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Research Methodology - Questionnaire & Sampling

Introduction of Questionnaire & Sampling

   Posted On :  21.05.2018 12:11 am

Nowadays questionnaire is widely used for data collection in social research.

Nowadays questionnaire is widely used for data collection in social research. It is a reasonably fair tool for gathering data from large, diverse, varied and scattered social groups. The questionnaire is the media of communication between the investigator and the respondents. According to Bogardus, a questionnaire is a list of questions sent to a number of persons for their answers and which obtains standardized results that can be tabulated and treated statistically. The Dictionary of Statistical
Terms defines it as a “group of or sequence of questions designed to elicit information upon a subject or sequence of subjects from information.” A questionnaire should be designed or drafted with utmost care and caution so that all the relevant and essential information for the enquiry may be collected without any difficulty, ambiguity and vagueness. Drafting of a good questionnaire is a highly specialized job and requires great care skill, wisdom, efficiency and experience. No hard and fast rule can be laid down for designing or framing a questionnaire. However, in this connection, the following general points may be borne in mind:

Size Of The Questionnaire Should Be Small:

A researcher should try his best to keep the number of questions as small as possible, keeping in view the nature, objectives and scope of the enquiry. Respondent’s time should not be wasted by asking irrelevant and unimportant questions. A large number of questions would involve more work for the investigator and thus result in delay on his part in collecting and submitting the information. A large number of unnecessary questions may annoy the respondent and he may refuse to cooperate. A reasonable questionnaire should contain from 15 to 25 questions at large. If a still larger number of questions are a must in any enquiry, then the questionnaire should be divided into various sections or parts.

The Questions Should Be Clear:

The questions should be easy, brief, unambiguous, non-offending, courteous in tone, corroborative in nature and to the point, so that much scope of guessing is left on the part of the respondents.

The Questions Should Be Arranged In A Logical Sequence:

Logical arrangement of questions reduces lot of unnecessary work on the part of the researcher because it not only facilitates the tabulation work but also does not leave any chance for omissions or commissions. For example, to find if a person owns a television, the logical order of questions would be: Do you own a television? When did you buy it? What is its make? How much did it cost you? Is its performance satisfactory? Have you ever got it serviced?

Questions Should Be Simple To Understand:

The vague words like good, bad, efficient, sufficient, prosperity, rarely, frequently, reasonable, poor, rich etc., should not be used since these may be interpreted differently by different persons and as such might give unreliable and misleading information. Similarly the use of words having double meaning like price, assets, capital income etc., should also be avoided.

Questions Should Be Comprehensive & Easily Answerable:

Questions should be designed in such a way that they are readily comprehensible and easy to answer for the respondents. They should not be tedious nor should they tax the respondents’ memory. At the same time questions involving mathematical calculations like percentages, ratios etc., should not be asked.

Questions Of Personal & Sensitive Nature Should Not Be Asked:

There are some questions which disturb the respondents and he/ she may be shy or irritated by hearing such questions. Therefore, every effort should be made to avoid such questions. For example, ‘do you cook yourself or your wife cooks?’ ‘Or do you drink?’ Such questions will certainly irk the respondents and thus be avoided at any cost. If unavoidable then highest amount of politeness should be used.

Types Of Questions:

Under this head, the questions in the questionnaire may be classified as follows:

(a)  Shut Questions:

Shut questions are those where possible answers are suggested by the framers of the questionnaire and the respondent is required to tick one of them. Shut questions can further be subdivided into the following forms:


(i) Simple Alternate Questions:

In this type of questions the respondent has to choose from the two clear cut alternatives like ‘Yes’ or ‘No’, ‘Right or Wrong’ etc. Such questions are also called as dichotomous questions. This technique can be applied with elegance to situations where two clear cut alternatives exist.

(ii) Multiple Choice Questions:

Many a times it becomes difficult to define a clear cut alternative and accordingly in such a situation additional answers between Yes and No, like Do not know, No opinion, Occasionally, Casually, Seldom etc., are added. For example, in order to find if a person smokes or drinks, the following multiple choice answers may be used:
Do you smoke?
(a) Yes regularly          [  ]           (b) No never               [  ]
(c) Occasionally           [  ]           (d) Seldom                  [  ]
Multiple choice questions are very easy and convenient for the respondents to answer. Such questions save time and also facilitate tabulation. This method should be used if only a selected few alternative answers exist to a particular question.

Leading Questions Should Be Avoided:

Questions like ‘why do you use a particular type of car, say Maruti car’ should preferably be framed into two questions-

(i) which car do you use?

(ii) why do you prefer it?

It gives smooth ride



It gives more mileage



It is cheaper



It is maintenance free



 Cross Checks:

The questionnaire should be so designed as to provide internal checks on the accuracy of the information supplied by the respondents by including some connected questions at least with respect to matters which are fundamental to the enquiry.

Pre Testing The Questionnaire:

It would be practical in every sense to try out the questionnaire on a small scale before using it for the given enquiry on a large scale. This has been found extremely useful in practice. The given questionnaire can be improved or modified in the light of the drawbacks, shortcomings and problems faced by the investigator in the pre test.

A Covering Letter:

A covering letter from the organizers of the enquiry should be enclosed along with the questionnaire for the purposes regarding definitions, units, concepts used in the questionnaire, for taking the respondent’s confidence, self addressed envelop in case of mailed questionnaire, mention about award or incentives for the quick response, a promise to send a copy of the survey report etc.


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