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Designing a Questionnaire. There are five steps to designing a questionnaire: Define the problem. Plan how the survey will be administered. Write the questionnaire. Desk Check. Pilot Survey. It can be tempting to leap straight to step three, and also to miss out steps four and five, but this will result in a substandard questionnaire and poor data. Helen sells Choconutties. She has asked us to help her design a questionnaire to help her develop a new product. We will use this as an example to illustrate the steps. Step 1) Define the problem. We can do this by answering these questions: What is the purpose of the questionnaire? This is important whether we are working for someone else or for ourselves. Who is the target population? In other words, who would we like to ask if we could ask everyone who matters? What is the information going to be used for? What exactly do you want to find out? Think about what are possible sources of variation. The purpose statement for Helen is: Helen is planning to introduce a new chocolate product. She wants to find out what type of chocolate product is most likely to be successful in the market. Helen is most interested in attracting new customers, so the target population is people who dont already buy Chocconutties
but do buy chocolate. The information will be used to help Helen develop new chocolate products. Helen wants to know, specifically, what chocolate fillings are popular, and which kind of chocolate is preferred by people who spend a lot on chocolate. Helen thinks there may be variation in chocolate preference between men and women, and wishes to design specifically to each market, so will need to ask if the respondent is male or female. Step 2) Plan how the survey will be administered. We can choose between phone, personal interview, written or online questionnaire. These methods each have different advantages and disadvantages. The method of administration affects the types of questions that can be asked. For her budget, and because Helen wants to reach more than just current customers, Helen wants to use an online survey method. This will make creating the questionnaire and doing the analysis much easier. Step 3) Write the questionnaire. Take each of the things you want to find out about and write a question for it. There are many potential pitfalls in writing questions. These are covered in another video, Writing Good Questions. Questionnaire structure is important. A good questionnaire should be interesting, easy to answer and respectful. An informative title, clear introduction and interesting, well-organised questions help the respondent to keep answering. The introduction needs
to explain why the data is being collected and for whom. This should also explain about confidentiality of the responses. Interesting questions near the beginning help capture the attention of the respondent, and a variety of question types can help maintain interest. The demographic questions, like age, income and gender should be left to the end. Clear instructions and sensible grouping of questions by type or topic make the questionnaire easier to answer. A questionnaire must be ethical. You must be careful not to ask questions on sensitive subjects without getting proper ethical approval or advice. Be respectful of the persons time by only including relevant questions, and say, “Thank you”, at the end. Step 4) Desk Check. Look at your questionnaire as if you were seeing it for the first time. Read the instructions, and fill out the answers. See what could be confusing. Make sure your spelling and grammar are correct. Go through the list of things you wanted to find out and put ticks next to the questions that provide that data. Look closely at any questions with no tick and decide if they need to be in the questionnaire. Consider how you would record the responses. Generally, you make a table or spreadsheet with a row for each person and a column for each question. Check to
your questionnaire is easy to code, like this. Because Helen is using an online survey provider, much of this will be done for us. Now use what you found out from your Desk Check to correct your questionnaire, ready for Step 5) Pilot Survey. This is where you get some people to answer your questionnaire. These responses will not form part of the actual survey. Watch while they fill out the questionnaire. Note anything that seems confusing to them. Look at what the people have written. Ask them if they found any of it confusing, boring or annoying. Thank them. If youve done a large Pilot Survey, you could do a quick analysis of the data. See if there are any questions that several people answer “Other” to. This might mean that you need to add another response alternative in that question. Use what you found out from the Pilot Survey to make changes to your questionnaire. If you make lots of changes, do another Desk Check and, possibly, another Pilot Survey. You want your questionnaire to be good. If you follow these steps, you should end up with a high quality questionnaire ready for administering, which will result in better data. This video was brought to you by Statistics Learning Centre. Visit our website for more resources to help you learn.
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