How to Create a Questionnaire

What is a Questionnaire?

Questionnaire definition

A questionnaire is a tool that is meant for collecting data and research which contains a range of questions of miscellaneous types and is used to gather information from the respondents to conduct a survey or statistical analysis study.

In order to create a questionnaire, you need to:

  • Define questionnaire purpose. Establish what you aim to find out from conducting your questionnaire.
  • Come up with the questions that will help you to receive the information you need.
  • Give close-ended questions to obtain specific answers and open-ended questions to receive feedback.
  • Give simple and comprehensible questions to avoid misunderstanding or bias.

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Questionnaire template

As a rule, open-ended questions are put at the first section of the questionnaire. This type of questions requires more time to figure them out. Sometimes, the respondents cannot answer in detail straight away, they need some time to get warmed up. In situations like this, simple questions should be placed in the first section. The questions that presuppose more thought and time should appear at the end of a questionnaire. As soon as the respondents are warmed up, it will be much easier for them to answer such type of questions.

Difference between a Questionnaire and Survey

A questionnaire is comprised of different questions and is used for gathering information that may come in handy for a particular individual. The answers of the respondents will not be used for analysis in contrast to the survey which aims to gather information for statistical analysis. Simply put, a questionnaire consists of a range of questions and aims to gather information. Conducting a survey means collecting and analyzing the data. There is also a type of questionnaire which is used in surveys, it is known as a survey questionnaire where both the results of a questionnaire and surveys are combined.

Pros and Cons of Questionnaires


  • Questionnaires have more practical applications.
  • By means of questionnaires, one can gather a great deal of information in a short span of time and in a more cost-effective way.
  • Questionnaires will not become less valid and reliable even if they will be used by many people.
  • The questionnaire has a more scientific and objective approach than any other types of research questionnaire and instrument.
  • The results of a questionnaire help to draw a comparison between different data and measure changes.
  • The results of the questionnaire can find their application in developing new theories or test existing hypotheses.


  • The questionnaire may appear not sufficiently valid.
  • Questionnaires fail to reflect such forms of information as emotion, behavior, feelings, etc.
  • The questionnaire covers little information and does not allow backing it up with an explanation.
  • It may be difficult to establish whether the respondent tells the truth when answering a questionnaire and how much thought and effort a respondent has invested into answering the questionnaire.
  • The respondent may not put a lot of thought when giving an answer to the questionnaire and may answer without wholly understanding the questions.

What a Questionnaire is Characterized by?

The way your questionnaire will look like wholly depends on the type of information you need to gather. Qualitative questionnaires are meant to gather explorative information or prove or disprove a hypothesis. Quantitative questionnaires serve as validation or test to any previously formulated hypothesis.

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The common features of a questionnaire are:

Uniformity: Questionnaires may come especially in handy when gathering demographic information, attitudes, and facts from respondents. One of the main features of a questionnaire is that it is standardized and uniform. Each respondent provides answers to the same questions. It helps to collect data and conduct a statistical analysis of it. For instance, a retail store evaluation questionnaire template is comprised of questions that aim to evaluate retail store purchase value, a set of options for product selections, quality of goods, etc. These questions are uniform for all respondents.
Exploratory: For qualitative data collection, the questionnaire can be explorative in nature. This type of questionnaire does not have any specific rules as to which questions to use or any objectives of data collection. For instance, if a questionnaire is aimed at women of the household to establish the spend towards household incomes, a very structured set of questions can limit the data collection.

Question Sequence:
As a rule, a questionnaire has a set flow of questions to multiply the number of answers. The sequence of questions includes screening questions, warm-up questions, transition questions, skip questions, difficult questions, and classification questions. For instance, a motivation and buying experience questionnaire template contains some demographic questions and rationale for consumer decisions.

Types of Questionnaire

Structured Questionnaires aim to gather quantitative data. The questionnaire is created to gather very specific information. It also initiates a formal inquiry, supplements data, checks previously accumulated data, and helps to prove any prior hypothesis.

Unstructured Questionnaires gather qualitative data. They have a standard structure and some branching questions. The respondents are not limited in answering the questions. As a rule, the questions tend to be open-ended.

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Types of Questions in a Questionnaire

Open-Ended Questions:
Open-ended questions are aimed to gather qualitative data. This type of questions does not restrict respondents and they can give answers in a free form.

Dichotomous Questions:
The questions of this sort are usually “yes/no” close-ended questions. They are used when there is a necessity to validate some information.
Multiple-Choice Questions:
This type of questions presupposes choosing one or many responses from the stated options.

Scaling Questions:
These questions work on the principles of the 4 measurement scales – nominal, ordinal, interval, and ratio.
Pictorial Questions: In this type of questions, respondents are given the option from particular images restricting their response to the options in the question but multiplying the number of responses.

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