Do's & Dont's of Good Questionnaire Design

Most people can write a good questionnaire. Like most things, there are some simple rules and guidelines to follow which will help make your survey a success. Many of these tips are relevant to all types of questionnaire and survey, but some apply specifically to running surveys via our Online Panel Access. Any tip which applies specifically to surveys conducted via Online Panel Access (as opposed to a survey emailed to your own customers) are indicated (P), below. When you launch your survey, Surveygoo will ensure that your survey is checked and screened for any problems. Most surveys are authorised without any problems, but in the event that there are any quality issues, you will be supported on how to make any necessary changes.
DO
1) Plan your survey objectives first
Sounds obvious, but even a survey which has clear and limited objectives should be planned out first before jumping in to the questionnaire design.
2) Work out which audience to target
Do you want to use your own customer list or an independent sample. Surveygoo offers direct access to millions of consumers through Online Panel Access. Do you want a general population sample, or need to focus on a particular demographic (e.g age, gender or region)
3) Map out key question areas and objectives
Its always a good idea to plan out which information objectives you have and the types of question which will be relevant in draft form before writing the questionnaire. Keep in mind key objectives versus nice to know information, so you can easily add or remove questions later to ensure the questionnaire is the optimum length.
4) Keep the language simple 
The tone and type of language depends on the audience (e.g. professional audiences, technical products, versus mass products). Whch ever audience you are reaching it is better to use simple and clear language and avoid technical phrases that may not be understood.
5) Make the questions and answers as simple as possible
Avoid overly long wording or code frames. Use clear instructions both on individual questions and short introductions to questionnaire sections, if necessary.
6) Use unambigous language
Garbage in garbage out as they say. Think carefully about the words and descritions used. Do they accurately reflect the answers, do they properly differentiate answers, are they clear. 
7) Limit the number of questions
The lenght of the questionnaire is a huge factor in the quality of data. There is no absolute maxim on the best number of questions and questionnaire length also depends on the type of questions asked. But 20 - 25 questions is a good guide, although it is possible to ask more questions if the questionnaire has been designed to be interesting and interactive. Consider splitting longer questionnaire into different surveys.
8) Use appropriate answer options
Use options like "don't know", "none", "other", "please specify". If the question touches on a sensitive issue, include responses like "would prefer not to answer"
9) [P] Translate the survey into local language
If you are using Online Panel Access sample, the survey needs to be translated into appropriate local languages. For some surveys its possible to use English in another country (e.g. English in Singapore) but as a rule it is best to assume that the questionnaire will need to be translated.
10) Check and Test the survey
Check and test as much as you can before launching the survey. You can send a test survey to yourself, or conduct a pilot survey to a small audience.
DON'T
1) Ask leading questions
The langauge and questions need to be impartial - leading questions will skew or bias responses.
2) [P] Ask for personal data 
If you are using Online Panel Access sample, make sure you do not include questions which ask for personal information, such as email address, name or phone number. If they have been included the survey will not pass through quality control.
3) [P] Include company logo or link to external websites
If you arer using Online Panel Access sample, ensure that you do not include company logos, other than logos or adverts to be specifically tested in the survey (e.g. brand awareness, messaging and ad testing, where it may be necessary to show a logo). Do not include links to external websites.
4) Use long and complex matrix questions
Overly long and complex matrix questions can make a questionnaire too long and can be detrimental to the quality of response from respondents. Consider breaking up matrix questions into several separate questions. Also consider using the drag and drop style questions which Surveygoo offers, because they are proven to encourage respondent engagement. 

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