commissioning the study, require the questionnaire to collect the information that will enable them to answer their objectives. • The interviewers, where used, want a questionnaire that is straightforward to administer. • Respondents want a questionnaire that poses them questions that they can answer without too much effort, and that maintains their interest, without taking up too much of their time. • The data processors want a questionnaire layout that allows for uncomplicated data entry.
What kind of questions do we ask? • Open format or closed format • Open format questions are good for soliciting subjective data or when the range of responses is not tightly defined. • An obvious advantage is that the variety of responses should be wider and more truly reflect the opinions of the respondents. • This increases the likelihood of you receiving unexpected and insightful suggestions, for it is impossible to predict the full range of opinion • It is common for a questionnaire to end with and open format question asking the respondent for her unabashed ideas for changes or improvements. • Finally, open format questions require more thought and time on the part of the respondent
Closed format questions usually take the form of a multiple-choice question.They are easy. • There is no clear consensus on the number of options that should be given in an closed format question.
Clarity • This is probably the area that causes the greatest source of mistakes in questionnaires. • Questions must be clear, and unambiguous. • The goal is to eliminate the chance that the question will mean different things to different people. • If the designers fails to do this, then essentially participants will be answering different questions.
For example, it asking a question about frequency, rather than supplying choices that are open to interpretation such as: • Very Often • Often • Sometimes • Rarely • Never • It is better to quantify the choices, such as: • Every Day or More • 2-6 Times a Week • About Once a Week • About Once a Month • Never
Leading Questions • A leading question is one that forces or implies a certain type of answer. • It is easy to make this mistake not in the question, but in the choice of answers. • A closed format question must supply answers that not only cover the whole range of responses, but that are also equally distributed throughout the range.
Phrasing • Most adjectives, verbs, and nouns in English have either a positive or negative connotation. • Two words may have equivalent meaning, yet one may be a compliment and the other an insult. • Consider the two words "child-like" and "childish
Assure a common understanding • Write questions that everyone will understand in the same way. • Don't assume that everyone has the same understanding of the facts or a common basis of knowledge. • Identify even commonly used abbreviations to be certain that everyone understands
Start with interesting questions • Start the survey with questions that are likely to sound interesting and attract the respondents' attention. • Save the questions that might be difficult for later
Avoid double negatives • Respondents can easily be confused deciphering the meaning of a question that uses two negative words.
Embarrassing Questions • Embarrassing questions dealing with personal or private matters should be avoided. • Your data is only as good as the trust and care that your respondents give you. • If you make them feel uncomfortable, you will lose their trust. • Do not ask embarrassing questions.
Don't make the list of choices too long • If the list of answer categories is long and unfamiliar, it is difficult for respondents to evaluate all of them. • Keep the list of choices short.
Put your questions in a logic order • The issues raised in one question can influence how people think about subsequent questions. • It is good to ask a general question and then ask more specific questions. • Start with demography. • Group your risk factor • Data collection
Many problems arise because of problems within the questionnaire itself. These can include: • ambiguity in the question; • inadequate response codes • questions asked inaccurately by the interviewer; • failure of the respondent to understand the question
Pre-test your survey • It is better to identify a problem during the pretest. • Before sending a survey to a target audience, send it out as a test to a small number of people. • After they have completed the survey, brainstorm with them to see if they had problems answering any questions. • It would help if they explained what the question meant to them and whether it was valid to the questionnaire or not.
Cover memo or introduction • Once a recipient opens your survey, you may still need to motivate him or her to complete it. • The cover memo or introduction offers an excellent place to provide the motivation. • A good cover memo or introduction should be short and includes: • Purpose of the survey • Why it is important to hear from the correspondent • What may be done with the results and what possible impacts may occur with the results. • Address identificationPerson to contact for questions about the survey • . Due date for response
TIPs • TIP 1: BE RELEVANT • TIP 2: BE SPECIFIC Avoid abstract terms and jargon Provide clarifying details • TIP 3: AVOID CONFUSION Avoid double-barreled questions Avoid double-negative wording • TIP 4: USE APPROPRIATE SCALES