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For many years, questionnaires have been a popular data collection tool during research. Questionnaires are very diverse and easily adaptable—this is why they are one of the most common and important tools for data collection in everyday life. 

Although questionnaires are a common tool for research, a lot of people still don’t know what kind of questions should be included in their questionnaire. In this article, we will look at different types of questionnaires and show you how to create an online questionnaire with Formplus. 

What is a Questionnaire? 

A questionnaire is a research tool that contains a list of questions requiring responses from a predefined group of people. It is used to collect relevant information that can help you arrive at definite results during research. 

Questionnaires are used to collect both qualitative and quantitative data from respondents. It combines different question types like close-ended and open-ended questions that allow you to extract large volumes of data from respondents, even when the researcher isn’t available to coordinate data-collection firsthand. 

online-questionnaire-example

The purpose of a questionnaire is to build up your research dataset by asking standardized questions to help you get the right answers. While questionnaires are closely related to surveys, they do not mean the same thing. 

4 Types of Questionnaires

1. Online Questionnaire

An online questionnaire is a set of standardized questions that are put together and distributed via online channels. It gathers data from respondents through a set of questions that are administered via online data-collection platforms like Formplus. 

Formplus is an easy-to-use tool that supports seamless online and offline data collection. It has a form builder that allows you to create different types of questionnaires for research. You can also find a variety of questionnaire templates that can be edited for unique research needs. 

There are more than 30 form fields on Formplus that you can add to your questionnaire for data collection including text fields, numerical fields, and rating fields. Respondents can easily provide answers to questions created in the form of simple checkboxes or dropdown menus. 

Formplus has multiple form-sharing options including email sharing, form embed, and direct social media sharing buttons. This means that respondents can receive online questionnaires via various mediums such as email, on your website, and on social media platforms. 

Advantages of Online Questionnaires 

  1. An online questionnaire helps you to save time during data collection. 
  2. It is also a cost-effective method of data collection. You do not have to spend money on printing questionnaires or sharing the questionnaire with respondents physically. 
  3. It allows respondents to complete the questionnaire when they want. This improves the questionnaire response rates.
  4. Since the questionnaire is created and administered online, it makes it easy for you to gather responses from a large pool of respondents. 

Disadvantages of Online Questionnaires

  1. The choice of your questionnaire distribution channel can affect questionnaire response rates. 
  2. The questionnaire sample size is limited to populations that have access to the internet. This can affect the variation of the data gathered. 

Online Questionnaire Example

online-questionnaire

2. Telephone Questionnaire

This is a method of collecting data from respondents via a telephone conversation. Here, the researcher places a direct call to different members of the survey sample and asks a set of predefined questions that are relevant to the research context. 

This questionnaire method is best used when you have a small set of questions that can be responded to quickly. It also works for research contexts that require data from a small sample size or when members of the sample cannot complete a written or online questionnaire. 

Advantages of Telephone Questionnaires 

  1. It allows you to gather research data quickly.
  2. Telephone questionnaires tend to record higher response rates than other types of questionnaires. 

Disadvantages of Telephone Questionnaires 

  1. It is an expensive method of collecting data in research. 
  2. Telephone questionnaires are time-consuming. 
  3. Due to its direct conversation approach, respondents may refuse to give out as much information as they should for the research. 

3, Paper Questionnaire 

Paper questionnaires are the oldest and most common method of data collection in research. It is a sheet of paper with a set of predetermined questions that the members of the sample population respond to using a pencil or a pen. 

Over time, the use of paper questionnaires has reduced significantly due to its multiple shortcomings. Apart from a steady decline in response rates, paper questionnaires are expensive to create and they also have a high risk of data loss and damage. 

The best way to use a paper questionnaire is to pair it with online distribution channels that allow you to share your survey on paper. There are paper questionnaire creators that can be used to print your questionnaire or export it in Word and PDF formats

Advantages of Paper Questionnaire 

  1. It can be used to collect research data from members of your research population who do not have access to other questionnaire types. 
  2. It is an effective method of data collection in market research. 

Disadvantages of Paper Questionnaire 

  1. Paper questionnaires have a huge financial cost implication. 
  2. It can only be used when you have a small sample size that has physical proximity. If your research requires large data sets from a large audience, paper questionnaires may not be suitable for use. 

Face-to-Face Interview

You can also administer a questionnaire through a face-to-face interview with members of the research population. It allows the researcher to communicate directly with the respondent and ask the questions already listed in the questionnaire. Through this method, you can obtain qualitative and quantitative information from respondents. 

When you have a face-to-face interview with respondents, you gain better insight into the context of their answers to your question. A face-to-face interview is an opportunity to observe non-verbal responses and other nuances, that help you interpret the resulting data from the conversation. 

Advantages of a Face-to-Face Interview 

  1. It helps you to capture verbal and non-verbal cues creates better insight into the research data. 
  2. Face-to-face interviews allow you to collect more accurate data. 

Disadvantages of a Face-to-Face Interview 

  1. The quality of data from a face-to-face largely depends on the skills of the interviewer. 
  2. It is an expensive method of data collection. For instance, you will need to hire personnel to assist with logistics and other levels of preparation.  

Characteristics of a Questionnaire 

While the overall structure and presentation of your questionnaire depend on the type of research plus the information you want to get from respondents, there are common characteristics you can find in every questionnaire. 

  • A questionnaire follows a well-defined question sequence

The questions listed in a questionnaire are structured to increase the response rate. Typically, the questionnaire begins with screening questions and then progresses to warm-up questions, transition questions, skip questions, challenging questions, before ending up with classification questions.

  • A questionnaire can collect both qualitative and quantitative data

Depending on your research needs, you can include different types of questions that help you gather quantitative and qualitative responses from the members of your research sample. 

In the Formplus builder, you will find different form fields that allow you to add multiple question formats to your questionnaire. You can use text fields for open-ended questions and multi-choice fields, rating fields, and checkboxes for close-ended questions. 

  • A questionnaire has a uniform design that supports standardized data collection. This means that all members of the sample population see and respond to the same set of questions; although the question sequence and order may vary. 
  • A questionnaire also includes clear instructions that guide respondents as they complete the survey.

Types of Questions for Any Questionnaire 

Open-Ended Questions

An open-ended question is a type of research question that does not restrict respondents to a set of predetermined answers. Rather, respondents are allowed to fully articulate their thoughts, opinions, and experiences as long-form and short-form answers including paragraphs, essays, or just a few sentences. 

They are also known as free-form survey questions because they do not restrict the respondents to a small pool of possible answer-options. Open-ended questions encourage the research participants to freely communicate what they know and how they feel about the subject matter. 

Use open-ended questions in your questionnaire when you want to collect qualitative responses for your research. They also provide better context for the research data by helping you to see things from a respondent's point of view. 

Advantages of Open-Ended Questions

  1. It helps you to gather detailed information from respondents. 
  2. Open-ended questions have an infinite possibility of responses which supports variation in your research data. 

Disadvantages of Open-ended Questions

  1. Responding to open-ended questions is time-consuming and respondents can easily abandon the questionnaire along the way. 
  2. It is very difficult to statistically interpret the data collected via open-ended questions. This makes open-ended questions highly unsuitable for quantitative data collection. 

Open-ended Question Samples

  1. What is the most important lesson you've learned so far? 
  2. What do you think about our new logo? 
  3. How does our product help you to meet your goals? 

open-ended-questions

2. Close Ended Questions

A close-ended question is one that limits possible responses to options like Yes/No, True/False, and the likes. It comes with pre-selected answer options and requires the respondent to choose one of the options that closely resonates with her thoughts, opinion, or knowledge. 

Close-ended questions are best used in quantitative research because they allow you to collect statistical information from respondents. If you want to gather a large amount of data that can be analyzed quickly, then asking close-ended questions is your best bet. 

Advantages of Close-ended Questions

  1. Close-ended questions are easy and quick to answer. 
  2. It is cheaper to collate and analyze the responses to close-ended questions.

Disadvantages of Close-ended Questions

  1. It limits the amount of information that respondents can provide in your questionnaire. 
  2. It can result in survey response bias as respondents can be influenced by the options listed in the questionnaire. 

Close-ended Question Samples

1. How do you start your day?

  • With coffee
  • With exercises
  • With meditation 

2. What is your favorite genre of music?

  • Reggae
  • Blues
  • Afropop
  • Rap

close-ended-questions

3. Dichotomous Questions

A dichotomous question is a type of close-ended question that has only 2 opposite answer-options. It requires the research participants to choose one of the 2 available options as a response to the question. The most common type of dichotomous question is the yes/no question. 

A dichotomous question allows respondents to provide short, concise, and direct answers in the research questionnaire. Dichotomous questions are used to collect quantitative information from respondents, and to also eliminate unnecessary complexities in data collection. Other common formats of dichotomous questions are true/false questions and agree/disagree questions. 

Advantages of Dichotomous Questions

  1. Dichotomous questions are easy to understand and respond to. 
  2. It helps you to gather fast and straightforward responses from the research participants.

Disadvantages of Dichotomous Questions

  1. It restricts respondents to a limited set of answer-options. This prevents respondents from exploring other possible answers or from providing a better context for interpreting their choices. 
  2. Dichotomous questions are not suitable for qualitative data collection. 

Dichotomous Question Samples

1. Would you like to have something to drink? 

  • Sure
  • Not at all

2. Did you enjoy this training? 

  • Yes
  • No 

dichotomous-questions

4. Likert Scale Question

This is a type of psychometric question that measures the respondent's perception or opinion on a topic or subject matter. It uses points to rank different opinions, thoughts, and experiences in line with the topic at hand and the overall research context. 

A Likert scale question is popular as a 4-point scale, 5-point scale, or 7-point scale. Likert scale questions are important for research because they can be used to measure someone's attitude and determine the extent to which they agree or disagree with a particular question or statement.

Advantages of Likert Scale Questions

  1. It is easy to organize and interpret responses from Likert scale questions. 
  2. They provide more contexts to responses by allowing the researcher to quantify the intensity of individual responses.

Disadvantages of Likert Scale Questions

  1. It can be difficult to classify neutral responses like ‘neither agree nor disagree’. 
  2. The intervals between points on the scale do not present equal changes in attitude for all individuals. 

Likert Scale Question Examples

likert-scale-questions

5. Multi-Choice Questions 

As the name suggests, a multi-choice question is one that gives respondents more than 2 answer-options to choose from. It is sometimes referred to as an objective response question and it requires the respondent to choose the most relevant option from the available choices. 

Typically, a multi-choice question has 3 parts—the stem, the answer, and the distractors. The stem is the actual question being asked; the answer is the right response to the question and the distractors are the other available choice options.

Advantages of Multi-choice Questions  

  1. It is easy to organize and process data collected through multi-choice questions. 

Disadvantages of Multi-choice Questions

  1. Creating multi-choice questions can be time-consuming. 
  2. Muti choice questions do not produce any qualitative data. 

Multi-choice Question Examples

1. What is your favorite drink?

  • Tea
  • Coffee
  • Wine
  • Juice 

2. What is your favorite smartphone brand?

  • iPhone
  • Samsung
  • Tecno
  • Gionee

multi-choice-questions

Questionnaire vs Survey

A questionnaire is a list of quantitative and qualitative questions used to gather information from a target audience while a survey is a research tool for data collection, analysis, and forecasting. In other words, a questionnaire is a set of questions used for data collection while a survey is a method of measuring and analyzing relevant opinions to arrive at relevant research results. 

Questionnaires and surveys are closely related and they are both used for data collection in research. Every survey includes one or more questionnaires that help you to gather data from respondents. On the other hand, a questionnaire may or may not be administered as part of a survey.  

If you’re looking to collect and interpret data to help you understand trends and behaviors, then a survey is a valid option for you. On the other hand, if you want a flexible instrument to collect responses from a target audience, go for a questionnaire. You can create both surveys and questionnaires on Formplus. 

Advantages of a Questionnaire

  1. A questionnaire is a cost-effective tool for data collection in research. You can easily create and administer them using online tools like Formplus. 
  2. It makes it easy for you to collect large volumes of data from a vast target audience. 
  3. A questionnaire can be used to collect qualitative and quantitative data from respondents. You can list close-ended and open-ended questions that help you gather different types of responses from the audience. 
  4. It is a good way to collect anonymous responses from the target audience. 
  5. Using a questionnaire is one of the best ways to collect repetitive information from respondents at defined intervals. 
  6. It puts less pressure on the respondents for immediate response. Many questionnaires allow respondents to respond when they want. Formplus also has a ‘save and resume’ feature that allows respondents to complete your questionnaire at their own pace. 

Conclusion 

The goal of a questionnaire is to collect relevant data from your target audience; this data can be used for multiple research purposes. To get the most out of your questionnaire, it is important to list different question types and adopt the most effective distribution channels. 

As we've discussed in this article, there are different types of questionnaires you can choose from including telephone questionnaires and face-to-face interviews. You can also create an online questionnaire with our form builder that supports seamless data collection. Sign up for a Formplus account here. 



  • Formplus Blog
  • on 12 min read

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