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Research Methodology

A questionnaire is a series of questions asked to individuals to obtain statistically useful information about a given topic. When properly constructed and responsibly administered, questionnaires become a vital instrument by which statements can be made about specific groups or people or entire populations.

A well designed questionnaire gives accurate and relevant information about the

research questions. It reduces the potential sources of biasness. A well designed questionnaire will likely be completed as simple and focused as possible. Asking questions is an obvious method of collecting both quantitative and qualitative information from people. Questionnaires are a particularly suitable tool for gaining

quantitative data but can also be used for qualitative data.

Types of questionnaires

1. Structured questionnaire

2. Unstructured questionnaire

1. Structured questionnaire

Structured questionnaires are based predominantly on closed questions which produce data that can be analyzed quantitatively for patterns and trends. The agenda is

entirely predetermined by the evaluator and provides little flexibility for respondents

to qualify their answers. A closed question can be answered with either 'yes' or 'no'


Do you have a library membership card? Yes ( ) No ( )

2. Unstructured open ended questionnaire

Unstructured are based predominantly on open questions where there is no list of answer choices from which to choose. Respondents are simply asked to write their response to a question.


A. What are the facilities and services do you expect from your library?

Types of questions in a questionnaire

A questionnaire involves the following types of questions

1. Open ended questions

The open ended questions are used to pose some problems and ask the respondents. The respondent is free to answer in their own content and style. These tend to permit freedom of expression and allow the respondents to qualify their responses. This freedom leads to a lack of bias but the answers are more open to researcher interpretation. They are also more demanding and time consuming for respondent and more difficult to code. These questions work in several ways.

Research Methodology

Open-ended questions are set to ask for the critical thinking and uncut opinion of the respondent because these respondents are perfect for gaining information from specialists in a field about which the researcher is less qualified or does not have sufficient information about the topic.

Open-ended questions can be useful for surveys that are targeting a small group of people because there is no need for complex statistical analysis and the qualitative nature of the questions will give you more valuable input from each respondent.

The conclusive research usually requires preliminary research to be conducted in order to design the appropriate research objects, survey structure and questions.

2. Closed-ended questions

Closed-ended questions come in a multitude of forms, including: multiple choice, drop down, checkboxes, and ranking questions. Each question type doesn’t allow the respondent to provide unique or unanticipated answers, but rather, choose from a list of pre-selected options. Closed-ended questions can be answered with “Yes” or “No,” or they have a limited set of possible answers (such as: A, B, C, or All of the above).

Use of Close ended questions

When your audience isn’t particularly interested in your survey topic

When you need quantifiable data

To categorize respondents

Questionnaire Design


Designing a questionnaire is not as simple and easy as at first sight. Every researcher uses information to make decisions about the future. If the information is accurate then it is probability of making a good decision. If it is incorrect, researcher’s ability to make a correct decision is diminished. Therefore a crucial part of good research is concerned with making sure that the questionnaire design addresses the needs of research.

Steps involved in questionnaire

Decide the information required

Define the target respondent.

Choose the methods of reaching your target respondent.

Decide the question content

Develop the question wording.

Put question into a meaningful order and format

Check the length of the questionnaire

Pre-test the questionnaire.

Develop the final survey form.

1. Define the target respondent:

The first step is to decide’ what are the things one needs to know from the respondent in order to meet the survey’s objective?

Research Methodology

2. Define the target respondent:

At the outset, the researcher must define the population about which he wishes to generalize from the sample data to be collected.

3. Choose the methods of reaching your target respondent:

Personal interviews, Group or focus interviews, Mailed questionnaires and Telephone interviews those methods that are helpful to reach the target respondent to collect the required data.

4. Decide the question content

Researcher must always be prepared to ask the right question. There are only 2 occasions when seemingly” redundant” might be included:

Opening questions that are easy to answer and the dummy question can disguise the purpose of that survey and/or the sponsorship of the study.

5. Develop the question wording:


It provides the respondent with an easy method of indicating his answer- he does not have to think about how to articulate his answer.


Responses can be easily classified, making analysis very straight forward


It permits the respondent to specify the answer categories most suitable for their purpose.

6. Place questions in a meaningful order:

i. Opening

Show Courtesy and awaken the respondents’ interest on the topic.

ii. Question flow

These should be simple, friendly, close ended, easy to respond questions & should convey the theme of the study. The purpose of these questions is to bring flow in the order of questions in a questionnaire.

iii. Question variety

Ask the Target Questions and questions like names, age and gender along with open-ended question here.

iv. Closing question

The closing questions are used to build relation, Keep scope for future meetings, show gratitude to the respondent for responding, leave on a positive note.

7. Check the length of the questionnaire:

In general it is best for a questionnaire to be as short as possible because a long questionnaire leads to a long interview and this is open to the dangers of boredom on the part of respondent.

8. Pre-test the questionnaire:

Test the questionnaire on a small sample of your subject first this is possible at least it on colleagues or friends. It is common practice to pre-test the

Research Methodology

questionnaire on a small number of people before it is used in earnest. This is called a pilot study.

9. Develop the final survey form:

It means designed questionnaire will be administered among the selected sample respondents to the study.

The advantages of questionnaires


The questionnaires are mostly used for practical purpose.


Large amounts of information can be collected from a large number of people in a short period of time and in a relatively cost effective way.


The questionnaire can be carried out by the researcher or by any number of people with limited affect to its validity and reliability.


The results of the questionnaires can usually be quickly and easily quantified by either a researcher or through the use of a software package.


Can be analyzed more 'scientifically' and objectively than other forms of research.

The disadvantages of questionnaires:


The questionnaire provides only a limited insight into the problems because limited responses are allowed in the questionnaire. A possibility is also there that might be right questions are not asked by the researcher.


The response of the respondents can be varied from situation to situation and context to context.


Hard to chase after missing data