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Whats a questionnaire

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A questionnaire is a research instrument consisting of a series of questions and other prompts for the purpose of gathering information from respondents. Although they are often designed for statistical analysis of the responses, this is not always the case. The questionnaire was invented by Sir Francis Galton, who is actually the cousin of Charles Darwin which allowed him to be recognised. Questionnaires are an inexpensive way to gather data from a potentially large number of respondents. Often they are the simplest way to reach a variety of people, large enough to allow statistical analysis of the results. A well-designed questionnaire that is used effectively can gather information on both the overall performance of the test system as well as information on specific components of the system. ...read more.


Although questionnaires may be cheap to carry out compared to other data collection methods, they are every bit as expensive in terms of design time and interpretation. Questionnaires have advantages over some other types of surveys in that they are cheap, do not require as much effort from the questioner as verbal or telephone surveys, and often have standardised answers that make it easy to compile data. However, such standardised answers may frustrate users. Questionnaires are also limited by the fact that respondents must be able to read and understand the questions and respond to them. Thus, for some demographic groups conducting a survey by questionnaire may not be practical. Unfortunatly questionnaires only occur after the event, so participants may forget important issues. Respondents may answer hastily especially if the questionnaire takes a long time to complete. ...read more.


Participants may not be willing to answer the questions, they might not wish to reveal the information or they might think that they will not benefit from responding and perhaps even be penalised by giving their real opinion. Participants should always be informed why the information is being collected and how the results will be beneficial. They should be asked to reply honestly and told that if their response is negative this is just as useful as a more positive opinion. If possible the questionnaire should be anonymous. Questionnaires must be carefully designed to gather accurate and valid information. Meticulous attention must be paid to ensure that individual questions are relevant, appropriate, intelligible, precise, and unbiased. The order of the questions must be carefully arranged, and the layout of the questionnaire must be clear. It is wise to draft a clear personalised covering letter. Questionnaires must first be piloted and evaluated before the actual survey. ...read more.

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