The Construction of Questionnaires

The Construction of Questionnaires

The Construction of Questionnaires

All forms of consumer sampling, with the exception of certain types of motivation research, have as their basis a list of questions which the respondent is invited to answer. The construction of a questionnaire is, therefore, a vital part of the research process. The success of a survey will depend as much upon the way in which the questionnaire has been prepared as upon all the other factors we have already considered.

The market researcher will, in the first instance, wish to know exactly what information the ONLINE MARKETING Manager requires and, secondly, how he wishes that information to be presented to him. Armed with this knowledge, he will be able to prepare a series of questions for respondents to answer which will be strictly relevant to the purposes of the survey.

In drawing up his questionnaire, the researcher will take account of four main considerations:

1. The general subject of the survey.

2. The classification of respondents.

3. The provision of control questions.

4. Questions designed to establish the information required.

When approached by an interviewer and asked to provide answers to a questionnaire, the majority of people will wish to know something about the survey before they accept. They are likely to ask for whom the survey is being conducted and what is its purpose. Although the respondent has a perfect right to request and to receive such information, disclosure of the name of the sponsor and the purpose for which the survey is being conducted, can, on occasion, be undesirable from the sponsor's point of view. If, for example, one is surveying a market in which one is not currently active, but into which it is intended to enter as part of a diversification programme, such information is obviously highly confidential. To disclose one's hand to competitors at such an early stage could have serious consequences.

There are other reasons why a manufacturer may not wish to have his name disclosed to respondents. If the men and women who are being interviewed are aware that the survey is being conducted on behalf of the manufacturers of a particular brand, this is likely to cause some bias to enter into the way in which they answer the questions. According to the make-up of the individual, there could be a tendency not only to over- or under-criticize the product in question, but also to read into the questions interpretations which do not apply.

To overcome these difficulties it is not uncommon for researchers to omit the name of the sponsor firm from the questionnaire. Alternatively, companies with unknown-and, therefore, innocuous-names are founded specially so that their names can be shown on questionnaires and cited to respondents on demand.

Similar problems arise with the question of the title of the survey. Here again, in the interests of security, or to avoid introducing unnecessary bias into respondent's answers, it may be desirable to avoid an exact statement of purpose. This can be achieved by the use of a general rather than a specific title. In his efforts to avoid the disclosure of confidential information regarding his client, the researcher must be equally careful not to mislead the public by stating to respondents things which are not true.

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