How to write a questionnaire that people actually answer
MBA or Masters Degree , the concept is the same
Since I work in a company where there are close to 400 Software Engineers I always get different kind of questionnaries from friends asking me to pass them around with my friends. Although I don't mind passing them around I'm pretty sure that most of them never answers them. There are various reasons for this , some are buzy , some are lazy , some don't know the subject matter etc. So you have to keep these things in mind when you are writing a questionnaire for your MBA or Masters Degree or whatever. Keep in mind that they are doing you a favour not the other way around. The things listed below are not any scientific research or anything like that , but a look at what I expect from a decent questionnaire , since I consider myself a normal person I guess this is what most people expect as well.
Great books and guides about writing questionnaires
What makes people runaway from your questionnaire
Privacy - start asking name and company details and you can be pretty sure most people will never read the other questions. This depends on the type of the questionnaire and the subject you are covering but if you are looking for information about job satisfaction , salary scales etc then asking these details is a no no.
Its very long - Remember people are busy and lazy. They don't mind helping out a friend or doing a favor but you need understand that there is so much someone will do for a friend. From my personal experience what I can say is if it goes beyond one paper then your response rate will see a decline. If it goes beyond two then it will see a drastic reduction.
Its hard to fill - I cant beleive how many questionnaires I get by SOFTWARE ENGINEERS where you have to move your cursor and type x to select an option. You don't need to do any complex coding to achive this in word , here's how to add check boxes in word. I'm sure this facility is available in most editors. Make it easy for the user and you will get your reward
You have to write - This is another thing which tend to scare away people , if its very important then it's ok to ask to write answers to a simple question or two but if you have to write a lot then you are just making it harder for them.
Its ugly - This could be combination of many things , bad alignment , wrong font , bad formatting etc , so make sure your questionnaire looks pleasing to the eye so they will at least want to read it.
Take the survey to better understand reasons behing why questionnaires fail
What scares you from filling questionnaires
How to increase your chances of getting a response
Be personal - sending to people who you know personaly is a good way to get a good response. Not many people respond to questionnaries of a friend of a friend. Of course if you want a large sample to test out your data then there is no other option.
Add a small note - Don't just attach the questionnaire and send it , write a small note saying why you need this and thanking
I'm doing a research on motivation in work environment for my Degree and would appreciate a lot if you can take some time and answer these questions. Its not a lot , I promise ! :-)
Thanks in Advance,
I hope my experiences will help you write better questionnaires in the future :)