You’ve probably heard how a good questionnaire is the backbone of any market and social research. But the success of any questionnaire depends on how effortlessly it blends with the needs of the target audience and their ease of giving appropriate inputs.
A sure shot way of ensuring success using these is incorporating the use of the best questionnaire tool. In case it's going to be your first time venturing into this mode of marketing, then let's start with the basics first.
A questionnaire is a highly effective method for gathering information about a given topic. But, without properly constructed and responsibly administered questionnaires, you’ll not be able to get the maximum input from the respondents.
In this article, you will learn about the adequate construction of questionnaires. But, before that, let’s brush up the basics.
What Is a Questionnaire?
A questionnaire is a popular research method that consists of a series of questions, with or without a choice of answers. It is devised for the purpose of gathering information from the respondents or for collecting customer feedback.
Questionnaires can be administered through interviews or can be self-administered by the respondents via paper or online. As a rule of thumb, a questionnaire should be simple, valid, and designed to collect only the information that is needed.
Before you start creating a questionnaire, it is crucial to adopt a particular mindset that is focussed on the participants, to learn more about them. Always aim at asking better questions to build great conversations with your customers.
Now, let's jump straight into how you can create an online questionnaire.
How to Create a Questionnaire
Questionnaires can be created in various steps, which includes creating questions, selecting a perfect mode for your questionnaire, followed with designing. Every step is crucial. Overlooking on even a single point can make you miss out on a crucial piece of information, which could have been vital in creating a successful marketing campaign.
So, let us understand the steps to create your own questionnaire in detail.
You have decided to listen to your customers because you know what they say is valuable.
But, when you have the power of using the questionnaires, you may feel tempted to ask anything and everything from your customers. However, this is the biggest mistake you can make.
The first step to creating a questionnaire requires you to confirm what information you want to get out of it.
Start by asking yourself - “What do I really want to know?”
Determine your essential goals and set aside everything that is not relevant. Having a clear understanding will help you plan questions.
The questionnaire can be a mix of both open-ended questions and closed-ended questions. However, there is an important distinction between both these types of questions and the kind of information it will fetch.
- Closed-ended questions: These are the questions that can be answered by a simple “yes” or “no”, on choosing one from the response options provided in the questionnaire, eg. A, B,C, or D.
Examples of closed-ended questions are:
“Were you born in 1990?”
“Did you like the product/service offered by (company name)?”
- Open-ended questions: These are statement questions that require the respondent to answer in more than one word, probably a statement or 2-3 sentences. They are commonly used by companies to get user feedback on their product/service. Open-ended questions often begin with words like why, what, how, describe, explain, what do you think about, tell me about, etc. This will require the respondent to think profoundly and answer the question in their own words.
Examples of open-ended questions are:
“Tell us about your experience at the exhibition.”
“How could we have exceeded your expectations?”
The survey questions can be further divided into different categories:
- Rating Scale: In this type of question, the respondent is asked to rate different items on a scale of 0-10, or by giving a star rating. This type of question is highly useful to measure customer satisfaction levels.
- Multiple-choice Question: In multiple-choice questions, the respondents are given certain answer choices for a particular question. Respondents can choose a single answer of more than one, as per the requirement and their choice.
- Likert Scale: Common choice for survey forms, a Likert Scale is a great way to know what respondents feel about something. They are given 5-7 balanced answer choices, with neutral midpoints. The answer choices can be like- very satisfied, satisfied, neutral, unsatisfied, very unsatisfied.
Just like these questions are an integral part of any questionnaires, there are certain types of questions that are a big no-no, since they’ll only get you incorrect information.
Questions to Avoid
- Biased questions: When creating a questionnaire, make sure the questions are unbiased or neutral. Don’t predispose the respondent to accept a particular answer as their own choice.
- Leading questions: Leading questions are strategically written by the use of emotional phrases to manipulate the respondent to give answers in a particular way. These questions are highly prohibited during qualitative or quantitative survey research.
- Compound or Double Barreled questions: A double-barreled question asks respondents two questions in a single survey question while allowing only one answer. Other than research, these attitudinal questions are often seen in court to trick the witnesses or suspects, or during cross-examination.
These questions only drive confusion and never get you the desired input.
Checklist of Points to Consider When Drafting Questions
- Stay away from sophisticated language and technical jargon.
- Keep the wording of the questions simple, informal, and conversational.
- Avoid hypothetical starting with phrases like “Imagine you have………..”
- Never make the mistake of injecting your opinions or assigning judgments into the question.
- Never use extreme words like right, wrong, love, or hate in the questions.
- Be extra cautious when asking questions about sensitive issues.
- Cover only one topic in one question.
- Take into account the social, cultural, and educational background of the respondent when asking questions.
- Always separate a compound question into two parts and ask only one at a time.
To know and learn how to create the perfect questions, look at the survey question examples.
Selecting the Right Mode of Questionnaire
Survey questionnaires may be thought of as an art. However, many types of research have confirmed that there is a lot of science that is involved. Questionnaire development can be fruitful when you choose the right platform to field the survey.
Questionnaires can be used for data collection in several ways, which are:
- Face-to-face interview
- Telephonic interview
- Self-completion of a paper questionnaire
- Self-completion of an online questionnaire
Self-completion of paper questionnaires is commonly used to collect massive amounts of information from a large population in a relatively shorter period of time. They were specifically designed to collect the data from the respondent without any intervention from the surveyor.
Self-administered questionnaires are a cost-efficient and popular method of data collection. You just need to create a survey and share it via e-mail. But there are always human limitations. Moreover, you have no control over the response rate and time, the accuracy of the information, and survey completion.
In the face-to-face and telephonic interview, the interviewer is able to explain the questions and take away misunderstandings. They can check for inconsistencies and errors on the spot. The best part, they ensure all the questions are answered. Due to quick feedback, interviewers can make immediate corrections in the questionnaire, making it more respondent friendly.
However, this form of questionnaires has a long list of disadvantages:
- Interviewer fatigue
- Interviewer bias
- Needs time-consuming training process
- Interviewers influence the respondent to imply a particular answer to be the right one using facial expressions and voice.
Online Questionnaire Is the Best Choice
In the times of automation and artificial intelligence, doing things manually seems daunting and limiting. Several online questionnaire software are available in the market that help you build questionnaires from scratch or by using their ready-made templates. Such online tools allow you to create a wide range of questionnaires to meet all your research needs, in just minutes.
The best part, it takes away all the disadvantages in-person (face-to-face and telephonic) interactions pose. Respondents receive the questionnaire via mail, through social media, or find it on the company’s website. There’s no rush and pressure. They can fill the questionnaire the way they want at their convenient time and place.
For insights into online questionnaires and their advantages, read the blog.
To get started with creating an online questionnaire, select one of the best online survey tools having the capabilities to design questionnaires as well.
ProProfs Survey Maker is one such survey tool that allows you to create questionnaires online for free. All you need to do is to open the software and select “Create a Survey” from the dashboard. Add questions from a library, tweak the questions (if necessary) or create new ones, use skip logic or branching for improved user engagement, customize the background, choose a theme, add images, videos, and you are all set to go.
In a nutshell, here is a list of the significant benefits this tool has to offer:
- Easy way to create questionnaires & forms
- Use as popups, sidebar & in-app questionnaire
- Customization options to gather relevant data
- Surveys, questionnaire sharing across various platforms
- Gives access to delightful reports & analytics
- Assured data security and user privacy
You can watch the video to learn how to create an online survey using this tool.
Read More: The Ultimate List of Top Survey Maker Tool
Now that you have created the questions and selected the mode of questionnaire best suitable for your survey needs, it's time to focus on the questionnaire’s design.
A questionnaire needn’t be the state of the art, but it has to have a visually appealing design to get the respondent’s attention.
Talking of the questionnaire design, keep it minimalistic. Choose simple and easy to read fonts and text size for your questions, placed on an attractive background.
One of the most overlooked aspects of the questionnaire is its layout. Try to fit in all the questions on a single page. This will prepare the customers for everything in front of them, with no surprises.
For that purpose, keep the number of questions to a maximum of 8-10. It will not take the respondent more than 5 minutes to fill the questionnaire. However, the number of questions can vary as per your business needs.
In case, you have to ask more questions, offer respondents something like an incentive or discount, in the beginning, to encourage them to give their precious time and complete the questionnaire.
Order, Order, Order, Good question structure is essential!
Good Questionnaire structure is vital for higher completion rates.
For Instance, you started a questionnaire with a closed-ended question like, “ Do you buy (product/service)? '', and bombarded 2 open-ended questions just after that.
What do you think would be the respondent's reaction? There are high chances that they would close the survey to complete it later. And, remember, my friends ‘later’ can sometimes become ‘never’.
Why do you think that happened?
Open-ended questions require the user to put their thoughts to come up with words to answer, especially for the subject matter that they don’t discuss frequently. In comparison with other question types, this can take a lot of their time.
Best way: Use a funnel approach to come up with the order of the questions. Give the respondent a nice warm-up with easy closed-ended questions first, making them comfortable with the survey topic.
When you put thought-provoking questions in the end, respondents are less likely to abandon the survey since they have already invested a reasonable amount of time in getting familiar with the topic. The quality of answers will also be way better.
As a rule of thumb, put straightforward and easy to answer questions at the beginning, and thought-provoking open-ended questions in the end.
Hare are some questionnaire templates with most asked questions that you can include in your questionnaires.
Survey Delivery & Feedback Analysis
The final step is to share the questionnaire with the respondent. However, before you begin surveying your customers, test the questionnaire with a small group of people, including your employees, family, and friends. Get their feedback. They can tell where they felt stuck and which portion of the questionnaire confused them. Their feedback can give valuable insights to improving the questions. You can add, omit, or rearrange the questionnaire for a proper structure. Make sure you test the questionnaire both in the development and the final stage.
After you have revised the questionnaire, share it with a limited number of customers. Online questionnaire software allows sharing surveys and questionnaires with millions of people in just one click. Using the tool, analyze the feedback data collected from the respondents to see if you are getting the desired information. Once confirmed, release the questionnaire to the entire audience.
Don’t assume you’ll get all questions answered. Don’t worry. “Unanswered questions aren’t threats, they’re challenges and catalysts,” said Colin Wright. Have a back-up plan to retrieve the missing information. A follow-up survey or a questionnaire with more revised questions will be a great idea.
Questionnaires are an invaluable way to collect a wide range of information from the respondents. But without requisite questionnaire construction, your efforts might go in vain. Thoughtfully-written questions with proper questionnaire format and appealing presentation, conducted through the right platform can make the questionnaire worthwhile. Be smart and keep the right survey questionnaire tool handy to capture the intended information from the audience whenever you want.
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