Questionnaire Design Asking Questions with a Purpose
Mary G. Marshall Program Development & Evaluation The Texas A&M University System CONTENTS Constructing a Questionnaire Kinds of Information Wording the Questions Response Option Guidelines Types of Questions Close-Ended Questions with One Choice Answers Two Option Response One Best Answer Rating Scale Ordered Choice "Other, Please Specify" Items in a Series Paired Comparisons Matching Close-Ended Questions with Multiple Choice Answers Check All That Apply Lists Ranking Open-Ended Questions Fill in the Blank One Question Structured Four Different Ways Formatting the Questionnaire Pretesting the Questionnaire References 3 4 6 9 11 12

14 15 16 17 18 19 20 24 26

For many evaluation activities, questions will be the main source of information. As a series of questions in written form, a questionnaire is a tool for getting similar information from people that permits numerical tabulation and discussion. An alternative method for acquiring information is an interview, but it is verbal in form. Writing questions and constructing a questionnaire takes time and attention. The starting point is to know what kind of evidence is needed to meet the purpose of the study and to know how the information is to be used. * * Make a list of what you want to know. What do you really want to find out? What do you want to achieve through the use of the questionnaire? From the beginning, think through what you will actually do with each piece of information. What do you want to be able to say? Do you expect to use frequencies, counts, percentages, rankings, multivariate analysis? Ask a question only when it has a purpose, if it is directly related to the purpose of the study. A tendency to collect more and more data adds to costs in time and money and results in information overload. Eliminate all the "nice to know" pieces that aren't essential. Eliminate ambiguous questions. Check to see if the information is already available. Many questions are unnecessary. In writing questions, look through the respondent's eyes: Will the question be seen as reasonable? Will the question infringe on the respondent's privacy? Will the respondent be able and willing to tell you what you want to know? Be selective and realistic. Know what information is needed, why it is wanted, and how you will use the information.


* *

what people know. feel or want. For example: Do you favor or oppose controlled calving for your operation? Do you agree or disagree that eating beef causes heart disease? . satisfactory/unsatisfactory. KNOWLEDGE . and what they think. These questions ask what people know. The ideal refrigerator temperature is . TRUE-FALSE BELIEF . desirable/undesirable.how people feel about something. Questions may seek perceptions of past. should/should not. For example: What is the major cause of accidental deaths among children inside the home? The most effective weight loss plan includes exercise. what they value. present or future reality. Choices implied in knowledge questions include correct/incorrect. an opinion. Any one or a combination of these types of information may be included in a questionnaire. what is accepted as true or factual. For example: In your opinion. what they have. favor/oppose. Five different types of information may be distinguished. what one thinks exists or does not exist.what people think is true. a preference. Words typically used in attitude questions include: prefer/not prefer. Choices implied in belief questions include what did or did not happen. Such questions ask people to indicate whether they have a positive or a negative feeling about a subject. does positive self-esteem among adolescents prevent drug abuse? Do you think that lower beef prices would increase beef consumption? ATTITUDE .KINDS OF INFORMATION A questionnaire can help you collect information about what people do. accurate/inaccurate. understand. Beliefs are judgments of what people think is true or false. know. how well they understand something. are aware of.

income. If questions are vague. or what they plan to do in the future. Questions concerning attitudes tend to be more difficult to phrase. Questions on attributes ask people about who they are rather than what they do. education. you must ask the right question! . questions related to each type of information present different writing problems. what people have.what people are. be clear about the intended uses and type of information desired. given the complexity underlying most attitudes.what people do Ñ may be a physical/manual or mental behavior. questions about knowledge. what they are doing now. For example: Have you ever attended an Extension program about cotton production? Do you treat your cotton for bollworms? How are you currently using the information gained in the food storage workshop? ATTRIBUTES . behaviors and attributes tend to be more direct. The response or information you obtain is only as good as the question. Questions about behavior ask people what they have done in the past.BEHAVIOR . Attributes are a person's personal or demographic characteristics such as age. For example: Where do you currently live? How many children do you have? What percentage of your household income comes from off-farm employment? To write meaningful questions. Likewise. the questionnaire may elicit attitudes and beliefs when the intent is to document actual behavior. Careful attention should be given to the wording of such questions. occupation. To get the type of information you want. In contrast.

such as 0 to 5. or the last 12 months. twice weekly. Provide a statement summarizing points of the policy that distinguishes it. Words such as regularly and occasionally mean different things to different people. IMPAC programs? Or the technical terms that professionals commonly use as short-cuts. * * * * * . Will respondents understand what is meant by such terms as issue-based programming. Include all necessary information. respondents may not know enough to adequately answer the question. * Use simple wording. Avoid using abbreviations." And in the question "How many times did your 4-H club meet last year?" the year should be specifiedÑ1997. Examples of vague terms include these: majority [more than half of what?]. Avoid questions that may be too precise. older people [how old?]. consider three things: 1) the particular people for whom the questionnaire is being designed. 1997-98. learning experiences. In some cases. For example: Do you agree or disagree with the county's new environmental policy? Respondents may not know what the policy is or whether it is the most recent one. People's lives are usually not so orderly that they can recall exactly how many times they ate out last year or how many Extension meetings they attended in 1996. governmental [city. they response category might provide a range for selection. jargon. and 3) how questions will be placed in relation to each other in the questionnaire. often [daily. state. Some suggestions appear below. To help respondents formulate an answer. county. or September 1997 through August 1998. Use clear wording. 11 to 15. weekly?].WORDING THE QUESTIONS Wording questions to gain what is wanted and also to be understood by all respondents is a challenging task. federal?]. In writing questions. A question about older youth should specify what age or grade is considered as "older. Adapt wording to the vocabulary and reading skills of people who will be asked for information. but don't talk down to them. etc. 2) the particular purpose of the questionnaire. Do any words have double meanings or are any words confusing? Be specific. 6 to 10. or foreign phrases.

Make sure that only one answer is possible. Also. d) from the newspaper. The respondent may have heard about the seminar from a friend at work.000 to $29. Questions such as "How many children do you have?" or "Do you prepare beef when you have friends in to eat?" make assumptionsÑthat the respondent has children. Such questions influence people to respond in a way that does not accurately reflect their position. In this exampleÑ "Did the poultry production seminar help you to identify ways to improve the sanitation and increase the nutrition of your cage bird operation?" Ñit would be better to ask about sanitation and nutrition separately. For example: "Do you have children?" YES/NO [If yes. e) from a friend. $30. oppose both places. c) from a relative. Avoid making assumptions. etc. or oppose legalization as a concept in general. b) at work. * * * * * Avoid bias in questions. Two questions written together gives no opportunity for people to respond in favor of one part or the other. a series of questions may be used to soften or overcome the questionable nature of certain information. . Avoid questions that are too demanding and time consuming. f) at an Extension meeting. In the example of "How did you hear about the Extension seminar?" the response categories are: a) from the Extension office. A set of questions would be preferred with the first question establishing the situation. "How many children do you have?"] Avoid double questions. so that more than one answer is possible on this list. oppose home but favor public use.999. that the respondent has friends in to eat.] instead of specifying precise information. Other double questions may be unduly ambiguous.* Phrase any personal or potentially incriminating questions in less objectionable ways.000 to $19. or eating habits may be objectionable to respondents. This exampleÑ "Do you favor legalization of marijuana for use in private homes but not in public places?" Ñgives respondents no way to say whether they favor both places. One method is to ask respondents to select from among broad categories [income less than $10.000 and over. Examples are: Rank the following 15 items in order of their importance to you.999. A question can be biased in several ways: 1) when the question implies that the respondent should be engaged in a particular behavior. In 25 words or less. what is your philosophy of 4-H leadership? Use mutually exclusive categories. Being asked to indicate income level. $20.000. $10. ethnic background. drug use. followed by the question of concern.

3. equality. Too often the answers are confusing.2) when unequal response categories are given or the responses are loaded in one direction. Check for any incomplete sentences. not in local order. boss.000 ACRES 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 BETTER 0 ACRES 1-200 ACRES 201-400 ACRES 401-600 ACRES 601-800 ACRES 801-1000 ACRES OVER 1000 ACRES * Use complete sentences. How would you rate the housing in which you live? 1 SATISFACTORY 2 GOOD 3 EXCELLENT No negative options are provided. 3) when words with strong positive or negative emotional appeal are used. etc. Do you agree or disagree that Extension funding should be increased? (Circle one) 1 STRONGLY AGREE 2 AGREE 3 DISAGREE 4 STRONGLY DISAGREE * Make the response categories clear and logical. More farmers in Greater County are using Superb than any other variety of wheat. Do you use Superb? 1 YES 2 NO This question suggests that the respondent should be using Superb. such as bureaucratic. . Trying to keep questions simple and concise may result in questions being too cryptic and misunderstood. Do you agree that funding for Extension in your county should be increased? 1 NO 2 YES This is a leading question. A better question would state: 4. or improperly spaced on the page. Some examples of biased questions are shown here: 1. 2. For example: POOR LOGIC POOR SPACING 1 1000 ACRES 1 10 ACRES 2 999-500 ACRES 2 1-9 ACRES 3 499-100 ACRES 3 1 0-99 ACRES 4 99-10 ACRES 4 100-499 ACRES 5 9-1 ACRES 5 500-999 ACRES 6 0 ACRES 6 1.

"Codes" are the values representing each response on the questionnaire. and the respondent is asked to circle one choice. D. COWS SOLD B. Would you recommend this program information to your friends and neighbors? [Circle one] 1 NO 2 YES 7.] A. CALVES SOLD C. E. These letters or numbers point to the place where the response can be seen.] NOT AT ALL A. Instructions for answer are the same for each type of question: * FILL IN THE BLANK responses are indicated by a blank line to show the response space.RESPONSE OPTION GUIDELINES Guidelines to help in answering and in tabulating data have been established by Extension's Data Center to emphasize consistent response instructions. 6. "positional parameters" and coding categories. To what extent do you use the following sources of information when you do educational work with the elderly? [Circle one number for each item. numbers (with no periods) are used as the codes for each response. Positional parameters are the numbers/letters which identify each piece of data for computer entry. [Write total number on the line. STEERS SOLD * If ONE ANSWER is wanted for the whole question or one answer for each item within the question. Radio Newspaper Senior Center Professional journals Popular magazines Department of Health 1 1 1 1 1 1 VERY LITTLE 2 2 2 2 2 2 SOMEWHAT 3 3 3 3 3 3 VERY MUCH 4 4 4 4 4 4 . BULLS SOLD D. Please list the number of cattle (if any) sold in 1996. C. F. 5. and the respondent is instructed to fill in the blank. B.

LOW PHOSPHOROUS ¥ d.* If MORE THAN ONE ANSWER is sought or likely. Each example is coded and the instructions provided are compatible with [Extension Information Technology] Extension Data Center guidelines. HIGH CALCIUM. SALT/BONEMEAL ¥ c. . the respondent is instructed to check all that apply. examples are presented that use the various types of response options. 8. LOW CALCIUM.) ¥ a. SALT ¥ b. What types of minerals do you use? (Check all that apply. brackets or boxes are used for marking. In this booklet. EQUAL CALCIUM AND PHOSPHOROUS Using these guidelines will improve data quality by bringing clarity and consistency to Extension-produced questionnaires and improve the tasks of data entry and analysis. HIGH PHOSPHOROUS ¥ e.

include all possible answers] and also mutually exclusive in providing for the selecting of a single response [without the choice seeming to belong to more than one option]. Each type of question has certain advantages and disadvantages. Some questions have multiple choice (check all that apply) options. with examples of some response options and formatting on page 20 to 23.TYPES OF QUESTIONS Questions are open-ended or close-ended. They allow respondents to express their own thoughts and comments but are more demanding of both the respondent and the person doing the analysis. Others have answers in no particular order (lists). The various types of questions are further explained on pages 12 to 19.e. . These are fill-in-the-blank responses. Open-ended questions are those where respondents provide their own answers to the question. These questions have greater uniformity in responses but depend on your knowing and including all relevant responses. Close-ended questions have answer options provided and respondents must select either one answer or multiple answers from what is given. and others provide relevant answer choices but respondents are free to add another answer. Responses for closeended questions must be exhaustive [i. Some questions have answers which fall along an implied continuum (rating scales). without any previously provided options.

OPPOSE-FAVOR. ¥ TWO OPTION RESPONSE Ñ This is the simplest response format. ¥ RATING SCALE Ñ Often. . An example follows: 10.CLOSE-ENDED QUESTIONS WITH ONE CHOICE ANSWERS Respondents are given a list of answers and asked to circle the choice that they feel is the best. this may be the most appropriate format and is often used as a beginning question in a series on the same topic. Whether you use a scale of three. 2 THE FOOD I EAT AND HOW MY BODY USES IT. five or more categories depends on the question and the amount of differentiation that is possible and desired. instead of being gradations along a continuum. FALSE-TRUE. The response options might include: NO-YES. questionnaire respondents are asked to tell their choice at the most appropriate point on a scale. For example: 9. A greater spread of numbers allows for greater accuracy in statistical analysis. Responses are independent of one another. However. They are appropriate when all relevant answer choices are known and can be listed. Do you raise stocker cattle? 1 NO 2 YES Depending on the purpose of the information. See next page for examples. using a rating scale or a ranking (when appropriate) offers more information. DISAGREE-AGREE. 4 HAVING GOOD HEALTH. ¥ ONE BEST ANSWER Ñ These questions can be used to solicit information or to test knowledge. Respondents are provided with the list of answers and asked to check or circle the choice they feel is the best. What does the work "nutrition" mean to you? [Circle one number] 1 GETTING ENOUGH VITAMINS. 3 HAVING TO EAT FOODS I DON'T LIKE. four.

use a numerical scale running from 0 or 1 to some number [see second example above]. poor).g. D. A five-point option series seems to be most useful for attitude scaling. excellent. This is appropriate when you want to know in what direction the people in the middle are leaning. Another decision is whether to provide an even or odd number of response options. Performance Conformation Pedigree Breed OF LITTLE IMPORTANCE 1 2 1 2 1 2 1 2 HIGHLY IMPORTANT 5 6 5 6 5 6 5 6 3 3 3 3 4 4 4 4 7 7 7 7 Starting with either positive or negative response options appears to have little effect on response. B. An odd number of categories provides a middle or neutral position for selection. When purchasing new herd bulls. C. Some examples of rating response categories are these: Very Dissatisfied Somewhat Dissatisfied Somewhat Satisfied Very Satisfied Strongly Unfavorable Generally Unfavorable Uncertain Generally Favorable Strongly Favorable No Help at All Slightly Helpful Fairly Helpful Very Helpful Strongly Disagree Disagree Somewhat Uncertain Agree Somewhat Strongly Agree Decreased Stayed the Same Increased Poor Fair Good Excellent . For greater differentiation. An even number of categories forces the respondent to take a side. A fourpoint option series appears useful for ratings [e. fair. how important are the following traits in your selecting process? [Circle one number for each selection trait] SELECTION TRAIT A.11. But you must be consistent in the order followed throughout the questionnaire. To what extent do you agree or disagree with the new zoning code? [Circle one] 1 STRONGLY DISAGREE 2 MILDLY DISAGREE 3 NEITHER AGREE OR DISAGREE 4 MILDLY AGREE 5 STRONGLY AGREE 12. good. Many people may relate best to a ten-point scale. neither does it matter whether Yes or No is listed first.

They are appropriate when the topic is well defined and the choice represents a gradation along a single dimension. ¥ "OTHER. Which of these community recreational facilities to you use the most? (Circle one number) 1 PARKS 2 TENNIS COURTS 3 SWIMMING POOLS 4 OTHER . It is more important to choose those that are most appropriate to the question being asked. the responses are usually intended to measure degree or intensity in an ordered sequence or scale. (Circle one number) 1 NEVER 2 RARELY 3 SOMETIMES 4 OFTEN 14. which gives three positive choices but only one negative option. Too often they are never used because they cannot be entered neatly into the computer. See these examples: 13." This protects you against leaving out an important answer choice. STAYED THE SAME.¥ ORDERED CHOICE Ñ In this type of question. How do you feel about this statement: "I wish this community had more recycling centers. Within your 4-H club. INCREASED A LITTLE. PLEASE SPECIFY" Ñ Here the respondent is offered a choice of answers plus an open-ended response category such as "Other (Please specify). so think about what you will do with these responses. Examples follow with open-ended choices included: 15. INCREASED A LOT. These questions are particularly suited for evaluating attitudes or opinions. but do it where possible. It also means that you will have narrative text to analyze. INCREASED SOMEWHAT. A poor example is: DECREASED." (circle one number) 1 STRONGLY DISAGREE 2 MILDLY DISAGREE 3 NEITHER AGREE NOR DISAGREE 4 MILDLY AGREE 5 STRONGLY AGREE Responses need to reflect a clear difference and be balanced both positively and negatively. It is not necessary to use the same categories for each question. describe the extent to which you were included in making important decisions.

____ YOGURT d. Breads and cereals E. How often do you eat the following meats? (Circle one number for each meat) LESS THAN 1-3 TIMES 4-6 TIMES NEVER ONCE/WEEK A WEEK A WEEK DAILY A. Lamb 1 2 3 4 5 C. Fish 1 2 3 4 5 ¥ PAIRED COMPARISONS Ñ Respondents are asked to compare one item to another. it is possible to present the responses in tabular form. Match each food to the proper food group by putting the correct lower case letter in the blank. Fruits and vegetables D. Pork 1 2 3 4 5 D. ____ PUMPKIN e. as in the example below. which does your family use more often? [Choose one from each comparison. Identify the answer choices with a horizontal bracket which guides respondents to the answer choices. For example: A.] 1 BEEF OR 2 POULTRY 3 BEEF OR 4 LAMB 5 BEEF OR 6 PORK 7 BEEF OR 8 WILD GAME (VENISON. What do you consider the main responsibility of your county 4-H agent? [Circle one number] 1 WORK WITH PEOPLE WHO REQUEST HELP 2 WORK WITH 4-H MEMBERS 3 WORK WITH VOLUNTEER 4-H LEADERS 4 PLAN AND ORGANIZE COUNTY YOUTH EVENTS 5 ORGANIZE AND EXPAND NEW 4-H CLUBS 6 OTHER (please specify) ¥ ITEMS IN A SERIES Ñ When various questions use the same response category. Milk and milk products C.16. In comparing beef to other meats. Sweets F. 19. c Strawberry A. ____ HAM c. 17. ETC. Poultry 1 2 3 4 5 E. circling the number on that line. ____ OATMEAL . ____ WHOLE WHEAT BREAD a.) ¥ MATCHING Ñ Respondents are asked to match responses to a list of items. Beef 1 2 3 4 5 B. Meat and meat products B. usually expressed in terms of "either/or" or one item "versus [vs] another. 18. ____ NECTARINE b.

LOCAL AUCTION BARN ¥ b. 22. REPRODUCTIVE DISEASES ¥ LISTS Ñ A list provides a series of answers. Please indicate for each adjective. LOCAL MEAT PACKER ¥ c. It is a fast and easy way to obtain such in formation which also saves space. Examples: 20. D. COW HEALTH b. DESCRIBES ME 2 1 1 1 DOES NOT DESCRIBE ME 3 2 3 2 3 2 3 DON'T KNOW A. TERMINAL MARKET ¥ d.] ¥ a. How do you currently market your cattle? [Check all that apply. GRUBS OR TICKS f. INTERNAL PARASITES d. that the respondent will not consider each item Ñ so don't make the list too long. What information would you like covered in the next Extension workshop? (Check all your choices) ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ a. whether the adjective does or does not describe you. There is a risk. CALF DISEASES c. depending on the instructions. BRUCELLOSIS e.CLOSE-ENDED QUESTIONS WITH MULTIPLE CHOICE ANSWERS ¥ CHECK ALL THAT APPLY Ñ This common response format is actually a series of YES NO items. HEDGING ¥ e. C. B. however. Ambitious 1 Happy Idealistic Outgoing . LIVESTOCK DEALER 21. Respondents may choose one or more answers. DIRECT SALES CONTRACT (SELLING FORWARD) ¥ f. Listed below are some adjectives that might be used to describe a person.

Physical conditioning through diet f. Ambitious Happy Idealistic Outgoing ¥ RANKING Ñ Rank ordering is a multiple-choice option. What would you like to know more about? Select up to four responses from the righthand column and rank them in order of first. 1. _______ c. What to eat to look better b. What to eat to look better 2. _______ a. fourth choice. Weight control d. Saving costs in food buying . How food affects me 3. 24. third. (Place the letter of the alphabet on the lines provided. _______ 2. What would you like to know more about? Select three responses from the list and rank them in order of 1. 1. Respondents are given various responses and asked to rank them in order of importance or indicate a "top three. 1. 4. Health foods e. How food affects me c. From the list provided. _______ 3. 3. 2. Reading labels to find the fat content h. c. _______ first choice _______ second choice _______ third choice _______ fourth choice a." See the examples below. 3. _______ a. Vitamins g. select THREE adjectives which best describe you. Vitamins 25. Weight control d. b. 2. Health foods e.23. second. Physical conditioning through diet f. _______ b. d.

A. 28.] Can be used as a probing question to elicit more detail. We are interested in knowing any other comments you might have concerning the 4-H program and your role as 4-H leader. Answers are likely to be varied. The computer or data enter person can't "magically" tabulate open-ended questions. ____ ACRES OF CLOVER E. ____ ACRES OF WHEAT B. Name the five basic food groups. ____ ACRES OF RYE GRASS D. if any. . Please list the number of acres. * When asking for a numeric response. include the unit which is to be used. Please say how you intend to use the information you gained during the workshop. 26. they must be categories and summarized. ____ ACRES OF OATS C. 29. so think about how you will analyze the responses. but the responses are not easy to analyze. * * Most often used to stimulate free thought. solicit creative suggestions. of temporary pasture you planed in 1997. ____ ACRES OF OTHER (and specify):_______________________________ * * Useful when respondents are asked to supply a specific answer and a large array of responses is possible (example 3 above) or when all possible answers are not known. 30. ____ ACRES OF SUMMER ANNUALS F. Often used at the end of a questionnaire to ask respondents for any additional comments they might have (example 4 above). or recall information learned [See examples 1 and 2 below. Please write in the space below any thoughts you'd like to share with us. What do you think should be done to improve the Family and Consumer Science program in this county? 27.OPEN-ENDED QUESTIONS FILL IN THE BLANK Ñ An open-ended question is often the easiest way to ask a question.

C. D. B. Effective Parenting Child Development Guidance and Discipline Communications ¥ PARTIALLY CLOSE-ENDED What topic do you feel should be the main program emphasis for next year? [Circle number of your answer] 1 Effective Parenting 2 Child Development 3 Guidance and Discipline 4 Communications 5 Other (please specify) ¥ OPEN-ENDED What would you like to see as the main program emphasis next year? .ONE QUESTION STRUCTURED FOUR DIFFERENT WAYS ¥ CLOSE-ENDED WITH UNORDERED RESPONSE CHOICES Which of these four topics would you like most to see as the primary program emphasis for next year? (Circle the number of your answer) 1 Effective Parenting 2 Child Development 3 Guidance and Discipline 4 Communications ¥ CLOSE-ENDED WITH ORDERED RESPONSES How important to you is each of the following possible program emphases? [Circle a number for each item] NONE 1 1 1 1 LITTLE 2 2 2 2 SOME MUCH 3 4 3 4 3 4 3 4 A.

Try to use the same type of question/responses throughout a particular train of thought. In mailed questionnaires. reinforce points that were made in the cover letter. Use quality print in an easy-to-read type face. followed by questions about costs of these various types. Make them clearly related and useful to the topic of the questionnaire. purpose of the different types. The beginning questions should not be open-ended or questions with a long list of answer choices. then an open-ended question.) at the end of the questionnaire. who is conducting it. and confidentiality. if you want to find out about a person's knowledge of insurance. Arrange the order of questions to achieve continuity and a natural flow. etc. Place demographic questions (age. ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ . a series of decisions must be made about the questionnaire format: its appearance. Put the more important questions at the beginning. It breaks the attention span to have a multiple choice question following a YES/NO question. start with questions about types of insurance. ¥ Make the first questions nonprovoking and interesting. and order of questions.FORMATTING THE QUESTIONNAIRE As the questions are determined. ¥ Begin with an introduction which includes the questionnaire's purpose. to what use the information will go. For example. length. followed by a more specific question. Put the more general questions first. race/ethnicity. Try to keep all questions on one subject together. gender. The following guidelines may help in formatting the questionnaire. The questionnaire must be pleasing to look at and easy to complete. Allow sufficient open space to let the respondent feel it is not crowded and hard to read.

instead of side to side. For example. Maybe put the instructions in boldface or italics. to help in data tabulation and analysis. put the response blanks in the same location on the page to make tabulation easier. ¥ . if you begin with: 1 NO 2 YES then don't switch later to: 1 YES 2 NO Keep the whole question and its answers on the same page.) (Check all that apply.¥ Always use the same number for the same answer throughout the questionnaire. Be sure that the question is distinguishable from the instructions and the answers.) (Please fill in the blank. As much as possible.) (Circle only one. Dillman [1978] suggests using lower case letters for questions and upper case letters for answers.) (Enter whole numbers. the respondent moves easily down the page.) Pre-code items and response categories as much as possible. This will save time and money since data can be entered directly from the questionnaire without recoding the responses. Specific instructions may include: (Circle the number of your choice. Don't cause respondents to turn a page in the middle of a question or between the question and its answers. Example: Instead of horizontally: ___ EXCELLENT ___ GOOD ___ FAIR ___ POOR ¥ ¥ ¥ Format vertically: 1 EXCELLENT 2 GOOD 3 FAIR 4 POOR ¥ Give directions on how to answer. Try to arrange questions and answers in a vertical flow. It is better to repeat directions too often than not enough.) (Please do not use decimals or fractions. This way. Put directions in parentheses immediately after the question.

computer budgeting workshops. . It is a brief summary of the program's activities and people who were involved. Example transitional statements: Next we would like to ask you several questions about the community organizations you belong to. A validation item [Bennett. Finally. Consumers from across the county attended these activities on Money Management Skills. ¥ It may be useful to make sure that the respondent is referring to the same program and defining it similarly. For example: The Dell County Extension family life program included a variety of activities during 1997 that focused on teaching money management and budgeting skills to help families better manage their resources. or 3) use boxes to direct respondents past the question(s) they don't need to answer. and 3) to break up the monotony of a long series of questions. Dillman [1978] makes three suggestions: 1) use arrows to guide respondents from one question to the next. 2) to start new pages. letter series and short courses. 1982] at the beginning of the questionnaire identifies the program and sets the stage for the questions to follow. For such screening or filtering questions. we would like to ask a few questions about you to help us in interpreting the results. ¥ Some questions may not apply to every respondent. Another important purpose of this survey is to learn how you feel about the work of service organizations in your community.¥ Use transitional statements to build continuity. 2) indent all questions that may be screened. Transitional statements are used in three ways: 1) to signal that a new topic is beginning. These activities included lunch and learn programs. make it clear who is to answer the question and what should be done by those who aren't supposed to answer.

OR THIS FORMAT --Q-5 Do you own or rent the home in which you now live? [Circle the number of your answer] 1 OWN HOME (If you own your home) Q-6a How much is your monthly house payment (without property taxes)? 1 2 3 4 5 LESS THAN $200 $200 TO $299 $300 TO $399 $400 TO $499 $500 OR MORE 2 RENT HOME (If you rent your home) Q-6b How much is your monthly rent? 1 2 3 4 5 LESS THAN $200 $200 TO $299 $300 TO $399 $400 TO $499 $500 OR MORE Q-7a How much per month do you pay for electricity.See these examples of screening/filtering questions: Q-5 Do you own or rent the home in which you now live? 1 OWN THE HOME 2 RENT HOME If you rent: Q-6 How much is your monthly rent? 1 2 3 4 5 LESS THAN $100 $100 TO $199 $200 TO $299 $300 TO $399 $400 OR MORE > If you OWN. if any. skip from here to Q-14 on next page. is included in your monthly rent? (Circle all that are included) 1 2 3 4 5 ELECTRICITY GARBAGE HEAT WATER NONE OF THE ABOVE . --. heat. water and garbage collection? 1 2 3 4 5 LESS THAN $30 $30 TO $74 $75 TO $124 $125 TO $199 $200 OR MORE Q-7b Which of these.

will greatly increase the quality of information obtained from a questionnaire. questions. too many people consider pilot testing as a superficial task they can avoid. then don't do the study. Ask co-workers to review all questions to see if wording and instructions are clear Ñ if the questionnaire will accomplish the study purposes. Allow enough time to incorporate any revisions. but find later that the intended respondents did not understand well enough to deal with most questions. Choose people who represent a crosssection of the population that will be given the questionnaire. 1 Have colleagues critically review the questionnaire. 2 . According to Dillman [1978: 156]. ask for comments about their impressions Ñ understanding of the purpose. ease of response. any pretest needs to provide evidence about the following questions: Is each question measuring what it is intended to measure? Are all the words understood? Are questions interpreted similarly by all respondents? Does each close-ended question have an answer that applies to each respondent? Does the questionnaire create a positive impression. Consider the reviewers' comments carefully and see how they can enhance the questionnaire. Unfortunately. one that motivates people to answer it? Are questions answered correctly? (Are some missed? Do some elicit uninterpretable answers?) Does any part of the questionnaire suggest bias on the part of the researcher? Taking the five steps below. Many practitioners feel that if you don't have the resources to critically test the usability and understandability of the instrument in advance. This means a careful examination of the individual questions and the questionnaire as a whole. several weeks or even months in advance.PRETESTING THE QUESTIONNAIRE Pretesting is an essential part of questionnaire design. After they answer the questions. Select people like your respondents to "pre-test" the questionnaire.

Ñ This makes a good impression for mail or meeting distribution. 4 Try the tabulation and analysis procedures. Revise and re-test. 5 Now prepare and check the final draft. Using the responses from people who pretested the questionnaire. Go over each question until you and other users are satisfied that: Ñ Specific items will contribute to key questions I am trying to answer. have people answer it without any help and afterward obtain their suggestions. It is very important also to assess whether the questions produce the data you need to meet the purpose of the study.3 Simulate the actual data collection procedure as much as possible. do the data entry tabulations and analyze in the way you would to prepare your final report. either by phone or face-to-face. to see if the questionnaire yields data that can be analyzed. Obtain feedback about the form and content of the questionnaire. . Were any questions misunderstood? Were the directions clear? How long did it take to fill out? Was it too long or too difficult? Was there enough space to write in the responses? etc. If a mailed questionnaire. When responses are adequately understood and yield the type(s) of information you are searching for. take it through a practice run of all the intended steps. have the interviewer actually conduct the pilot test. as it will be done. Ñ Information obtained from the questionnaire will mean something for my study and provide the evidence needed. telephone or direct interview. the design stage is nearing completion. Reformulate wherever needed and check the new questions with a new representative group of respondents. If an interview. Whether a mail survey.

d. Christy and Jeffrey D. SURVEY DESIGN .. New York: John Wiley and Sons. Seymour and Norman M. OH: Ohio Cooperative Extension Service. EVALUATING FOR ACCOUNTABILITY. Sudman. Ithaca. Kansas State University. 1978. The Ohio State University. Claude F. A PRACTICAL GUIDE TO QUESTIONNAIRE DESIGN. EDGE. Manhattan. Barbara J.REFERENCES Babbie. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass Publishers. Newsome. REFLECTIVE APPRAISAL OF PROGRAMS (RAP): An Approach to Studying Clientele-Perceived Results of Cooperative Extension Programs. OR: Oregon State University Extension Service. n. et al. SURVEY RESEARCH METHODS. 1982. College Station: Texas Agricultural Extension Service. Layman. Extension Computer Technology Group. NY: Cornell University Media Services. KS: Kansas State Cooperative Extension Service.. Dillman. MAIL AND TELEPHONE SURVEYS: THE TOTAL DESIGN METHOD. Columbus. ASKING QUESTIONS. F. 1985. 1973. CONSTRUCTING A QUESTIONNAIRE. Corvallis. Belmont. Sawer. Donald A. Bennett.GETTING DATA INTO THE COMPUTER MANUALLY. Fisher. 1984.. CA: Wadsworth Publishing Co. n. Rohs. Richard. Earl R. Bradburn. 1982. Inc.d. NORTHEAST AREA EVALUATION PROCESS. Athens. Bob W. 1986. GA: Georgia Cooperative Extension Service. QUESTIONNAIRE CONSTRUCTION. .

Sign up to vote on this title
UsefulNot useful