A survey is a data collection method used to gather information from a selected group of people. It is used to collect written or verbal information in an organized and objective manner. A survey involves all aspects of the research process including: survey design and construction, data collection planning, data collecting, data processing and response analysis. The most common methods used to conduct surveys are questionnaires, interviews, focus groups and observations.
A questionnaire is a tool often used in research and statistical studies to collect and record information about a particular issue of interest. It is used to gather qualitative and quantitative information from respondents and consists of a set of written questions. It allows to capture a large amount of information in a short period of time from a large number of individuals without spending much effort. Questionnaires are a relatively inexpensive ways to collect data, and results are easy to analyze.
Questionnaires are commonly used in marketing research, organizational behavior research, academic research, and quality and process improvement initiatives. Service industries (such as hotels,restaurants and training centers) often rely on questionnaires to determine their customer satisfaction levels. Questionnaire can be conducted via the web, email, phone, or in person. Typical applications of questionnaires are:
- Verifying customer/employee satisfaction levels.
- Measuring customer perception of quality on products or services.
- Measuring performance against organizational goals.
- Solving a problem or pursuing an opportunity.
- Acquiring benchmarking information.
How to Construct a Questionnaire:
Although it seems quite easy to write a questionnaire, you need to have some skills and experience to write a good one. If you simply start out writing questions without knowing what the problem is or without planning the structure, you may find later that some important questions were not addressed, and other questions were not asked in a useful way.
- Start by clearly define the goal of the questionnaire and the specific information need to be collected.
- Identify the target respondents for the questionnaire.
- Determine the relevant sampling method and decide the best way to conduct the questionnaire.
- Choose the questions type and the measurement scales.
- Draft the questionnaire and sequence the questions.
- Conduct a pilot test then finalize the questionnaire.
- Send out the questionnaire to the respondents.
- Collect, compile then analyze the results.
Basic Rules When Writing Your Questionnaire:
- Avoid making assumptions about the respondents.
- Use short questionnaires (long questionnaires will result in decreased participation).
- Use clear easily understandable wordingfor all educational levels.
- Use positive statements and avoid asking emotional questions.
- Questions should not be biased or leading the participant towards an answer.
- Remember to include contextual questions.
- Avoid questioning more than one question per item.
- End the questionnaire with a broad open-ended question such as “Is there anything else you would like to say?” This gives respondents an opportunity to communicate in their own terms.