How to Draft a Questionnaire

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Companies use questionnaires to evaluate new products and garner feedback from customers. Questionnaires are drafted for various types of market research surveys, including phone, mail and Internet surveys. One of the first steps in writing the questionnaire is to identify your target audience. For example, if you want consumer feedback about a new lingerie item, you would talk to women. You can further define your target market by establishing age and income parameters for your questionnaire. For example, you may want to talk to women age 34 to 54 with incomes over $50,000, if these are your typical customers.

Clearly state your key objectives for your questionnaire, in order of importance.

Set up a meeting with other decision makers before writing your questionnaire. Talk to brand or advertising managers, for example, if your survey data will be useful for them. Ask other managers what information they would like to learn from the research. Take notes so you can later incorporate these ideas into your questionnaire.

Begin your questionnaire with a couple of qualifying questions that accurately identify the household decision maker. For example, if you are preparing a grocery retail questionnaire, use the question "Are you the one that usually purchases groceries in your home?"

Go immediately into questions about products, services, prices or product availability, depending on the information you want to learn. Use mostly closed-ended responses, such as multiple-choice questions. Add open-ended or "fill in the blank" questions, if you want further explanations on why customers like your product. Use various scales as answers to your questionnaire, including "very satisfied," "somewhat satisfied," "neither," "somewhat dissatisfied" and "very dissatisfied." Maintain a balance between positive and negative responses to better gauge your company's performance. Keep your questionnaire flowing in a logical sequence. Ask questions about the product, for example, before moving into price or distribution questions. End your questionnaire with a question about purchase intent. Ask customers, for example, how likely they would be to purchase products from your company again.

Keep your questionnaire limited to a five-minute time period, as people may hang up if your questionnaire is too long. Read through your questionnaire to make sure you stay within the five minutes. Pause as you would for the responses to get a more accurate time frame on the questionnaire.

Warnings

  • Avoid using flowery language in your questionnaire. Write the questionnaire so the average eighth-grader could understand it. Keeping the questionnaire simple will help you gather more accurate information.

References

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