Survey questionnaire

The survey questionnaire and interview questionnaire is one of the primary research tools in the field of social sciences. Colloquially, it is a form used to collect information from a specific person on a given topic. The questionnaire is defined as one of the research tools; it contains a specific set of questions presented in electronic or paper form.

There is a significant difference between the survey questionnaire and the survey. A survey is a defined opinion poll on a group of people. Conducted with the help of questions, a questionnaire is defined as a set of questions to be conducted in a survey.

Survey questionnaire – definition

A survey questionnaire is a set of questions usually used to conduct qualitative and quantitative research. The questionnaire may or may not be distributed in a form or questionnaire, but the survey always includes a questionnaire.

Read more about the difference between the survey and questionnaire here: The difference between survey and questionnaire

The questionnaire used in qualitative research uses open-ended questions, e.g. by e-mail, telephone or face-to-face.

The term questionnaire actually refers to a form or survey. Either way, the name means personal information gathering. We distinguish two types of the questionnaire depending on who completes the collected data:

  • survey questionnaires – the respondent completes the form,
  • interview questionnaires – the interviewer completes the form.

A survey is a complex quantitative survey consisting of a questionnaire designed to collect data from a group of respondents. An online survey usually consists of closed questions with additional open-ended questions.

Modern online surveys are used by organizations focused on data analysis and research. Part of the survey is a questionnaire. This leads to the conclusion that a survey always includes a questionnaire, but a questionnaire is not always part of the survey. The questionnaire can be called a survey research tool.

The most popular type of questionnaire, commonly known as a survey form, which is filled in by the respondent (CAWI – Computer Assisted Web Interviews). Classically, the reference was to a paper form, but today it is dominated by online forms available on computers, tablets and phones.

Online survey questionnaire

Online questionnaires have gained popularity. They have many advantages over the paper version. Creating a questionnaire is much faster. Collecting responses is more straightforward and requires you to share the link to the questionnaire. The data is available in real time.

Survey questionnaires are widely used in social and market research. Along with technological development and the development of customer satisfaction awareness, survey questionnaires are currently used in almost every business. Learning the customer’s opinion about a product or service allows you to run your business better. In such a questionnaire, the respondent may be asked questions about opinions or evaluations of a specific topic. Properly conducted surveys allow businesses to make better decisions and eliminate errors.

Survey questionnaire pattern

The general structure of the questionnaire is arbitrary and may take various forms depending on the application. Usually, we can distinguish 3 parts in the survey:

  • Introduction – it includes the title of the study, information about the center conducting the study, the purpose of the study, and the approximate time of completion,
  • Questions – questions about the survey itself can be divided into sections to improve readability,
  • Metrics – questions that statistically identify the respondent, e.g., gender, age, education, marital status – these data allow you to correlate the results with opinions on a given topic.

Types of questions in a questionnaire

You can use multiple question types in a questionnaire. Various question types can help increase responses to your research questionnaire as they keep participants more engaged. The best customer satisfaction survey templates are the most commonly used for better insights and decision-making.

Some of the widely used types of questions are:

  • Open-Ended Questions: Open-ended questions help collect qualitative data in a questionnaire where the respondent can answer in an accessible form with little to no restrictions.
  • Dichotomous Questions: The dichotomous question is generally a “yes/no” close-ended question. This question is usually used in case of the need for necessary validation. It is the most natural form of a questionnaire.
  • Multiple-Choice Questions: Multiple-choice questions are a close-ended question type in which a respondent has to select one (single-select multiple-choice question) or many (multi-select multiple choice question) responses from a given list of options. The multiple-choice question consists of an incomplete stem (question), correct answer or answers, incorrect answers, close alternatives, and distractors. Of course, not all multiple-choice questions have all of the answer types. For example, you probably won’t have the wrong or correct answers if you look for customer opinions.

Survey questionnaire- example

A significant factor influencing the survey’s success using the questionnaire is ensuring the shortest possible time to complete the survey. It should not exceed 10 minutes, but ideally, it should not exceed 5 minutes. Depending on the type of form, the correct time will vary, but you should never forget that with longer forms, the respondent will want to complete filling in as soon as possible. In this case, they may abandon the form or complete it as soon as possible without thoroughly reading the questions.

An irreplaceable method of verifying the quality of the questionnaire is to test it on yourself and on someone you know. In such a short test, it may turn out that some questions are not fully understood. By checking the form before the test, we will protect ourselves against repeating the test.

Personal questionnaire

A prevalent type of survey is the personality questionnaire used in employing an employee. The person to take the position completes a personal questionnaire for the contract; this form is part of the employee’s personal file kept in the company.

In such a form, personal information, residence details, identity document numbers, contact numbers, contact person details in the absence of contact with the employee, bank details for payment of remuneration are provided.

Such a survey can collect a lot of information. In the case of a small enterprise that employs a person rarely, the paper version is definitely sufficient. However, larger companies that are constantly recruiting can improve such a process using an online personal questionnaire. The employee can complete this form faster.

Questionnaire Examples

The best way to understand how questionnaires work is to see the types of questionnaires available. Some examples of a questionnaire are:

  1. Customer Satisfaction Questionnaire: This type of research can be used in any situation where there’s an interaction between a customer and an organization. For example, you might send a customer satisfaction survey after someone eats at your restaurant. You can use the study to determine if your staff is offering excellent customer service and a positive overall experience.
  2. Company Communications Evaluation: Unlike the other examples, a company communications evaluation looks at internal and external communications. It can be used to check if the organization’s policies are being enforced across the board, both with employees and clients.

Interview Questionnaire

The interview questionnaire is completed by the interviewer, who asks the respondent in a direct or telephone interview (CATI – Computer Aided Telephone Interviews). An interviewer is a significant person in this type of research. The value of the data obtained depends on his commitment, skill, and accuracy.

Interview questionnaire pattern

Compared to the survey questionnaire, the interview questionnaire is used in research where there is a need to control the answers to particular questions. Very often this method is used in psychological, psychiatric or medical research.

Teacher interview questionnaire

A typical example of the use of an interview questionnaire is teacher evaluation. The Teacher Interview Questionnaire is used to examine the teaching methods’ impact on students.

The most significant limitation of a data collection questionnaire is that respondents must read and respond to all the questions. For example, you send an invitation through email asking respondents to complete the questions on social media. 

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