Designing a Questionnaire

Objective: Design a Questionnaire using a word processing package to gather information about a particular diseases.

General Format to a Questionnaire:

Theory:

A questionnaire is a research instrument consisting of a series of questions (or other types of prompts) for the purpose of gathering information from respondents. The questionnaire was invented by the Statistical Society of London in 1838.

Questionnaire construction

Question type: A questionnaire consists of a number of questions that the respondent has to answer in a set format. A distinction is made between open-ended and closed-ended questions. An open-ended question asks the respondent to formulate his own answer, whereas a closed-ended question has the respondent pick an answer from a given number of options.

Four types of response scales for closed-ended questions are distinguished:
  • Dichotomous, where the respondent has two options
  • Nominal-polytomous, where the respondent has more than two unordered options
  • Ordinal-polytomous, where the respondent has more than two ordered options
  • (Bounded)Continuous, where the respondent is presented with a continuous scale

Basic rules for questionnaire item construction

  • Use statements which are interpreted in the same way by members of different sub populations of the population of interest.
  • Use statements where persons that have different opinions or traits will give different answers.
  • Think of having an "open" answer category after a list of possible answers.
  • Use only one aspect of the construct you are interested in per item.
  • Use positive statements and avoid negatives or double negatives.
  • Do not make assumptions about the respondent.
  • Use clear and comprehensible wording, easily understandable for all educational levels
  • Use correct spelling, grammar and punctuation.
  • Avoid items that contain more than one question per item (e.g. Do you like strawberries and potatoes?).
  • Question should not be biased or even leading the participant towards an answer.
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