What’s the Right Way to Create a Questionnaire, Part 2—The Questions
In this piece we’ll be describing the basic question types used in questionnaires, and their special traits.
Question Types Used in Questionnaires
A questionnaire is a data collection method used in quantitative research. It utilizes questions that describe a particular research problem. To compose an effective questionnaire, you need to know the different types of questions and their specifics.
Basic Question Types:
Open questions primarily include those where only a text answer is offered. They are made for use in analyzing special answers that can only be expressed in words.
Semi-closed questions are appropriate when you need to obtain both a specific answer and a text answer. The text answer is usually defined as a separate answer at the end of a list. Respondents pick it if none of the other answers suit them.
Closed questions do not offer a chance to specify an answer using a text description. Closed questions include special question types that are useful for exploring variables with a specific set of possible properties.
Special Question Types
The most common special question types are certain forms of closed and semi-closed questions. They are special in that they let you capture respondents’ answers in the form of various variables (we advise on how to define variables in a separate article). Special question types include:
- Likert scales
- Item lists
- Item ordering
- Question grids
Closed dichotomous questions are those with only two answers. They serve for unambiguously distinguishing some trait, experience, or opinion of each respondent.
Likert scales are useful for studying and measuring respondents’ stances. They are most often used for determining respondents’ levels of satisfaction or agreement.
Item lists are a type of closed question where respondents are offered multiple answers, out of which they can pick one or more options.
This question type is used for ordering answers by the importance that a respondent places upon them. Generally they are ordered via numbers or by moving the individual answers themselves.
Question grids are among the largest questions. They cover multiple parameters in a single block. Question grids are useful when you need to obtain multiple answers about the same variable.
In a separate article, we describe how to create high-quality, effective questionnaires that are easy for respondents to handle.
- Respondent – a survey participant who answers questions
- Variable – a property that you are measuring, which can be expressed via specific values
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