How would you approach developing a questionnaire? Subject: Quantitative Research: Survey Research and the Survey Instrument

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The process of developing a questionnaire most involves figuring out what questions to ask.  In other words, it is a process that is centered around the content of the questionnaire more than its form.  What this means is that it is very hard to give any advice about how to develop a questionnaire without knowing what subject matter you are researching.

There are, however, a few general rules of thumb that should be adhered to when creating a questionnaire.  One such rule is that it is important to ask questions that your subjects can reasonably be expected to answer accurately.  For example, it does not make sense to ask a person how many ounces of meat they eat in a typical day because the average person is not very likely to know.  Another such rule is that it is important to provide the right options if you are asking questions that have options from which people must select.  For example, if you ask a question about someone’s views on abortion, it is probably necessary to include an option in which people can say that it is acceptable in some instances but not in others. 

If I were constructing a questionnaire, I would start by thinking about what issues I wanted to explore.  I would then start to try to craft good questions that are easily understood and which respondents could answer properly. 

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