If you think that making a survey questionnaire is an easy task, think again. The truth is, there are so many things to consider when you design survey questionnaires. A survey questionnaire is part of the research process, and each component of a good research project should be well thought out, and this includes the survey questionnaire.
Here are some of the things you should know in designing survey research:
1. Know the type of survey research design you will be using. There are two types of survey designs to choose from: cross-sectional and longitudinal. A cross-sectional survey is the type of survey that gathers data at one point in time from a selected sample. This selected group of respondents is assumed to represent the entire population. The longitudinal survey design, on the other hand, has three types: trend, cohort, and panel. Trend longitudinal surveys are done on a sample population at different periods of time. Cohort surveys are ones when the study is conducted on one population but the sample population changes. Panel longitudinal surveys are those that are conducted at various periods of time with the same sample population.
2. Decide on the method of survey administration that will be most convenient for you. You have so many choices in the method of survey administration to use:
- Personal interview. Personally interviewing your respondents allows you to articulate your questions more so the respondents can understand more clearly and respond accordingly. However, this can be very costly and time consuming, as you will need to schedule an interview appointment with your respondent and offer a token of gratitude as well. Some people may not also be comfortable in answering survey questionnaires with the interviewer in front of them.
- Telephone interview. This is generally less expensive compared to having a personal interview done. This option can also be more comfortable for most respondents who get intimidated when an interviewer is present. Still, the number of respondents may be limited only to those having telephone lines.
- Mail surveys. This can be the least expensive choice among the survey administration methods available, but there is no guarantee that all responses will be mailed back.
- Web surveys. The best option for surveys needing international respondents. However, this option limits respondents who are not computer savvy.
3. Assess your operational costs. These survey research designs cost not only time but money as well. First, know how much you can spend on the survey administration itself. This will greatly influence your choice of survey administration method.
4. Choose your target population. Make sure that your target population represents the data that you need to aid you in your research. Aim for a balanced mix of respondents to gain full representation.
5. Decide on the time frame of your survey research design. Be able to decide on the exact date when you will need the data from the survey. Budget the time that you have, especially if you will need to set appointments with your respondents.
When you design survey research projects, prepare yourself to encounter failures along the way. Remember that you are dealing with different people who will also respond differently to your survey.