Thanks to Google Forms, now a days we have the liberty to fill online questionnaires where the physical appearance doesn’t matter much. Especially for the people in marketing domain it might so happen that the respondents don’t visit the internet much. For example a village grocery shop owner, a dairy product retailer etc. might never visit a website and answer the questions asked. In such a scenario you will have to use a physical format questionnaire. And hence the physical appearance of the same becomes significant.
The physical appearance of a questionnaire can have a significant effect upon both the quantity and quality of marketing data obtained. Poorly designed questionnaires will give an impression of complexity and may demand too much time. Quality of the data can also lead to confusion with unnecessary and unorganized schematics, diagrams, figures, layouts etc. This will automatically lead the respondent not to answer the questions completely as well as accurately. Attention to just a few basic details can have a positive impact on the information obtained through the questionnaire.
- Use of Booklet
In place of loose or stapled papers, we can provide the respondents a booklet containing the questionnaire. This will make the respondent as well as the interviewer to progress through the material easily.
- Clear and Simple Format
The questionnaire having clarity helps to improve the ease with which respondents are able to answer the document. If too much text is given then the respondent might not read the questions carefully and thus the purpose of the survey will be defeated.
- Usage of Ample Amount of Space
Sometimes, it may so happen that the interviewer in his desperate effort to reduce the number of pages in the document puts too much information on a single page. Also, he reduces the size of the tables or figures which confuses the respondents. All these practices are not helpful as they make the questionnaire appear so complicated. Questionnaires that make use of blank space are easier to use, get a higher response rates and have lesser errors when completed.
- Use of colors
Color coding can be useful tool in the handling of the questionnaire. It is often the case that several types of respondents are included within a single survey (e.g. wholesalers and retailers). Printing the questionnaires on two different colors of paper can make the handling easier.
- Interviewer instructions
Interviewer Instructions must be placed alongside of the questions to which they are required. Instructions on where the interviewers should probe for more information or how replies should be recorded are placed after the question.
(The article is based on Session #7 pertaining to the possibilities of errors while designing a questionnaire)
– Yash Milind Kotangale