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Chapter - 0 5

Design of Questionnaire

A set of questions on a topic or
group of topics designed to be
answered by a respondent.

Why a Questionnaire is needed?

To standardize the process of data
collection helps in analysis
To achieve speed & accuracy in
collection & recording
To achieve speed & accuracy in
handling data within & between
offices for analyses

Situations suitable for

Knowledge, opinion, motivation,
intension etc. are not open for
Past events (like time & quantity of
last purchase) can be studied only by

Questionnaire Preparation
not an easy task
Respondents tend to answer every
question whether they have the
information or not
Response depends on the way the
question is asked
Biasness may arise from interviewer and
respondents side.

Sources of Error in
Memory: Respondents cant remember
Motivation: To project a better self image,
respondents may be motivated to respond
to all questions even incorrectly
Communication: May not understand the
Knowledge: Simply may not know
Attitude measurements are more prone to


The marketing researcher appoints some
interviewer to collect information on his
The interviewer are expected to

to the same order


in asking

questions as contained in questionnaire.

Respondent should be taken into

confidence & clearly told why the survey
is being undertaken.
Respondent would realise its relevance &
give the desired information accurately.
Majorly used for marketing research


Structured questionnaire calls for straightforward

and simple approach on the part of interviewers

as such. even less qualified interviewer can be
deployed in canvassing such questionnaire.

Easy to edit, tabulate and interpret the data it


It can be conveniently pre-tested so that suitable

modifications can be made in the phraseology of

questions or in their sequence or both.

of this type can be split into
two sub-types

When Purpose of the enquiry is disclosed to

the respondents then it is known as nonstructured & non-disguised
While in other cases it is known as nonstructured &

disguised questionnaire.

In such case marketing researcher will be a loser

To avoid such situation, he should give serious
thought to the specific information to be sought.
It will facilitate him if he looks ahead to the
analysis stage so that he could enlighten himself
on the type of tabulation as also the statistical
methods that are to be used.

Process of questionnaire

STEP 1: Types of Information to

be collected
While attempting a design a questionnaire, the marketing
researcher has to first ask himself what type of
information he needs for the survey
He should take this question seriously as it will have
considerable repercussion on the usefulness of the survey
For ,if he omits to collect the information on some relevant
and vital aspect of his survey ,his research study is
unlikely to be useful.
If he collects some information on some issue which are
not directly relevant to his study, he not only raise the
cost but also increase time factor.
It will also lead greater inaccuracy as the respondents will
have to answer many more questions than are strictly
necessary and he will, therefore, not be sufficiently careful
in giving exact answers.

Types of Information(Suggested by Crisp)

Quasi facts

Fact & Quasi-fact

Factual Information is frequently used in research
Ex: Do you own a car?, is intended to seek such factual
Quasi facts implies that the information received from a
respondent in not factually corrected though it may appear
to be so.
In continuation of above ex, If yes, when did you buy the
Here, the respondent may not remember the moment he
bought the car.
This lead inaccuracy
Apart from this in accuracy may arrive on account of the
desire on the part of respondent to leave a favorable
impression on the interviewer. Ex: Do you eat fruit

Regarding factual information the interviewer has
to ensure that the information sought is available
with the respondent and he is willing to share it.
It should not be based on past else inaccuracy
may arrive
He should ensure that respondent should
understand the question correctly
This will avoid miscommunication

Sometimes marketing researcher is interested
to know whether the respondent is aware of
the existence of certain product or brand
Such information is particularly sought by a
firm soon after it has launched an advertising
campaign, to enable it to know if advertising
has contributed certain awareness.
Increase in penetration after first study

Information is often sought on the opinion of the respondent
He is specifically asked what view he holds on a particular

subject? And he is free to opine.

Similarly, information on the respondents attitude on one or

more subjects is sought.

The distinction between attitude and opinion is not very

A commonly drawn distinction has been to view an attitude

as a predisposition to act in a certain way and an opinion as

a verbalization of the attitude.

Difficulties in Opinion
The question on opinion sometimes poses some
difficulties for the researcher
When an answer to an opinion question is received
from the respondent, the researcher is not sure
whether the respondent is well informed about the
subject on which his opinion has been sought.
A respondent can give opinion without knowing the
subject at all.
This a great disadvantage and make difficult for
researcher to verify.


Another difficulty is to ascertain the intensity of an

opinion,though this can be take care by suitably
phrasing the specific questions.

Another difficulty is that opinion is many sided,the

same respondent will give different answers based on
different aspects such as,social,legal moral,economic

It will not be evident to the researcher which view

point the the respondent has taken.

Attitudes are very important as they give an

indication of the past,or the likely future behaviour of
the respondents.

Studies on consumer behaviour are possible only

when information on attitude is adequately available.

Future Action Plans

Occasionally, Marketing researcher wants to know what are the
immediate plans of the respondent in regard to certain thing.
Ex: He may be asked whether he plans to buy a car during the
next six months.
Such an information is normally a statement of intension of the
One does not know whether it will be implemented or not.
Any information collected under this category has to be used
with great caution otherwise one is likely to arrive at wrong


Finally, the marketing researcher at times wants to know the

reasons for a particular choice or action of the respondent.

For Ex: the respondent owing a car, may be asked why he

bought that particular make.

He is expected to give one or more reasons to support his


Here too, there is an apprehension that the respondent may

not come out with genuine reasons.

It must be emphasized again that the researcher should be

clear about the nature of the information to be collected.

The above classifications will facilitate him in phrasing the

questions in right form.

STEP 2: Decide the types of Questions

Types of questions

Open-ended Questions

Open or free answer question gives respondent

complete freedom to decide the form, length and
detail of the answer.







interested in knowing what is uppermost in the

mind of the respondent
Difficulties in Open-ended Questions
At times it is difficult to note down the
respondents answer verbatim.(word to word)
Without mechanical aid it is very difficult and can
miss out some vital information contained in

If several interviewers are conducting interviews and
each one is recording the answers to opinion questions
according to his understanding, and in his own way,
then there is likely to be an element of bias in the
recorded answers.
It is extremely difficult to compress lengthy answers in
a meaningful manner.
Such answers may be good in quality but their
quantification becomes extremely difficult.

Dichotomous Questions

It has

only two answers

in the form o f

Yes or No

Or True or False Or Use Do not Use.

Ex: Do you use Tobacco in any way?

Yes______________ No_________________

There cant be third answer, However in some cases there can be

third answer which may come from

those who do not

want to take definite stand one way or


Do you like Movies?

Yes________ No________ Neither like nor dislike________

Advantages of Dichotomous
Dichotomous questions are most convenient or

least bothersome to respondents.

Simply two possible alternatives are
given to indicate choice
Such questions framing require

least time and

also response takes less time.

Answers to such questions are easy to edit,

tabulate and interpret.

Multiple choice questions

Respondents are offered

two or more choices.

The marketing researcher exhausts all possible choices and the

respondent has to indicate which one is applicable in his case .
Ex: Which of these brand/brands do you use for washing

Rin___, Det___, Wheel____, Fena____Super 777___,Excel___Any
Obviously the respondent is likely to take more time to answer
such questions as compared to dichotomous questions.

More time required for editing, tabulation and


Step-3: Phrasing of Questions

The way in which a question is drafted in
very important as a slightly suggestive
words would elicit a very different answer
from the respondent.
Ex: Dont you think that this is a substandard product?
A question of this type would prompt
respondents to answer in the affirmative.
Many of them who do not have a definite
opinion about the product are likely agree that
it is of sub-standard quality.

However if the above is worded little bit
differently ,the answer is likely to be








This is not suggestive question and it is

straight forward and respondents are


likely to be prompted to say yes as in

case of earlier form.

Factors to be considered while

phrasing questions
To ensure the

appropriate phrasing questions,

one should be particular about the following factors-

Difficult words should be avoided.

Technical, special terms

which an average

respondent may not understand should be excluded.

Vague words
should be discarded

such as many,often,reasonably

Lengthy questions should be avoided. this
may lead confusions.
One should

avoid combining two questions


one. For Ex: Which of the following mode of transport is

cheaper and more convenient? (i) Train (ii) Bus.

lacking specificity

should be avoided or

modified suitably so that they become more precise.

Ex: Are you satisfied with your job?-is not sufficiently
specific because it

does not provide the

necessary frame of reference


to the

Order/Sequence of Questions
G ive proper attention to order/sequence of questions to be
contained in questionnaire.
Researcher has to built rapport in the beginning with the
respondent, it is thus necessary that questions asked at the
beginning are simple and helpful in establishing rapport.

Difficult questions or those on sensitive issues

should be relegated to the

end of the questionnaire.

Questions of general type should be asked in the


Those are

specialized questions and needing some

depth information should be left to the end.

However care should be taken to

sustain the interest of the

respondent until the last so that he is able to answer

specialized questions in a normal manner without fatigue and

If the

questionnaire is very lengthy, two or three

sets of the same can be printed where the order of

questions can be changed by a scheme of rotation
of the sampled units.

Is such case, some respondents would answer the

specialized questions towards the middle of the

questionnaire instead of towards its end.

How many questions to be asked

The researcher has to decide how many questions to be

To sustain the interest of the respondent questionnaire

should be short and but also at the same time able to

obtain requisite information.
Too lengthy questionnaire would be a disadvantage and

the response to it may be quite poor.

While deciding upon the no.of questions or the length of

the questionnaire researcher should put himself in the

respondents shoe and imagine how he would react to
that questionnaire.

He can calculate the probable time that might be
required to answer the entire questionnaire.
He can also canvass the questionnaire amongst

some of his friends and acquaintances.

their opinion and reaction will be very helpful to

him in finally deciding the length of the questionnaire.

For this pre-testing can be done.


Layout / Print j ob of the


It implies that the document should be set in such a way

that it leaves a favorable impression on the respondent.

It should be neatly printed and the individual pages

should not have too many questions so as to appear

Proper spacing between the questions and within a

question should be provided for.

The more important wordings to which the researcher

would like to draw the attention should be set in bold

types or underlined.

If it is really a lengthy questionnaire, special
care should be taken to reduce the size by
providing two-column in a page and by using
finer types.
But sometimes too fine printing may cause
inconvenience to respondent.
The questionnaire should have "easy looks
which means that it should be short and printed
on superior quality paper so that writing with
pen or pencil is smooth.

Step-5: Pre-testing the

It implies that questionnaire is tried out on a

few respondents and their reaction is observed.

It helps to decide whether some changes in

the question-content or the wording of

questions are called for.
If so,some specific modifications can be done.
It would improve your response rate.

Researcher can know suitability of the
instructions given to the interviewer as also capability.
Interviewer will also have a opportunity to familiarize

themselves with the problems they might

face in the collection of data.
P-re- testing may indicate whether particular
sample design is feasible or some other to be
P-re- testing helps to the know the suitability of
data for particular needs. For this, tabulation,
preparation of dummy tables all done and examine whether
such data would be appropriate and adequate for the
objective survey.

I mportant consideration while

designing a Questionnaire
1. Specify









problem under study

2. Select




method of administration
3. Determine





4. Be careful in phrasing each question
5. Decide the sequence of each question



6. Determine what form of response each question is

likely to have and provide spaces accordingly
7. Decide the number of questions/size of questionnaire.
8. Determine the layout of questionnaire
9. Pre-test the questionnaire among a small number of
10.Finalize the questionnaire and use it for the proposed