Do participants want to follow a structured questionnaire?

Paul Stallard - Monday October 28th 2019

We all encounter surveys every day, so most people understand why companies conduct market research, and what is expected of them if they choose to participate. Many people enjoy taking part in surveys to give their opinion, and to earn the incentives offered by online panel providers. These days, most research is conducted online, and structured questionnaires are the most common format, so research participants are usually familiar with them.

The advantages for participants are that structured questionnaires are easy to follow and there is little room for error. Structured questionnaires guide participants through the process, and automated routing ensures that they don’t have to answer questions that aren’t relevant, or don’t make sense, based on their previous answers. Typically, structured questionnaires show participants how far they have progressed with the survey, which is encouraging, and helps them to assess how much of their time they will be giving.

The down side is that structured questionnaires can be boring if they are too long, or if they have too many similar questions or ‘grid’ based questions, such as ‘agree/disagree’ questions with long lists of statements to read. They can also be frustrating if the answer options aren’t well thought out, or the routing isn’t working correctly.

The key to ensuring that participants want to take part in your structured questionnaire is to think carefully about questionnaire design. Mix up the question types you are using, to give your participants some variety and interest. Don’t make it too long, or repetitive, make sure your questions are clear and unambiguous, and don’t be tempted to include endless lists of statements or options, and your participants should be happy to complete your structured questionnaire.

The advantages for participants are that structured questionnaires are easy to follow and there is little room for error

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