Online survey questionnaire design involves much more than choosing and specifying the questions. Researchers have to take care of many things; otherwise, a badly designed questionnaire leads to invalid data. Multiple factors influence the design of an online survey questionnaire. This article will tell you about the ten fundamental things to take care of when designing an online survey questionnaire.
What Are The Ten Fundamental Things To Be Careful About When Designing An Online Survey Questionnaire?
Clearly Define The Aims And Objective Of The Online Survey Questionnaire
The first thing to take care of is to clearly define the aims and objectives of your online survey questionnaire. Vague goals and objectives lead to vague results, so it is essential to define the aims and objectives clearly. Spend some time specifying the aims and objectives of your survey questionnaire. Consider the following questions:
- What is the goal of this online survey questionnaire?
- Why am I creating this survey?
- What do I aim to achieve out of this survey?
- How will this questionnaire help me answer my research questions?
- Are my survey questions aligned with my research goals and objectives?
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Phrasing of Questions
Many surveys fail to achieve the intended results because the wording of questions is quite vague and difficult. Complex words decrease the comprehensibility of the survey questions, and respondents often fill out the wrong information. Researchers must construct clear and concise research questions that are easy for respondents to answer. Researchers should avoid incorporating complex synonyms and acronyms in their survey questions. Questions must be easy to understand and answer. The wording of questions must be specific and straightforward.
Avoid Leading Questions
Leading questions refer to those questions that influence the answers of the respondents. Researchers often make leading questions unintentionally and compromise the validity of the results. An online survey questionnaire necessitates the elimination of leading questions. The purpose of a survey is to gather objective and reliable results from the respondents. Leading questions affect the respondents’ ability to provide objective answers. So, you must omit leading questions and keep a check on integrating the leading questions unknowingly.
Sequence Or Order Of Questions
It is often the case in online survey questionnaire that researchers do not sequence the questions in proper order. The sequencing of questions must be logical in online surveys to help respondents answer the questions easily. Organising the survey questions topic-wise or catering to the research questions is better. A general rule of thumb is to move from general to complex or detailed questions. Questions with identical answer scales should be grouped together. It makes it easier for the respondents to answer the questions quickly. There should be a logical flow between the survey questions. It is better to ask questions regarding the age, gender and family status at the end of the survey.
Avoid Double-Barrelled Questions
Double-barrelled questions are a common mistake in the online survey questionnaire. Double-barrelled questions refer to those questions when you phrase a question that compels the respondents to provide answers to two questions simultaneously. It compromises the validity of your survey results. You must frame your survey questions in a manner that seeks to evaluate one concept per question. A question that seeks to measure two concepts simultaneously confuses the readers. For example, a double-barrelled question looks like this:
How satisfied or dissatisfied are you with the current academic changes at the university?
The above-mentioned question is a perfect example of a double-barrelled question. It is asking about two concepts in one question. You can break down this question into components. One question will ask about satisfaction, while another question will ask about dissatisfaction.
Do Not Ask Irrelevant Questions
Researchers often ask irrelevant questions in the online survey questionnaire. These questions have no relevance to the central issue or topic. It is better to avoid the inclusion of irrelevant questions because they are counterproductive. Make sure you only ask those questions that help you answer your research questions.
Avoid Giving Limited Options
It is often the case that many online surveys do not provide enough options for respondents to choose from. Ensure you provide the option of “Other” in your online survey questionnaire. It helps respondents answer a question for which they cannot find an option in the answer options. A survey that provides limited answer options compromises the quality of the answers. You cannot force anyone to choose an option, so providing the option of “Other” is better.
Keep The Rating Scales Consistent
One of the important things to take care of in an online survey questionnaire is to keep the rating scale consistent throughout the survey. For example, if you are using a rating scale of 1-5, make sure you do not change it in the middle of the survey to a scale of 1-10. Keeping a consistent rating scale throughout the survey helps respondents easily answer the questions.
Keep The Survey Short And Focused
Long surveys are time-consuming, and respondents lose interest in the survey. It is better to keep the survey questionnaire short and specific. Short surveys have a higher response rate than longer surveys. People do not have enough time to fill out long surveys. So, make sure that you keep the focus of your survey short and specific. The survey questions should only measure the key concepts and objectives of the research.
Avoid Using Double Negation
Double-negation questions in online survey questionnaire are those questions that use a negative tone. These questions confuse the respondents, and they provide the wrong answers. Double-negation questions include the word “not” in the questions. For example: Aren’t you satisfied with the safety procedures implemented at the workplace?
It is better to remove not from the above-mentioned question and ask the question directly. Make sure that the wording of your questions is in a positive tone. It eliminates ambiguity and confusion.
An online survey questionnaire entails formulating questions clearly and straightforwardly. Researchers should avoid leading questions and avoid including irrelevant information. The surveys should be short and specific to achieve the research aims and objectives.