Questionnaires are used in survey-based research to gather a variety of information on demographics, opinions, and habits of the respondents. Because questionnaires offer standardized answers, they are faster to interpret than longer-form surveys in which the answer can be open-ended.
Whether you’re creating a questionnaire for a grade school class, research project for work, or work a statistician at the professional level, a questionnaire template is a very helpful tool to get your work started.
Types of Questionnaires
There are many ways to structure questions on a questionnaire, but a few can include:
- Dichotomous: the respondent has two options, either “yes or no,” “true or false,” or two other options.
- Nominal polytomous: the respondent has two unordered options
- Ordinal polytomous: the respondent has more than two options for answers
- Continuous or bounded: the respondent has a range of options on a continuous scale
Writing a Useful Questionnaire
In order to write a questionnaire in which the responses will be useful for statistical data gathering, try to keep a few things in mind. First, check your questions and provided answers to make sure that different groups of people will interpret the question and answers in a similar way, and that people who have differences in a way you want to measure will answer differently, without being confused. If you are concerned about measuring sensitive data, consider offering an “open” portion for commentary after the other survey questions, so that you can double check the validity of the responses based on the respondent’s personal writing.
Avoid negatives or double-negatives, as these questions can lead a respondent in a specific direction. Try to phrase questions so that they do not lead the respondent to a specific answer – respondents easily pick up on subconscious value judgments, especially through tone of voice (if the survey is over the phone) or body language in person (if the survey is conducted face-to-face).
Use simple, clear writing for the questions, so that all reading levels can understand.
Avoid asking about more than one thing at a time – for example, if asking about favorite foods, ask if the respondent likes salty foods, then ask if they like candy, but avoid asking if they like salty foods and candy in the same question.
Why Should I Use a Questionnaire Template?
There are many situations in which you might need to quickly gather specific data. For example, if you want to measure customer satisfaction for your business, a simple survey can help gather information about how well you’re helping customers and satisfying their needs. A questionnaire could be part of an employee exit interview, so that you can improve the office environment for future employees. Surveys are often used to measure general population opinions on politics or recent news stories, so a questionnaire could be part of a news website.
Regardless of why you need to gather the data, creating the right questionnaire can be time-consuming. Download one of or free questionnaire templates to help you format your questions and get the feedback you need.