Many research projects call for qualitative or quantitative research methods. There are advantages of using a questionnaire in either method. A questionnaire is used to collect data that is used to validate the hypothesis of the research project. The questionnaire needs to be fair, impartial and without bias to the population that is being sampled.
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Questionnaires are cost effective compared the research methods using interviews or data mining. The questionnaire could be distributed to a larger population over a shorter period of time. This is especially true for sample populations that cover a large geographic area. The questionnaires can be mailed or delivered electronically. Personal interviews take time and mistakes can be made during the analysis of the data due to individual interpretation. Questionnaires can be sent back anonymously and this will allow more respondents to reply. Electronic questionnaires can be constructed so that data is sent back to researcher immediately.
Reduction of Bias
The reduction of bias is an advantage of a questionnaire. The questionnaire is presented to all subjects the same way and there is no middle man that interprets the data while it is compiled. The questionnaire will not be influenced by researcher bias and the researcher cannot not influence answers by using verbal or non-verbal cues. Most people who participate in research are used to questionnaires are more apt to complete the questions than a narrative type survey or interview. Given just a few choices for answers, the subject cannot deviate from the intended purpose of the questionnaire.
Using a questionnaire is an advantage over interviews because of the anonymity of the questionnaire. The subject only releases personal information if there is a demographics portion of the survey. Even if there are demographics, these are usually questions about age, gender or race. The participant can turn in the survey, and under proper data collection procedures, is safeguarded from having his identity known. An interview can be to personal and allow the influences of the interviewer to intimidate or to cause the subject to skew answers because of preconceived notions during a face to face interaction.
Because a questionnaire can be dispersed across large geographic areas, the researcher can pick up on rare phenomenon that a similar questionnaire that is narrower is scope cannot do. For example, a questionnaire can be sent worldwide using e-mail and subjects from several countries or regions can respond. This could provide evidence that there are cultural perceptions that are different when asked the same questions. Information from the demographics could be used to align perception with a region and give more than one solution to the problem or proof of the hypothesis.
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