Questionnaire Design

Web questionnaire represents a communication channel with respondents. Therefore, appropriate execution of content and publishing of web questionnaires are crucial, because web questionnaires are self-administered, the respondent cannot communicate with the interviewer in case of problems. The questionnaire design is therefore very important, as it also contributes to the quality of the research. A user-friendly questionnaire increases the probability that the respondent will participate in the survey and submit valid responses. A correct questionnaire, therefore, decreases non-response and measurement error rate.

Therefore, pay particular attention to the following when composing the questionnaire:

  1. Question sequence:
    • should be logically structured, e.g. questions regarding events should be consistent with the sequence of events, or questions regarding the evaluation of experience should follow the questions regarding describing that experience;
    • Questions that refer to the same topic should be successive. Constant changes in topic decrease the probability that the respondent will carefully consider his or her answers. If the questions are organized by topic, the respondent can focus only on one topic at a time;
    • Topics (and questions) should begin with those that are the most important to the respondents. Research shows that surveys that contain topics that are important to the respondents record higher response rates;
    • Sensitive questions should be placed at the end of the questionnaire. If they are located at the beginning, the respondent may quit the survey prematurely;
    • Demographic questions are also usually placed at the end of the questionnaire;
    • Questions with similar elements (e.g. scale) should be grouped. This reduces the cognitive burden of the respondent.
  2. The first question should be:
    • Suitable for anyone. Recruitment questions, which are used to estimate the suitability of the respondent, are an exception;
    • Simple, so that the respondents can read, understand and answer it in a few seconds. The first question is no place for open questions or extensive questions with a large number of possible answers;
    • Interesting, because that increases the probability that the respondent will participate in the survey.
  3. The first and the last page of the questionnaire:
    • The first page should primarily motivate respondents, so it should not contain instructions;
    • The last page should be as simple as possible. Usually, it contains an expression of thanks.

Technically speaking, a web questionnaire is an ordinary web page with elements that enable data entry. Web survey software can enable different layouts of elements, which have a direct effect on the way the respondent navigates the questionnaire and can have important methodological implications.

Compared to paper questionnaires web surveys offer a far simpler way of including images and multimedia. Advanced software can implement images (e.g. logos and backgrounds) as a part of the questionnaire, a question or an answer option. A question can also include sounds, videos or animations, which additionally expand the use of web questionnaires.

1KA’s formatting tools allow the user to design appropriate, professional and consistent questionnaires, which enable a non-interrupted question flow and reduce the chance of influencing the respondents’ answers.

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