All people come in contact with questionnaires at some point in their lives. Whether it is for that important project at school and college or at a mall, questionnaires are integral evaluation tools. Questionnaires come in many different forms, from qualitative to objective, postal to fact based. Whatever the type, questionnaires are easy to hand out, quick to fill, rapid to collate and easy to evaluate. To get useful responses, the questionnaires not only have to be apt in terms of the questions, but also have to be implemented effectively. From finding out the feasibility of a new project to postal questionnaires, people can expect to face any sort of questionnaire at some point in their lives. Although these are easy to collect and collate, questionnaires can also be costly and tedious. At the end of the course, it is important to understand how the results are going to be analyzed. Therefore, it is important to understand the pros and cons of questionnaires before making one of your own or agreeing to answer to one.
Advantages And Disadvantages Of Questionnaires
Questionnaires follow a standardized procedure in terms of layout, handing, answer collection and then the collation of data. Interviews, on the other hand, are subjective and can be based on the environment, the types of respondents and the target group. As questionnaires are more objective in nature, there is a standardized procedure that is followed in terms of creating and executing a questionnaire.
Easy To Collect Information
Information can be easily collected with the help of questionnaires. Whether it is in the form of telephonic questionnaires, postal questionnaires or a random distribution of questionnaires at a given point or place, it is extremely easy to collect information with the help of questionnaires. Although they take time to design and analyze, the initial distribution and then the collection of data is an extremely rapid process as compared to other tools and techniques of sourcing information.
Questionnaires are designed to be extremely specific in terms of the information collected. This way, the researcher gets to ask questions to different groups of people based on the gender, class, ethnicity and age. Questions can be specifically targeted to the right group and specific answers can be derived from respondents in a specific manner, either in an objective or subjective manner.
Since most of the questions asked in questionnaires are closed questions, these can be easily analyzed and presented. Most objective questionnaires are easy to analyze and take very less time in terms of statistical and objective analysis. Once the information has been collected, it can be easily represented in the forms of bar graphs and charts.
Large Target Groups
Questionnaires can be aimed at large target groups and can be spread over a wide or specific audience depending on the requirement. Therefore, questionnaires can be easily devised in accordance with the necessity of the survey. These questionnaires can be handed to a large group at a time, which also makes it a very economical to process the information after analysis.
Since most questionnaires are objective, the questions asked are very closed-ended. This could act as a major advantage for the respondent and also the researcher. A closed ended question is much more specific and leads to one single answer at a time. These types of questions also make statistical and objective analysis easier, making questionnaires an effective tool for research purposes.
Designing, writing or printing multiple questionnaire sheets to either hand out or even post, is not an economical process. Even telephonic questionnaires with a random target group can prove to be extremely costly. From designing the template to getting it printed on the sheets, questionnaires can not only prove to be costly in terms of money, but also in terms of time.
Open Ended Questions
Not all questionnaires come with closed-ended questions. There are a few open-ended questionnaires that may lead to large amounts of unwanted data being generated. This could not only prove to be costly for the researcher, but may also begin to irritate respondents. Too many open-ended questions can deter the respondents from writing concise or accurate answers that are absolutely crucial for the researchers.
Some respondents may not be willing to answer questionnaires and even if they are coaxed into writing them, they may come up with inaccurate or false information thus, derailing the research. Some may not wish to reveal information and therefore might stick to answering vaguely or inappropriately. In cases like this, researchers have to be extremely careful in not being misled by various target groups.
Confidentiality And Unwillingness
Target groups may be unwilling to answer questions and usually do ‘not have the time’ to fill out the questionnaire or talk over the phone in the case of telephonic questionnaires. Who are we kidding? Some target audience may not be willing to answer questions for the fear of letting out important personal information. In cases like this, some target groups may even begin to present false information in order to protect their identities or opinions.
Target Group Bias
There is a risk of not choosing the right participants or targets for these questionnaires. In some cases, market research companies or individuals might aim or target their questionnaires at specific groups of people, knowingly or unknowingly, leading to an unwanted situation of target group bias.
Whether questionnaires are directed to individuals, whole groups, conducted over the phones or over post or email, the objective must be kept in mind. From the designing of the questionnaire to the depiction of the results, all processes have to be done accurately. Therefore, it is important to understand the pros and con of questionnaires before deciding to opt for this sort of research method.