Questionnaires can be classified as both, quantitative and qualitative method depending on the nature of questions. Specifically, answers obtained through closed-ended questions with multiple choice answer options are analyzed using quantitative methods and they may involve pie-charts, bar-charts and percentages. Answers obtained to open-ended questionnaire questions are analyzed using qualitative methods and they involve discussions and critical analyses without use of numbers and calculations.
For a standard 15,000-20,000 word business dissertation, including 25-40 questions in questionnaires will usually suffice. Questions need be formulated in an unambiguous and straightforward manner and they should be presented in a logical order.
Advantages of questionnaires include increased speed of data collection, low or no cost requirements, and higher levels of objectivity compared to many alternative methods of primary data collection. However, questionnaires have certain disadvantages such as selection of random answer choices by respondents without properly reading the question. Moreover, there is usually no possibility for respondents to express their additional thoughts about the matter due to the absence of a relevant question.
There are following types of questionnaires:
Computer questionnaire. Respondents are asked to answer the questionnaire which is sent by mail. The advantages of the computer questionnaires include their inexpensive price, time-efficiency, and respondents do not feel pressured, therefore can answer when they have time, giving more accurate answers. However, the main shortcoming of the mail questionnaires is that sometimes respondents do not bother answering them and they can just ignore the questionnaire.
Telephone questionnaire. Researcher may choose to call potential respondents with the aim of getting them to answer the questionnaire. The advantage of the telephone questionnaire is that, it can be completed during the short amount of time. The main disadvantage of the phone questionnaire is that it is expensive most of the time. Moreover, most people do not feel comfortable to answer many questions asked through the phone and it is difficult to get sample group to answer questionnaire over the phone.
In-house survey. This type of questionnaire involves the researcher visiting respondents in their houses or workplaces. The advantage of in-house survey is that more focus towards the questions can be gained from respondents. However, in-house surveys also have a range of disadvantages which include being time consuming, more expensive and respondents may not wish to have the researcher in their houses or workplaces for various reasons.
Mail Questionnaire. This sort of questionnaires involve the researcher to send the questionnaire list to respondents through post, often attaching pre-paid envelope. Mail questionnaires have an advantage of providing more accurate answer, because respondents can answer the questionnaire in their spare time. The disadvantages associated with mail questionnaires include them being expensive, time consuming and sometimes they end up in the bin put by respondents.
Questionnaires can include the following types of questions:
Open question questionnaires. Open questions differ from other types of questions used in questionnaires in a way that open questions may produce unexpected results, which can make the research more original and valuable. However, it is difficult to analyze the results of the findings when the data is obtained through the questionnaire with open questions.
Multiple choice questions. Respondents are offered a set of answers they have to choose from. The downsize of questionnaire with multiple choice questions is that, if there are too many answers to choose from, it makes the questionnaire, confusing and boring, and discourages the respondent to answer the questionnaire.
Dichotomous Questions. This type of questions gives two options to respondents – yes or no, to choose from. It is the easiest form of questionnaire for the respondent in terms of responding it.
Scaling Questions. Also referred to as ranking questions, they present an option for respondents to rank the available answers to the questions on the scale of given range of values (for example from 1 to 10).
Survey Monkey represents one of the most popular online platforms for facilitating data collection through questionnaires. Substantial benefits offered by Survey Monkey include its ease to use, presentation of questions in many different formats and advanced data analysis capabilities.
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