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How to write a good questionnaire?

Characteristics of a good questionnaire

  • It should create an interest in the respondent, by dealing with important or significant topic.
  • It should seek only data which cannot be obtained from other sources
  • It should be as short as possible but should be comprehensive
  • Directions should be clear and complete
  • It should be represented in good psychological order proceeding from general to more specific responses.
  • The questions should be designed in such a way so that the data obtained can be used for further analysis.
Avoid these in the questionnaire
  • Double negatives should be avoided in the questionnaires
  • Avoid putting two questions in one
  • Avoid annoying or embarrassing questions

When to use questionnaire?

  • There is a large number of respondents
  • The required information is fairly straightforward
  • There is a need for standardising data from identical information
  • Sufficient time is available (Questionnaire takes a lot of time to collect data)
  • When the respondents can read and understand questions

Design of the questionnaire

The questionnaire should contain :

  • Background information of the questionnaire
    • The sponsor
    • The purpose
    • Confidentiality
    • Return address and date
    • Gratitude – (Thank you Note)
  • Instruction to the respondents

Questionnaire is one of the methods of primary data collection. This is one of the methods which is apt for descriptive research projects. There are two types of questions that can be included in the questionnaire

  1. Close ended 
  2. Open ended

Listed below are the various formats for each type:

Close Ended Question Types

NameDescriptionExamples
Dichotomous questionsA question offering two answer choices.“In arranging this trip, did you personally phone Delta?”Yes No
Multiple choiceA question offering three or more answer choices.“With whom are you travelling on this flight?”
no one
Spouse
Spouse & children
Children only
Business associates/friends/relativesAn organised tour group
Likert scaleA statement with which the respondent shows the amount of agreement or disagreement.
Semantic differentialA scale is inscribed between bipolar words, and the respondent selects the point that represents the direction and intensity of his or her feelings.
Importance scaleA scale that rates the importance of some attribute from “not at all important” to “extremely important”.
Rating scaleA scale that rates some attribute from “poor” to “excellent”.
Intention to buy scaleA scale that describes the respondents intention to buy.

Open Ended Questions

NameDescriptionExamples
Completely unstructuredA question that respondents can answer in an almost unlimited number of ways“What is your opinion of Delta Airlines?”
Word associationWords are presented, one at a time, and respondents mention the first word that comes to mind“What is the first word that comes to your mind when you hear the following?”Airline_______________Delta ________________Travel________________
Sentence completionIncomplete sentences are presented, one at a time, and respondents mention the first word that comes to mind.When I choose an airline, the most important consideration in my decision is :
Story completionAn incomplete story is presented, and respondents are asked to complete it.“ I flew delta a few days ago. I noticed that the exterior and interior of the plane had very bright colours. This aroused in me the following thoughts and feelings”.Now complete the story
Picture completionA picture of two characters is presented, with one making a statement. Respondents are asked to identify the other and fill in the empty balloon.Fill in the empty balloon
Thematic apperception tests (TATs)A picture is presented, and respondents are asked to make up a story about what they think is happening or may happen in the picture.Make up a story about what you see.

Sample Questionnaire

Here is sample questionnaire which aims to understand how you evaluate the guidelines related to hospitality research project articles published in this blog.

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