COMPREHENSIVE NOTES ON QUESTIONNAIRE, RESEARCH SURVEY AND PERSONAL INTERVIEWS
A questionnaire is a means of eliciting the feelings, beliefs, experiences, perceptions or attitudes of some sample of individuals. A very important tool used to collect data for social surveys, it is most frequently a very concise, preplanned set of questions designed to field specific information about a pertinent topic.1 They can be in both printed and electronic forms. There are five times of questionnaire approaches: on-line (electronic); potal (printed); delivery and collection (printed); telephone (electronic/printed); interview face to face/group (electronic and printed).2 The over viding objectives of questionnaires is to translate the researchers information needs into a set of specific questions that respondents are willing and able to answer.3
The structure of a questionnaire usually has three main elements: (a) the cover letter; (b) instructions and (c) the main body.4 The cover note basically serves as an introduction of the researcher’s project and is meant to elicit the potential respondent’s cooperation. It highlights the objectives and significance of the research project to respondents, and a bold attempt to put them at ease by assuring confidentiality and anonymity and elimination of any lingering doubts they may have.
The instructions are basically guidelines which written in very simple plain language to eliminate misunderstanding and ensure ease of completion by respondents.
The main body is the most important portion of the questionnaire as it constitutes the questions that respondents are to answer. Therefore a lot of effort, attention and care should be put in the crafting of the questions to enable the researcher collect the required data for the research work. Also, a questionnaire is only good as the questions it contains.
1. James P. Key, “Module 128 Questionnaire and Interview as data – gathering tools” Research...