11 Qualities of Good Questionnaire

It is said that the questions are the sign of intelligence. A good question can be asked only when it is properly thought of and the person has the sufficient knowledge about what exactly he wants to ask.

A good questionnaire is one which possesses the following features:

1. Simple language

Things asked in simple language are always easy to answer as respondents are able to understand them easily. A good questionnaire is one which contains questions in most easy and simple language.

2. Short Questions

A good question is one which has limited number and exact wordings. Brief and shirt questions are always answered. Therefore a good questionnaire is one which contains short questions.

3. Limited Number of Questions

Questionnaire must only contain the questions which are important and relevant to the topic. Keeping limited number of questions is good.

4. Relevant Questions

Depending upon the topic or subject, the relevant questions should be asked. Asking irrelevant questions would collect irrelevant answers and this is a futile exercise.

5. Interesting Wordings

The wordings of the questions should be, to the extent possible, interesting and not boring. When the respondent gets interest in the questions, there is a high chance that he will answer the question with enthusiasm.

6. No Personal Questions

Questionnaire should not contain personal questions, which may not be liked by the respondent. 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.

7. No Pressure on Respondent’s Memory

Asking very historical information or very old data may not be a good idea as respondents may not like to recall the information. Putting pressure on his memory is nor advisable. A good questionnaire should not ask such questions.

8. Good Sequence of the Questions

the questions in the questionnaire must be properly numbered and put in the logical order so that the respondent can answer all questions one by one.

9. Objective Type questions

The respondents should be given questions with options or choices so that they can only or simply tick any one or more than one options. Essay type questions should be avoided.

10. Clarity

Questions must be clear and unambiguous. The questions should not give the chance of different meanings to different things to different people. In order to bring clarity, the options given should be accurate and exact. For instance for asking a question about frequency, one may put following options:

  1. Very Often
  2. Often
  3. Sometimes
  4. Rarely
  5. Never

Instead of this it would be better to quantify the options as:

  1. Every Day or More
  2. 2-6 Times a Week
  3. About Once a Week
  4. About Once a Month
  5. Never

11. 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. All answers should be equally likely. An obvious example would be a question that supplied these answer options:

  1. Superb
  2. Excellent
  3. Great
  4. Good
  5. Fair
  6. Not so Great

A better way would be to ask the same question but supply the following choices:

  1. Totally Agree
  2. Partially Agree
  3. Neither Agree or Disagree
  4. Partially Disagree
  5. Totally Agree

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