Chapter 8

Chapter 8
Designing the Survey Questionnaire
Copyright © 2013 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.
Questionnaires in Marketing Research
• Questionnaire: A formal, structured response
framework consisting of a set of questions and
scales designed to generate primary data.
• Can be administered orally or textually (i.e.
Questionnaires in Marketing Research –
Two Main Kinds
• Descriptive survey questionnaires collect data
that can be turned into knowledge about
consumers, companies, markets, etc.
• Predictive survey questionnaires predict
changes in attitudes and behaviors and are
used to test research hypotheses.
Steps in Questionnaire Design
Step 1: Confirm Research Objectives
• Example of Research Objectives:
– To collect data on selected customer demographic
characteristics and lifestyle dimensions of our
different market segments
– To identify preferred banking services, as well as
attitudes and feelings toward those services
Step 2: Select Appropriate Data Collection Method
• We will develop and administer an internet
survey with the following sections:
– Section I: Banking services
– Section II: Lifestyle dimensions
– Section III: Banking relationships
– Section IV: Demographic characteristics
Step 3: Develop Questions and Scaling
• Question formats
– Unstructured questions: Open-ended questions
allow respondents to reply in their own words –
no pre-determined choices imposed by the
researcher (like an essay test!)
– Structured questions: Closed-ended questions
that require the respondent to choose from a predetermined set of responses or scale points
(pretty much any scale we have looked at so far)
Step 3: Develop Questions and Scaling
• Bad questions: Any questions that prevent or
distort the fundamental communication
between researchers and respondents
• A question is bad when it is:
– Unanswerable
– Leading (loaded)
– Double-barreled
Step 3: Develop Questions and Scaling
• Other considerations:
– Use simple words; avoid technical words or jargon
– Make questions as concise as possible
– Avoid using qualifying phrases (always,
sometimes, never, etc.) in question stems, but
they’re generally ok in response scales
– Ensure response categories are mutually exclusive
– Ensure question and corresponding scale
descriptors are meaningful to respondents and
“jive” with each other.
– Grammar, diction and spelling must be flawless!!!
Step 3: Develop Questions and Scaling
• Sensitive questions: Questions about income,
sexual beliefs or behaviors, medical
conditions, financial difficulties, drug/alcohol
consumption, or other questions that
respondents might skip, answer falsely or
otherwise take offense to should appear near
the end of the survey.
Step 3: Develop Questions and Scaling
• Skip questions: Used if the next question (or
set of questions) should be responded to only
by respondents who meet a previous
• Much easier to implement in web/digital surveys
Step 4: Determine Layout and Evaluate
• Introductory section: Gives the respondent an
overview of the research
• Re-mention the purpose of the research (if indicated)
• Set any necessary ground rules
• Provide general instructions
• Screening questions: Used to disqualify
inappropriate respondents
• This should usually/mostly be done before the formal
survey is administered
• Research questions section: Focuses on the main
research questions of interest
Step 4: Determine Layout and Evaluate Questionnaire
• Ensure instructions are clear for each section
• Arrange questions in a logical order.
– Keep questions using the same response formats in close
proximity if possible.
– Start with easy questions and ask the more difficult
questions later in the survey.
• Be mindful of coding needs when choosing response
formats, especially if manual entry of data will occur.
• The entire survey should be as short as possible
without sacrificing the integrity and amount of data
collected – it’s ultimately a judgment call!
• End with a thank-you statement.
Step 4: Determine Layout and Evaluate
• Response order bias: Occurs when the order
of the questions, or of the closed-end
responses to a particular question, influences
the answer given
• Common methods variance (CMV): Falsely
correlated answers due to a subject’s need to
appear consistent across a series of related
Step 5: Obtain Initial Client Approval
• Provide copies of the questionnaire to all
parties involved in the project
• Client may identify any overlooked items or
other problematic aspects of the survey (i.e.
inaccurate representations, offensive
questions, etc.)
• What if client makes a stupid suggestion!?
Step 6: Pretest, Revise, and Finalize the
• Final evaluation of the questionnaire is
obtained from a pretest
– Helps the researcher determine:
• How much time respondents will need to complete the
survey (Is survey too long?!)
• Whether to add, delete or revise instructions, questions
and scales that are biased or poorly written.
• Where did subjects get confused or misled?
• Helps with how to frame aspects of the cover letter
(see subsequent slides)
Step 7: Implement the Survey
• Administer the survey to the “real” (i.e. nonpretest) sample.
• Keep correcting any survey shortcomings /
errors that are revealed during
implementation without changing the
fundamental nature of the survey so that
results remain comparable across the
• Good + Bad Data is usually better than All Bad
The Cover Letter / Invitation to Participate
• Cover letter / Invitation:
• Designed to enhance respondent willingness to
accurately and faithfully complete and/or return
the survey in a timely manner
Guidelines for Developing Effective Cover Letters
Collecting Data
• Interviewer instructions: Used to train
interviewers how to:
– Select prospective respondents
– Screen them for eligibility
– Conduct the actual interview
• Screening questions
• Quotas: A tracking system that collects data
from respondents and helps ensure that
subgroups are represented in the sample as
Collecting Data: Interviewer Instructions
• Used to train
interviewers how
– Select prospective
– Screen them for
– Conduct the
actual interview
Collecting Data: Contact Records
• Contact Record:
Gathers basic
about an