Questionnaires are frequently used in quantitative marketing research. They are a valuable method of collecting a wide range of information from a large number of respondents. Good questionnaire construction is critical to the success of a survey. Inappropriate questions, incorrect ordering of questions, incorrect scaling, or bad questionnaire format can make the survey valueless. A useful method for checking a questionnaire for problems is to pretest it. This usually involves giving it to a small sample of respondents, then interviewing the respondents to get their impressions and to confirm that the questions accurately captured their opinions.

Questionnaire Construction Issues

Types of Questions

  1. Contingency questions - A question that is answered only if the respondent gives a particular response to a previous question. This avoids asking questions of people that do not apply to them (for example, asking men if they have ever been pregnant).
  2. Matrix questions - Identical response categories are assigned to multiple questions. The questions are placed one under the other, forming a matrix with response categories along the top and a list of questions down the side. This is an efficient use of page space and respondents’ time.
  3. Scaled questions - Responses are graded on a continuum (example : rate the appearance of the product on a scale from 1 to 10, with 10 being the most preferred appearance). Examples of types of scales include the Likert scale, semantic differential scale, and rank-order scale (See scale for a complete list of scaling techniques.).
  4. Closed ended questions - Respondents’ answers are limited to a fixed set of responses. Most scales are closed ended. Other types of closed ended questions include:
    * Dichotomous questions - The respondent answers with a “yes” or a “no”.
    * Multiple choice - The respondent has several option from which to choose.
  5. Open ended questions - No options or predefined categories are suggested. The respondent supplies their own answer without being constrained by a fixed set of possible responses. Examples of types of open ended questions include:
    • Completely unstructured - For example, “What is your opinion of questionnaires?”
    • Word association - Words are presented and the respondent mentions the first word that comes to mind.
    • Sentence completion - Respondents complete an incomplete sentence. For example, “The most important consideration in my decision to buy a new house is . . .”
    • Story completion - Respondents complete an incomplete story.
    • Picture completion - Respondents fill in an empty conversation balloon.
    • Thematic apperception test - Respondents explain a picture or make up a story about what they think is happening in the picture

Question Sequence

See also

Lists of related topics