Questionnaires are commonly used to gather first-hand information from a large audience, in the form of a survey. There are different types of questionnaires in practice and the type of questionnaire to be used usually depends on the purpose of the survey and the type of data that has to be collected.
Questionnaires are highly practical and can be carried out by any number of people, and the results can be quickly quantified as well. Over the years, this form of conducting research has also been proven to be more scientifically accurate, as compared to other quantitative research tools.
Let's examine the various types of questionnaires.
Depending upon the nature of the questions in a questionnaire, there can be different types of questions in questionnaire -
Questions that allow the target audience to voice their feelings and notions freely are called open-format questions or open-ended questions. These questions are not based on pre-determined responses, giving respondents an opportunity to express what they feel is right, and often provide real, perceptional, and at times, startling proposals. Open-ended questions placed at the end of a questionnaire tend to draw accurate feedback and suggestions from respondents as well.
Questions which have multiple options as answers and allow respondents to select a single option from amongst them are called closed-format or closed-ended questions. This type of questionnaire is especially useful when conducting preliminary analysis. As a fixed answer set is provided, these are ideal for calculation of statistical information and percentages of various types. Closed-ended questions help to arrive at opinions about a product or service, and sometimes, about a company, in a more efficient manner.7 Types of Closed Format Questions
Closed-ended questions which are aimed at collecting accurate statistical data can be classified into the following seven types:
A question forcing the target audience to opt for a specific kind of answer is called a leading question. All answers for a leading question are almost similar. Leading questions are usually prepared to derive audience opinion within a set of limited words.
Questions which ask respondents to rate the importance of some specific matter on a rating scale of 1 to 5 are called importance questions. Such questions facilitate drawing what respondents consider significant - enabling vital business decision-making.
The degree to which respondents agree to a specific statement can be ascertained using Likert questions. Customers' feelings about a topic, product or service can be easily gauged by asking them these questions.
Questions that make respondents answer with a simple "yes" or "no" are called dichotomous questions. These questions carry one disadvantage-there is no other way of analyzing the answer between a "yes" and "no". A middle perspective is not possible.
Questions that have two answers with different levels of extremities, written at opposite ends of a scale, are called bipolar questions. Respondents have to mark their response anywhere between these two extremities, showing their opinion.
Questions that ask respondents to provide a rating on a specific matter on a scale of 1 to 10 or on a scale of "poor" to "good" are called rating scale questions. Normally, these questions have an even number of choices, so as to prevent respondents to choose a middle way out.
These are aimed at assessing customers' future intentions, determining their propensity toward buying a specific product or service. Buying propensity questions help marketers to understand the needs of customers and the probability of their buying a certain product or a service.
Apart from the above-mentioned two broad classifications there are two more types which are rarely used in practice, namely; Mixed Questionnaire and Pictorial Questionnaire.
Mixed questionnaires consist of closed as well as open-ended questions. These are normally used in the field of social research
Pictorial questionnaire on the other hand is used in promotion of interest to answer questions. These are mostly used as study material for children
It is advisable to avoid certain types of questions while preparing a questionnaire, such as:
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