A questionnaire is a tool used for data collection. It helps researchers collect data from multiple respondents and is the most frequently employed instrument for collecting data. However, it is imperative to design the questionnaire before its employment for data collection. Questionnaires for thesis research must be tailored to elicit responses from the respondents that help the researchers address the research questions. The purpose of a questionnaire is not just data collection but ensuring that the collected data is credible, and for that, they have to formulate a solid questionnaire. This article will guide you on how to design questionnaires for thesis research.
Why are questionnaires designed for thesis research?
Research depends on data to draw inferences about the problem under investigation. The statistical reports and studies we come across on various issues through journal articles and think thank reports rely on data. They employ data collection tools for gathering data from respondents. Data collection in research is a systematic process, and to generate credible findings, researchers have to select appropriate tools and plan accordingly. Similarly, questionnaires for thesis research are designed before collecting data. Questionnaire design entails formulating questions that are aligned with the research goals and can elicit varied responses from the respondents.
Researchers must ensure that the questions are clear and straightforward and that respondents can comprehend them easily. A questionnaire must not have leading or vague questions because it confuses the readers and leads to skewed data. Therefore, questionnaires for thesis research are designed and planned carefully, and researchers run a pilot test before circulating the questionnaire. These measures ensure that the questionnaire is strong enough to solicit information from the respondents that is aligned with the research goals and objectives.
How to design questionnaires for thesis research?
Articulate the Aims and Objectives
Questionnaires for thesis research must have clearly defined aims and objectives. If the aims and objectives of the questionnaires are vague, it leads to skewed results. Therefore, it is incumbent upon researchers to set clear expectations since inception and spend some articulating the aims and objectives. Here are a few pointers to keep in mind:
- Ascertain the purpose of the questionnaire
- Identify the reasons for designing the questionnaire
- Identify what can be accomplished from the questionnaire
- Ascertain the role of the questionnaire in helping you find the answers to the research questions
- Align the research goals and objectives with the survey questions
Wording of Questions
The wording of questions and how you phrase them determine the efficacy of questionnaires for thesis research. Many researchers fail to extract the required information from the questionnaires because they do not phrase the questions clearly. Consequently, respondents get confused and often provide completely antithetical responses to the research goals and objectives. Jargon-ridden and complex questions are counterproductive; they fail to elicit responses from the respondents. Moreover, vague and leading questions lead to respondents providing the wrong information. Therefore, it is important for researchers to realise that the wording of questions must be clear and concise. They must compose straightforward questions that are comprehensible to the readers and avoid including complex words in the questionnaire. Additionally, questions must be specific and to the topic, and it is important to avoid too many questions because people get bored and tired and do not fill out the entire survey.
Be Careful about leading questions
Researchers often let their biases and preconceived notions interfere with the research process by composing leading questions. Leading questions refer to such questions which imply the answer already and expect a linear answer that aligns with the researcher’s biases. Consequently, it creates biasness in data collection and makes the entire data collection process a futile exercise. Therefore, designing questionnaires for thesis research entails avoiding the incorporation of leading questions. The goal of a survey questionnaire is to gather objective responses, and leading questions have a negative impact on the credibility of the responses. Also, researchers must give room to the respondents to provide their opinions, share their unique perspectives on the issues, and avoid letting their biases stamp upon the research process.
Order of Questions
Sequencing the questions chronologically is imperative in designing the questionnaires for thesis research. The sequencing must be logical, and questions must be properly arranged so that the reader has an amplified understanding and can respond easily. You can organise the survey questions according to your research questions, aims and objectives. The best practice is starting with generic questions and then progressing towards complex ones. Questions that cater to a similar theme or research question must be grouped together to enhance clarity. The survey questions must have a logical flow, and it should not be a haphazard collection of questions bunched together because it confuses the readers.
Double-barreled questions are counterproductive, and their inclusion in questionnaires for thesis research must be avoided. Double-barreled questions entail a two-pronged response, and incorporating them in the questionnaire design affects the validity of the research. It is imperative to draft questions in a way that seeks to measure only one concept per question. Two-pronged questions confuse the readers, and they often give mixed responses. For example, a double-barreled question might look like the following:
- Do you agree or disagree with the abortion laws being introduced in some U.S States? State your reasons.
- The above-mentioned question is a two-pronged question that asks for respondents’ opinions in a two-sided manner. It should be phrased as:
- Do you agree with the abortion laws being introduced in some U.S States? State your reasons
- Do you disagree with the abortion laws being introduced in some U.S States? State your reasons
Avoiding double-barreled questions is a test of your writing abilities and logical thinking, and if you think you need help in designing the questionnaire, you can always reach out to expert researchers at PhD Dissertation Help.
Questionnaires for thesis research necessitate giving respondents options so they can provide varied responses. Limiting the options to questions to two or three categories does not leave much room for the respondents. Therefore, it is imperative to provide the option of “Other” in the answer options so that the respondent can provide an opinion on the issue besides the provided options.
Designing questionnaires for thesis research requires setting clear expectations from the beginning and structuring the question according to the research questions. Including clear and direct questions is imperative to elicit meaningful responses from the respondents.