What is a Research Questionnaire? Its Design, Methods, and Questions?

Once you embark on the journey of writing a scholarly work or a dissertation then you should know that your whole document must revolve around the research factor. Yes! Research plays a crucial role in any document as it adds authenticity and validity to it. It is up to the writer which method of research he wants to pursue to reach the objective of his writing varying from survey in research to research questionnaires. As Robert J. Sawyer said:

“You should write not what you know, but what you can find out about.”

It is because what you know is more likely your opinion which does not matter at all till you need to critically evaluate the findings and findings are all about the conduction of research. There are different designs, methods, and types of questionnaire in research, that are going to be discussed in detail in the following post.

Table of Contents

What Is the Difference Between Research Questionnaires Vs Surveys?

Research questionnaires and surveys are the two methods of data collection; you can use both; survey questionnaire in research or either one of them in your research method.

  1. Purpose- Research questionnaire vs. Survey:

    A research questionnaire is a structured set of written questions designed to gather specific information from participants. It is often used to collect data for in-depth research studies. It can be used as both; qualitative research method as well as quantitative research methods.

    On the other hand; a survey is a broader term that refers to any method used to collect information from a group of participants. Surveys can include questionnaires but can also involve;

    • Interviews
    • Observations
    • Other data collection methods
  2. Format- Research questionnaire vs. Survey:

    You will find out through research questionnaire sample that a questionnaire typically consists of a series of predetermined questions that participants answer in a specific format, such as;

    • Multiple-choice
    • Likert scale
    • Open-ended responses

    On the other side of the picture, a survey can encompass various formats depending on the research goals and methods, including;

    • Questionnaires
    • Interviews
    • Focus groups
    • Observations
  3. Scope- Research questionnaire vs. Survey:

    During data collection, questionnaires are often used for more focused and specific research objectives. They are useful when researchers want to collect standardized data on a particular topic from a large number of participants.

    Surveys can be used for a wide range of research purposes, from exploring general attitudes to gathering detailed information on specific behaviors or experiences.

  4. Flexibility- Research questionnaire vs. Survey:

    Questionnaires are usually more structured and standardized, which can limit the flexibility in probing deeper or unexpected responses.

    Surveys, especially those involving interviews or open-ended research questions, offer greater flexibility for researchers to adapt their approach based on participant responses.

  5. Data Collection- Research questionnaire vs. Survey:

    While checking the example of questionnaire in research, you will observe that they are often self-administered by participants, who read and answer the questions on their own.

    But surveys can be;

    • Self-administered
    • Researcher-administered, such as in-person or over-the-phone interviews
    • Conducted in a group setting like focus groups
  6. Depth of Information- Research Questionnaire vs. Survey:

    Questionnaires are suitable for collecting structured data with limited depth which makes them useful for quantitative types of questionnaire in research or for analysis purposes.

    Surveys, especially those involving open-ended questions or qualitative interviews, can provide richer and more in-depth information suitable for qualitative analysis.

  7. Analysis- Research questionnaire vs. Survey:

    In order to conduct secondary research; data from questionnaires are often analyzed using statistical methods to identify;

    • Patterns
    • Trends
    • Relationships among variables

    The analysis of survey data can be both quantitative (statistical) and qualitative (thematic analysis, content analysis) depending on the research approach.

  8. Example- Research questionnaire vs. Survey:

    If we take the example of questionnaire in research with respect to online shopping behavior then it can be as:

    • Age
    • Gender
    • How frequently do you shop online? (Daily, Weekly, Monthly, Rarely)
    • What types of products do you usually buy online? (Electronics, Clothing, Groceries, etc)
    • Which online platforms do you prefer for shopping? (Amazon, eBay, etc.)
    • Have you ever abandoned an online shopping cart before completing a purchase? (Yes, No)

    On the other hand; the example of a survey with respect to public perception of renewable energy in research goes something like this:

    Demographic Information:

    • Age
    • Gender: [ ] Male [ ] Female [ ] Other [ ] Prefer not to say
    • Education Level: [ ] High School [ ] Bachelor’s Degree [ ] Master’s Degree [ ] Doctorate [ ] Other

    How familiar are you with the term “renewable energy”?

    • Very familiar
    • Somewhat familiar
    • Neutral
    • Not very familiar
    • Not familiar at all

    Where do you usually get information about renewable energy?

    • News websites
    • Social media
    • Television
    • Other (please specify)

    Would you be interested in installing solar panels on your property?

    • Yes
    • No
    • Maybe

What Are Questionnaire Methods?

Questionnaire methods are a type of research tool used to collect data from respondents by presenting them with a series of questions.

  1. Structured Questionnaires:

    These questionnaires have predefined questions and response options. They are often used for quantitative research.

    A survey about customer satisfaction at a restaurant might include questions like “On a scale of 1 to 5, how satisfied are you with the quality of food?”

  2. Likert Scale:

    Whether it is online dissertation help or any other form of scholarly writing, the Likert scale is a common type of structured questionnaire that measures respondents’ attitudes or opinions on a specific topic.

    A questionnaire on environmental awareness might ask respondents to rate their level of agreement on a scale from “Strongly Disagree” to “Strongly Agree.”

  3. Checklists:

    Checklists involve a list of items or criteria, and respondents mark the items that apply to them.

    A health assessment questionnaire might provide a checklist of symptoms for a particular illness, and respondents mark the symptoms they are experiencing.

  4. Ranking Scale:

    Respondents are asked to rank a list of items based on their preferences or importance.

    A survey about factors influencing vacation destination choices might ask respondents to rank factors in order of preference, like;

    • Price
    • Scenic Beauty
    • Cultural Attractions
    • Climate
  5. Semantic Differential Scale:

    This scale assesses the meaning and perception of concepts using bipolar adjectives.

    To measure perceptions of a brand, respondents might rate it on scales such as;

    • Innovative – Conventional
    • High Quality – Low Quality
    • Trustworthy – Untrustworthy
  6. Demographic Questionnaires:

    These questionnaires’ research design collect information about the personal characteristics of respondents.

    A demographic questionnaire might ask about;

    • Age
    • Gender
    • Education level
    • Income
    • Marital status
  7. Behavioral Frequency Questionnaires:

    These questionnaires gather data about the frequency of specific behaviors or activities.

    A health and fitness survey might ask respondents how often they engage in activities like;

    • Jogging
    • Swimming
    • Going to the gym per week
  8. Diary Surveys:

    Participants are asked to keep a record of their experiences or behaviors over a specific period.

    A diary survey might ask participants to record their;

    • Daily food intake
    • Exercise routines
    • Mood for a week
  9. Customer Satisfaction Surveys:

    These questionnaires assess customers’ perceptions of a product or service.

    An online retailer might send a customer satisfaction survey after a purchase, asking about;

    • Shopping experience
    • Product quality
    • Delivery process

Self-Administered Research Questionnaires?

Self- administered research questionnaire is a technique for collecting data in which subjects freely respond to a series of structured questions without the assistance of an interviewer; frequently used in a variety of research domains to compile data on particular subjects.

  1. Example (with respect to smartphone usages study):

    • Researchers want to understand smartphone usage habits among college students.
    • They design a questionnaire with questions about frequency of usage and perceived impact.
    • Participants complete the questionnaire at their own convenience and pace.
    • Responses are collected and later analyzed to identify usage trends and correlations.
    • Advantages include reduced interviewer bias and increased respondent privacy.
    • Potential drawbacks include incomplete or inaccurate responses due to lack of supervision.

What Are Researcher-Administered Questionnaires?

Researcher administered questionnaire is a method for gathering data in which researchers ask participants a series of structured questions directly and then record their answers, allowing for further clarification and direction.

  1. Example (with respect to customer satisfaction survey):

    • A company wants to assess customer satisfaction with its products and services.
    • Researchers prepare a questionnaire with detailed questions about various aspects of the customer experience.
    • They conduct face-to-face interviews with customers.
    • Researchers can provide clarifications and ensure participants understand the questions.
    • Follow-up questions can be asked based on initial responses to gather deeper insights.
    • However, it requires more resources and time compared to self-administered methods.
    • The gathered data helps the company identify strengths and areas for improvement in its offerings.

Differences Between Open-Ended Vs Closed-Ended Questions:

Some of the prominent differences between open-ended and closed-ended questionnaires are:

  1. Response Format- Open-Ended vs. Closed-Ended Questions:

    Open-ended questions encourage a detailed and unrestricted response. The respondent can answer in their own words and provide as much information as they want.

    On the other hand; close-ended questions have predefined answer options, like;

    • Yes
    • NO
    • Selecting from multiple-choice options
  2. Information Depth- Open-Ended vs. Closed-Ended Questions:

    Open-ended questions allow for a deeper exploration of the topic and provide insights into the respondents;

    • Thoughts
    • Feelings
    • Opinions

    Closed-ended questions provide specific and concise information, but may not capture the nuances of complex opinions.

  3. Flexibility/Precision- Open-Ended vs. Closed-Ended Questions:

    In open-ended questionnaires, answers can be unpredictable and diverse, providing richer context and potential for discovering new perspectives.

    Closed-ended questions ensure consistency in answers and make data collection easier, especially for quantitative analysis.

  4. Use Cases- Open-Ended vs. Closed-Ended Questions:

    Open-ended questions are useful for gathering;

    • Qualitative data
    • Conducting interviews
    • Encouraging brainstorming
    • Promoting in-depth discussions

    Closed-ended questions are effective for;

    • Surveys
    • Quick feedback collection
    • When precise data is needed
  5. Analysis- Open-Ended vs. Closed-Ended Questions:

    Analyzing responses can be more time-consuming and subjective due to the variety of possible answers to open-ended questions.

    In closed-ended questions, analyzing responses is straightforward, as the options are limited and predetermined.

Pros and Cons of Open-Ended Questions:

  1. Pros:

    • Respondents can express their opinions and ideas in their own words, allowing for diverse perspectives and unexpected insights.
    • Open-ended questions are ideal for exploring complex topics or issues where multiple viewpoints are valuable.
    • They encourage creative thinking and generations of novel ideas, as respondents are not limited by predefined options.
    • Open-ended questions yield qualitative data that can reveal underlying motivations and attitudes.
    • These questions can provide context and background, helping researchers or interviewers to better understand the respondent’s reasoning.
  2. Cons:

    • Crafting and responding to open-ended questions can be time-consuming, making them less suitable for surveys with a large number of participants.
    • Analyzing open-ended responses can be subjective and challenging, as interpretation can vary based on the analyst’s perspective.
    • Responses may lack consistency, making it difficult to compare and quantify data across different respondents.
    • Some respondents might provide brief or vague answers, leading to incomplete or uninformative data.
    • Processing and categorizing diverse open-ended responses can be more complex than analyzing closed-ended data.
    • In qualitative research, interviewers might unintentionally influence responses through follow-up questions or body language.

Pros and Cons of Closed-Ended Questions:

  1. Pros:

    • They are quick to answer, saving time in interviews or surveys.
    • Responses are specific and focused, reducing ambiguity.
    • Results are easier to quantify and analyze statistically.
    • They provide control over the information gathered.
    • Effective for collecting demographic data or simple preferences.
    • Can help avoid interviewer bias by limiting open interpretation
    • Responses are uniform, aiding comparison across participants.
  2. Cons:

    • They offer narrow information, missing in-depth understanding.
    • Respondents might not express nuanced opinions or feelings.
    • It can lead participants toward specific answers due to wording.
    • Complex issues may be oversimplified.
    • Valuable information might remain unexplored.
    • This may discourage participants from sharing personal experiences.
    • Not suitable for creative thinking or idea generation.

What are Some Open-Ended Questions Examples?

  1. What are your thoughts on [topic]?
  2. How would you approach [problem]?
  3. Can you describe your experience with [activity]?
  4. What do you believe is the significance of [event]?
  5. In what ways do you think [concept] influences [outcome]?

What are Some Closed-Ended Questions Examples?

  1. Is today Monday?
  2. Did you enjoy the movie?
  3. Have you visited that restaurant before?
  4. Is your favorite color blue?
  5. Did you finish your homework?

How Question Wording is Used?

Question-wording is the way a question is formulated, including;

  • The choice of words
  • Structure
  • Context

It is crucial in shaping the type of response you will receive. The following factors must be considered:

  • Clarity: Clear and concise wording ensures that the respondent understands the question correctly.
  • Neutral Wording: Avoid leading questions that guide respondents towards a particular answer.
  • Specificity: Precise wording helps in getting specific answers.
  • Context: Providing context can help respondents understand the question better and offer relevant answers.
  • Avoid Double-barreled Questions: These are questions that ask about multiple things at once, making it challenging for respondents to answer accurately.
  • Positive/Negative Wording: Be mindful of using positive or negative phrasing, as it can influence how respondents interpret the question.
  • Scale and Rating Questions: For questions that involve scales, ensure the scale is clearly defined.

What is the Question order in Research Questionnaire?

The order of questions in a research questionnaire is crucial for ensuring clarity and obtaining meaningful data. The typical order used in research questionnaires is:

  • Introduction and Demographics:
    • Start with a warm introduction.
    • Gather demographic information.
  • General Questions:
    • Begin with broader questions that are easy to answer.
    • These questions could be related to general opinions or awareness.
  • Specific Questions:
    • Move to more detailed questions at the core of the research topic.
    • Order these questions logically, moving from one aspect to another.
  • Sensitive or Personal Questions:
    • Place sensitive questions after a rapport has been established.
    • Ensure respondents that their answers will remain confidential.
  • Closed-ended Questions:
    • Use multiple-choice questions to capture specific responses and quantify data.
  • Open-ended Questions:
    • Include open-ended questions to gather qualitative insights and richer explanations.
  • Final Thoughts and Thank You:
    • Conclude with a thank-you message and express gratitude for their participation.
    • Offer an opportunity for respondents to provide additional comments or suggestions.

How to Design a Logical Flow?

Designing a logical flow is crucial for organizing information or ideas in a coherent manner.

  • Start with defining the objective.
  • Identify the key points by determining the main ideas.
  • Follow the chronological or hierarchical order by arranging the key points in sequence.
  • Use transitional words and phrases to smoothly connect each point and guide the reader through the flow.
  • Group related points into categories to create a structured and organized layout.
  • Consider using diagrams or visuals to complement the logical flow.
  • Provide a brief introduction that sets the context.
  • Present each key point concisely and use bullet points for each step.
  • Use clear signposts to guide readers through the flow.
  • Include relevant examples, evidence, or explanations to reinforce each point.
  • Summarize the key takeaways or conclusions derived from the logical flow.
  • Proofread the content and check for any gaps in the flow.
  • Tailor the logical flow to the needs and expectations of your target audience

What is the Step-by-step Designing Process?

  • Define research objectives.
  • Identify the target audience.
  • Select question types.
  • Generate question ideas.
  • Organize question sequence.
  • Write clear and unbiased questions.
  • Pretest and refine.
  • Include instructions.
  • Consider response format.
  • Balance question types.
  • Keep length manageable.
  • Test reliability and validity.
  • Translate if needed.
  • Final review and approval.
  • Distribute and collect responses.
  • Analyze data.
  • Draw conclusions.
  • Report findings.
  • Reflect and improve.


  1. What are the four types of questionnaires?

    The four types of questionnaires are:

    1. Structured questionnaires
    2. Unstructured questionnaires.
    3. Open-ended questionnaires.
    4. Close-ended questionnaires.
  2. What questionnaires are used in research?

    The types of questionnaires that can be used in research are:

    1. Online Questionnaire.
    2. Telephone Questionnaire.
    3. Paper Questionnaire.
    4. Face-to-Face Interview.
    5. Open-Ended Questions
    6. Close Ended Questions
  3. How do you tell if a questionnaire is qualitative or quantitative?

    A quantitative survey is one that uses a questionnaire with scale-able responses. A qualitative survey is one that includes descriptive questions and detailed responses.

  4. What is the best type of questionnaire for quantitative research?

    Multiple-choice questions are the best type of questionnaire for quantitative research purposes.

  5. Do questionnaires collect qualitative data?

    Yes! Questionnaires can collect qualitative plus quantitative data but qualitative questionnaires preset a box where people can write their opinion.

  6. Is a questionnaire primary or secondary research?

    Interviews and questionnaires are a source of primary research

  7. What are 5 good research questions?

    Some of the great research questions are:

    1. What information do I need?
    2. Where do I find information?
    3. Which information can I trust?
    4. How can I use new information in my writing?
    5. How do I use information ethically?
  8. Do questionnaires have validity?

    By examining whether a questionnaire assesses the things it claims to be measuring, its validity can be determined.

  9. How do we gather data?

    Different types of questionnaires and surveys help in the collection of data for research work.

  10. What are the three main aspects of a questionnaire?

    The three main aspects of the questionnaire are:

    1. General form
    2. Question sequence
    3. Question wording and formulation
  11. What’s the difference between a questionnaire and a survey?

    The series of questions you ask a person is referred to as a questionnaire. The process of gathering, assessing, and interpreting data from a large number of people is called a survey.

  12. What’s the difference between closed-ended and open-ended questions?

    Open-ended questions are those that provide responders with a prompt for the inquiry and a blank place to write their own response. On the other hand; closed-ended inquiries give a question prompt and ask respondents to select from a range of acceptable answers.

  13. How do you order a questionnaire?

    You can organize the questions logically, with a clear progression from simple to complex, or randomly between respondents.