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How Can I Make Good Survey Questions For A Research Paper?

How Can I Make Good Survey Questions For A Research Paper?

Creating good survey questions is a key element in getting insightful responses based on which you can write an outstanding research paper. Your questions must be worded well so that the responses you get are reliable and which you can use to write a good paper.

This article aims to give you some tips to answer the question, "How can I make good survey questions for a research paper?" So, here goes.

Keep the language simple and easy for the respondents to understand

You have to keep the language very simple and easy to understand. Ask questions that are devoid of complicated grammar and unnecessary technical jargon. Avoid double negatives and very complex vocabulary. These aspects can put off any respondent and he or she will not want to complete the survey.

It is important for you to remember that the respondents are taking time off from their busy schedules to help you getting ample data for your research. Respect this and keep the language simple and easy to understand. Also, when you are asking a question, you have to first explain what the question is about.

For example, "How likely are you to participate in Tell me your Dreams?" This question would have been better framed in the following manner. "Tell me your Dreams is a live reality show wherein the host dares you to talk about your dreams that could be embarrassing and/or create a flutter in your family. How likely do you feel about participating in this program?"

If you do not make that extra effort to explain your question, your respondents are bound to feel frustrated and either quit your survey or leave random responses which will reflect badly on your research paper.

Also, keep only one idea in one question. If you combine ideas you are bound to confound the respondent. Let us take one example, "How interesting and organized did you find the speech?"

Suppose the respondent had said "average" for this question, what had he or she found "average," the interesting part or the organized part? To avoid this confusion, make this into two questions like this:

  • How much did you like the organization of the speech?

  • How interesting was the speech?

Now, you will have ratings for each aspect of the speech leaving you in no doubt about how the speech went. And from the respondents' perspective, he or she would have found it much easier to answer the two questions than the one that "combined" ideas.

Another example of such "double-barreled" questions is, "Which is the most economical and the fastest internet service provider for you?" This question will be almost impossible to answer for any respondent. The most economical service provider need not be the one offering the fastest speed. You must break this up into two questions:

  • Which internet service provider offers the most economical rate?

  • Which internet service provider offers the fastest speed?

Do not create questions that create a bias in the minds of the respondents

Let me illustrate this point with an example. Here is a sample survey question. "We believe we have an excellent customer support team? How good do you think our customer support team is?"

Now, that is a leading question. When you ask like this, you are actually violating the survey's objectivity. You are leading respondents to more or less agree with your initial bias sentence. This should be avoided. In fact, many instructors will want a set of the survey questions that you will be posing to respondents and only when they approve, can you go ahead with the survey to use the data collected in the research paper.

The correct framing of this question would read something like this: "How would you rate the services offered by our customer support team?"

While you must attempt to include any of your opinions into a survey question, it may not be always possible to be perfectly objective. So, it is best to balance your questions such that half of them negatively and the other half positively.

Using the same example, you could frame the positive way like this: "On an average, how supportive do you find our customer support team?" And the negative way can be something like this: "On an average, how frustrating is it when you speak to the representatives of our customer support team?"

This kind of a balanced approach to questions will result in getting responses that are closer to the truth than if the questions were not balanced. The data collected from such balanced surveys will help you create a more credible research paper than otherwise.

Do not mix up the order of the questions

Questions placed out of context and out of order can really confuse and frustrate the respondents. It is usually advised to take a funneled approach to the questioning process. Start with some simple questions like a warm up, then gradually move on to the more specific questions which need some amount of thinking before someone can respond, and finish up with general questions as demographics, gender and age details, etc.

Do not generalize your questions, let them be very specific

Create questions that are very specific and do not have a "general" feel about them. For example, Do you like apple juice?" is a very general question. You must specify what details about the apple juice you want to know. Is it the texture? Is it the color? Is it the nutritional content?

Another generalized question example is, "Do you go to the movies regularly?" The respondent is going to be confused as to how often is the meaning of "regularly." Also, what includes under "movies?" Does it including watching movies at a friend's house? Does it include reruns or only new movies? To avoid such confusions, ask your questions with specific details.

You should never compel a respondent into answering questions

Respondents are free to choose to respond or not to. Intrusive questions such as salary, finances, occupation, personal hygiene, family information, etc are not easily answered by most respondents. You can, of course, include a confidentiality and privacy protection clause to improve the confidence of the respondents. Despite this, if someone chooses not to answer a question, you cannot compel him or her to do so.

Make sure your multiple-choice answers cover most of the respondents' answers

If your questions have multiple-choice answers, then you must ensure that the choices cover most of the answers expected from the various respondents. Else, your data may not really present ground realities correctly.

Also, include listings that are balanced. For example, if you chose a scale to measure alcohol consumption such that a heavy drinker comes somewhere in the middle, the teetotaler to one extreme, and someone who drinks a quantity that is near impossible to consume in a day on the other extreme, then this question is way off the mark. Use balance listings sensibly and prudently.

Final Notes

Creating a set of good survey questions to help you in writing a solid research paper can be quite a challenging task. Most people are not very fond to responding to surveys and if your questions are difficult, they will not hesitate to quit the survey in the middle or give you some random answers leaving you frustrated at the end of the exercise.

Hence, it makes a lot of sense to spend some time and energy to create a sensible set of survey questions that respondents not only are delighted to answer but also will answer as truthfully as is possible. These kinds of wholesome responses will add immense credibility to your research paper.

At Prescott Papers, our team of qualified and experienced writers is standing by to give you a helping hand in all your academic work such as custom essays, projects, assignments, research papers, dissertations, and more.

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