Advice from Associates – Questionnaires Part 2

Always do as much as you possibly can to put yourself into the shoes of the people responding to a questionnaire. This is especially true when it comes to questions where respondents are asked to tick boxes against statements to say how much they agree with them. It is extremely important that these statements are grounded in reality – not your reality, but theirs. This is about not only language (so avoiding initialisms or shorthand by which you refer to things or situations, and avoiding using technical terms), but it is about a world-view. Remember, to you this may be ‘Nidfield Road’ or the B467, but to many residents, it may simply be ‘the town’s main shopping street’. You can make sure of this by running some focus groups or interview sessions with a selection of likely respondents before you write the questionnaire, so that you get an understanding of how they see the issues, which are important to them, and how they talk about them.

Click here to read Questionnaires Part 1.

About the Author

Barry has been a Consultation Institute Associate for over ten years, and is now a Fellow of the Institute, providing consultation, evaluation and research services to many organisations. He delivers courses for the Consultation Institute on Better Focus Groups, Better Surveys and Questionnaires, and Better Data Analysis for Public Consultations, and has published three books with them: Effective Public Meetings, Effective Focus Groups, and Effective Surveys and Questionnaires.

Read more about Barry

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