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Complex survey questionnaires don’t need to be complex for the participants

A good survey should not be too lengthy. Simple English should be used and the question shouldn’t be difficult to answer.  Survey requires sensible language, editing, assessment, and redrafting. Since given the same task and hypotheses; six different people will probably come up with six other survey that differ widely in their choice of questions, line of questioning, use of open-ended questions, and length, but only the best design and structure of questions will gather good response overall. There are no hard-and-fast rules about how to design a survey, but several points are worth considering.

Decide on the structure of the question

1. Structured questions

 These specify the set of response alternatives and the response format. These can be classified into multiple choice questions. Response categories such as “Yes” or “No” which make it easier for participant to give a response even though the question might seem complex.

2. Unstructured questions

 These are also known as open-ended question. No alternatives are suggested and the respondents are free to answer these questions in any way they like.

Determine the question language/phrasing

 If the questions are poorly worded, then either the respondents will refuse to answer the question or they may give incorrect answers. Thus, the words of the question should be carefully chosen.

Ordinary and unambiguous words should be used.

Avoid implicit assumptions, generalizations and implicit alternatives.

Avoid biased questions.

Define the issue in terms of who the Survey is being addressed to, what information is required, what the information required is and why the question is being asked.

A well-designed Survey should meet the research objectives

This may seem obvious, but many research surveys omit essential aspects due to preliminary preparatory work and do not adequately probe particular issues due to poor understanding.

 To a certain degree, some of this is inevitable.

Every survey is bound to leave some questions unanswered and provide a need for further research, but a good survey design aims to minimize these problems.

It should obtain the most complete and accurate information possible.

The survey designer needs to ensure that respondents fully understand the questions and are not likely to refuse to answer, lie to the participants or try to conceal their attitudes.

 A good survey is organized and worded to encourage respondents to provide accurate, unbiased, and complete information.

Properly arrange the questions

 To determine the order of the question, take decisions on aspects like opening questions, simple, interesting questions should be used as opening questions to gain co-operation and confidence of respondents.

Type of information, basic information relates to the research issue, classification information relates to social and demographic characteristics, and identification information relates to personal information such as name, address, and contact number of respondents. Difficult questions (complex, embarrassing, dull and sensitive questions could be difficult), effect on subsequent questions, logical sequence.

Conclusion

A well-designed survey should make it easy for respondents to give the necessary information and for the surveyor to record the answer.

 It should be arranged so that sound analysis and interpretation are possible.

It would keep the survey brief and to the point.

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