Research Methods: Developing your research design

Eira Patterson | View as single page | Feedback/Impact


Questionnaires are one of the most commonly used tools in social science research, however they are often poorly constructed, for example questions may be difficult to interpret and result in misunderstanding or the structure may not allow respondents to say what they want to. Another challenge associated with use of questionnaires is low response rate, which may be compounded by the type of questions being asked or the length of the questionnaire. The following checklist will help you to identify the key features of questionnaire design you will need to learn about to enable you to design effective tools:

  • Question content: how to ensure the data you collect is useful and enables respondents to tell you about what is important to them

  • Question wording: how to construct clear questions that are not misleading or biased (e.g. leading respondents to give a particular response)

  • Question forms: structured / unstructured / open / closed / multiple choice / rank ordering / rating scales

  • Questionnaire design: layout and sequence of questions

  • How the questionnaire will be administered

  • Analysing the data from questionnaires

Sources of further information:

Designing questionnaires

Ordering of questions

Questionnaire piloting