2. Do not make it overly long
In most cases, there is little reason for your questionnaire to be more than a page long. Asking the participants 50 questions with slight variation is inefficient and increases the odds that they will not finish it. Even when you are creating an academic writing questionnaire in order to collect a lot of information, limiting it to 10 effective questions will usually be enough to achieve what you need. From your end, it also saves you time since it means you will not have to dedicate hours to thinking up questions or sifting through all that data.
3. Keep the design simple
While you might be proud of your graphic design skills, the questionnaire is not the platform for showing them off. When the purpose of your questionnaire is to collect important information for your research paper or to generate higher sales, you do not want to create a design that distracts or annoys the participants. Choose a conventional font such as Arial, Calibri or Times New Roman along with a text size that the participants can read.
Experts who know how to create a questionnaire believe that the best way to design the layout is to place all of the questions onto one page that fits onto a single screen. Be sure to place the checkboxes in a convenient place next to the question. If the questionnaire participants are forced to click buttons in order to flip to the next page or go back to the previous one, they might just decide it is not worth the confusion. Finally, do not forget to make the design smartphone friendly.
4. Determine the research objectives beforehand
Before you start planning the questionnaire questions, make sure that you understand the purpose of your research. Creating a questionnaire first and then building the research around it is not a very good strategy. Ultimately, the entire point of a questionnaire is to develop questions that allow you to find answers to your research question.
Thus, the first step in the research process is to propose the research question that you plan to explore. What are the aims of the research? How will this questionnaire help you achieve these objectives? Only after you answer these questions should you proceed to create the questionnaire.
If you are doing scientific research, your paper will almost certainly require a testable hypothesis. The purpose of the questionnaire is to help you determine the validity of your research. In addition, with a highly focused hypothesis, you will be able to create survey questions that will be necessary for answering the overreaching research question while leaving out irrelevant questions.
5. Write clearly
One of the potential problems that researchers face when developing the questions is that the participant might either not understand the question being asked or will misinterpret its meaning. You certain do not want the reliability of the data to be called into question as a result. Thus, you should keep the questions as clear as possible. Avoid long-winded questions, highly technical language, and do not think about placing two questions into one. For instance, instead of asking, “Did you enjoy your dining experience with us and do you see yourself returning?” you should ask those questions separately so that the participants understand each question clearly and know what responses you are looking for.
6. Avoid asking leading or biased questions
The purpose of your research should be to find the actual answers, not merely confirm what you want to believe is true. Thus, you should not ask questions that are intended to sway the participants towards a particular answer. For example, instead of asking, “Many customers believe we are one of the best restaurants in the city. Would you agree or disagree?” you should ask, “On a scale of 1 to 10, how would you rate your dining experience at our restaurant?” Phrasing the questions in a way that eliminates bias is the best way to guarantee valid responses.