How to Develop a Questionnaire for Your Final Year Project
Deciding to conduct a research project is one of the best paths you can take to reach the best conclusions, as it is from this that it becomes possible to think of theories that are aligned not only with your final year project but also with what your audience looks for and wants to consume.
If your research is quantitative, a fundamental step to achieve the project’s objectives is the construction of the research questionnaire. And how is your construction? It is a form with well-oriented questions designed to clarify the biggest doubts about your business and that must be answered by the target audience of your business. These answers will provide essential data that will guide the entire marketing team in the strategic planning of their actions.
In this article, you will know in detail what a survey questionnaire is, with tips on how to design a model that meets your needs, as well as discussing its importance and what should be avoided so that the approach can be a success.
How important is the research questionnaire?
Assuming that your research objective as a business administration student is to understand the main trends and motivations for buying a product or service, a well-designed survey questionnaire can understand, for example, the behaviour of the interviewed public in the most diverse phases of the purchase journey, from the awareness stage, in which he perceives a need, going through the consideration stage, where he starts to “investigate” about his options to meet the created need, until the decision stage, in which he acquires the product or service itself.
All studies regarding its importance reveal that questionnaires are mainly made to find the whys of each action or line of thought of a target audience. Therefore, a questionnaire is an objective way to give voice to the target audience and find out whether your research hypothesis is valid or false.
Type of questions
Possibly you have already noticed that to guide, not only the questions that will be asked in a research questionnaire but also all the actions that will be taken during the project, the correct questions must be asked. You may have noticed that the first tip to prepare a good questionnaire is to define the research objective, that is, define exactly what your project wants to explore among its target audience.
Once the core problem has been defined, it is time to think about the method that will best meet the objectives. In quantitative research, we have two different basic categories of questions: closed questions, generally used in questions with objective and pre-defined alternatives – yes or no, assessment scale or knowledge – and open questions where the respondent can freely justify a closed question answer, for example – because you didn’t like this idea.
If at the time of defining the questions you realize that most of them are questions about reason, behaviour, deep understanding of a subject, you already know that the best methodology to be applied is not quantitative, but qualitative.
7 Tips for Developing a Research Questionnaire
The first step to develop a questionnaire that meets all project expectations is to define the research objectives, it will determine the success of the action, so it is necessary to have as much clarity as possible to obtain the expected results. The idea is to develop questions according to what your project wants to know, whether it’s about trends in a field of knowledge and your chances of discovering a new perspective concerning an existing debate or service would be received by the target audience.
But in addition, the construction of a research questionnaire must respect other equally important steps, such as:
Have a defined target audience
Once you know what answers you’d like to receive, it’s time to know exactly who those answers should come from. Choosing the target audience for the survey will directly impact its success. Remember that the respondent must be able to understand the questions well and identify with them so that the answers are sincere and truthful. These characteristics make it essential to know who you are talking to.
To get honest and truthful answers and make respondents identify and care about the survey, it is necessary to make it interesting, so keeping the questionnaire simple is essential.
Furthermore, even if the topic is interesting, not everyone involved in the research remains engaged for hours, so it is important to be direct and concise, if this does not occur, there may be an obvious consequence, which is the withdrawal of the participants or loss of attention when the questionnaire becomes tiring. Either of the two situations directly influences the quality of the research.
Explain the reason for the research
Explaining why the research as soon as the study begins helps to maintain the participants’ engagement and interest, as it makes them understand what role they will have in the entire process and become aware of its importance, to avoid unexpected dropouts.
Use familiar language
This step talks directly to the first 3 points we raised, formulating questions that use language that makes sense to respondents is fundamental, so leave aside the addiction to common discipline language and jargon, if your audience is not familiar with it and speak in a way they understand. Thus, the chances of the participants creating an identification with the research will be greater.
Asking the questions
As much as the formulation of the questions is an obvious step, it cannot happen without some parameters being established beforehand, such as the objective, purpose, and target audience of the research. These points must always be considered so that the questions do not deviate from what was proposed.
But these are not the only steps that require attention, when preparing the questions, it is important to follow other steps, such as clarity, objectivity, and simplicity in the questions and the types of questions that will be asked.
Use additional resources for the questions
There is no mandatory and fixed model for creating a research questionnaire, for this reason, it is common and advisable to invest in other resources to complement the survey and improve the engagement of respondents, especially if the topic addressed is more sensitive.
In addition to the introductory text that explains why the research uses videos and images throughout the questionnaire, this strategy can be used even if your intention is not to carry out a concept test, as they make the process more dynamic and interesting.
Test your questions
Now that the main steps are in place it’s time to test your questions, the goal is to ensure that the project is a success, so review all the content, re-read all the questions and answer options to make sure your project is exactly as planned.
To test the questionnaire, choose a small number of people who match the respondent profile and when they finish note the time it took to respond and find out how they felt about the questions, if something was confused or if there were errors. That way the chances of triumph will be greater.