What is a questionnaire

Define questionnaire and explain it’s advantages and disadvantages

 questionnaire is an instrument for collecting data, and almost always involve asking a given subject to respond to a set of oral or written questions.

Advantages of Questionnaires
1. Questionnaires are cost-efficient Questionnaires are one of the most affordable ways to gather quantitative data. Especially online and mobile surveys have a very low cost and a generous reach. There’s no printing cost, you don’t have to hire surveyors to ask people the questions, not do you have to buy stamps to send out your paper survey.
A questionnaire can be placed on your website or emailed to your customers. These methods have little to no cost, depending on how you administer them, though strong targeting is necessary if you want them to receive the most accurate results..
2. They’re practical
Apart from being inexpensive and flexible, questionnaires are also a practical way to gather data. They can be targeted to groups of your choosing and managed in various ways. You can pick and choose the questions asked as well as the format (open-ended or multiple choice). They offer a way to gather vast amounts of data on any subject.
3. Speedy results
It’s quick and easy to collect results with online and mobile tools. This means that you can gain insights in as little as 24 hours (or less!), depending on the scale and reach of your questionnaire. You don’t need to wait for another company to deliver the answers you need.
4. Scalability
Questionnaires and surveys allow you to gather information from a large audience. Online, you can literally distribute your questions to anyone, anywhere in the world (provided they have an internet connection). This means that for a relatively low cost, you can target a city or a country. Geography no longer stands in the way of market research. It’s important to be aware of cultural differences between people and countries when conducting worldwide research.
5. You don’t need to be a scientist
Most survey and questionnaire providers are quantitative in nature and allow easy analysis of results. With built-in tools, it’s easy to analyze your results without a background in statistics or scientific research. Tools like Survey Anyplace are easy to interpret reports and visualizations, meaning that you’ll quickly be moving forward to turn your data into results. A built-in analysis also speeds up data gathering.
6. Scientific analysis and predictions
Look at research as a blank canvas. The more data you gather, the clearer the painting becomes. All this information gives marketers the capability to create new strategies and to follow trends in your audience. Analyzing reports can be used to generate predictions and even create benchmarks for follow-up questions or questionnaires. The best part? You don’t need any additional statistical software.
7. User anonymity
Online and email surveys allow respondents to maintain their anonymity. Mail-in questionnaires also allow for complete invisibility, which maximizes comfort for those answering. Even phone interviews are not face-to-face, thereby making it a more private communication. This concealment puts respondents at ease and encourages them to answer truthfully; however, there is still a human touch to these phone interviews.
Digital questionnaires give the best sense of anonymity and privacy. This type of questionnaire is great for all sorts of businesses and subject matter and results in the most honest answers. You can be sure your results will be much more accurate when using this method.
8. No pressure
When using mail-in, online or email questionnaires, there’s no time limit and no one on the other end waiting for an answer. Respondents can take their time to complete the question. They will often answer more truthfully, research has shown that having a researcher present can lead to less honest and more social desirable answers.
9. Cover all aspects of a topic
One of the biggest advantages is being able to ask as many questions as you like. Of course, it benefits the marketer to keep each individual questionnaire short, since respondents may find a long one frustrating. However, since they are efficient, cost-effective in nature and have an easy mode of delivery, there is no harm in creating multiple surveys that build upon one another.

Disadvantages of Questionnaires
1. Dishonesty
While there are many positives to questionnaires, dishonesty can be an issue. Respondents may not be 100 percent truthful with their answers. This can happen for a variety of reasons, including social desirability bias and attempting to protect privacy. Stop dishonesty in its tracks by assuring respondents that their privacy is valued and that the process prevents personal identification.
2. Lack of conscientious responses
Every administrator hopes for conscientious responses, but there’s no way to know if the respondent has really thought the question through before answering. At times, answers will be chosen before fully reading the question or the potential answers. Sometimes respondents will skip through questions, or split-second choices may be made, affecting the validity of your data.
This drawback is tough to defeat, but if you make your survey short and your questions simple you’re likely to get the most accurate responses.
3. Differences in understanding and interpretation
The trouble with not presenting questions to users face-to-face is that each may have different interpretations of your questions. Without someone to explain the questionnaire fully and ensure each individual has the same understanding, results can be subjective.
Respondents may have trouble grasping the meaning of some questions that may seem clear to the creator. This miscommunication can lead to skewed results. The best way to combat this situation is to create simple questions that are easy to answer.
4. Hard to convey feelings and emotions
A survey or questionnaire cannot fully capture emotional responses or the feelings of the respondents. Without administering the questionnaire face-to-face, there is no way to observe facial expression, reactions or body language.
Without these subtleties, useful data can go unnoticed. Don’t get stuck trying to interpret emotion in data, instead go for a Likert scale, the response scale that often uses a rating scale from “slightly agree” to “strongly disagree.” This allows for strength and assertion in responses rather than multiple choice.
5. Some questions are difficult to analyze
Questionnaires produce a lot of data. Multiple choice questions can be tabulated and graphed, but open-ended questions are different. Open-ended questions allow for individualized answers which cannot be quantified and must be reviewed by a human.
Too many open-ended questions can produce more data than can be analyzed. Fix this pitfall but choosing your question types carefully. If you have ten questions, you probably don’t want more than one to be open-ended since these have no way to be quantified.
6. Respondents may have a hidden agenda
As with any sort of research, bias can be an issue. Participants in your survey may have an interest in your product, idea or service. Others may be influenced to participate based on the subject of your questionnaire. These proclivities can lead to inaccuracies in your data, generated from an imbalance of respondents who see your topic in an overly positive or negative light. Filter out a hidden agenda with a pre-screening. Come up with a few indirect questions that will remove those results wreckers.
Filter out a hidden agenda with a pre-screening. Come up with a few indirect questions that will remove those results wreckers.
7. Lack of personalization
Customization is the prevailing marketing theme. Any piece of marketing material is at risk of seeming impersonal unless time and care are taken to personalize it. If you’re unable to add touches of personalization, some potential respondents may be put off and ignore it. This can be particularly difficult when the questionnaire or survey is taken voluntarily on a website, outside of a purchase or email.
Fix this by always sending emails containing respondents names. Use dynamic content on websites, and strive to use names, personal data and personalized content in all communication.
8. Skipped questions
When using questionnaires, there is a chance that some questions will be ignored. If questions are not required, there is always that risk they won’t be answered. Online questionnaires offer a simple solution to this issue: make answering the question required.
Otherwise, make your survey short and your questions uncomplicated and you will avoid question skipping and get better completion rates.
9. Accessibility issues
No matter what form of delivery is used, lack of accessibility is a threat. Surveys may be unsuitable for users with a visual or hearing impairment, or other impediments such as illiteracy. This should be considered when choosing to do research in this manner. Always choose a questionnaire platform that has accessibility options built in.

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