How to Find, Structure, and Format a Research Questionnaire

Find a Research Questionnaire

Finding a Questionnaire for your research can be a daunting task. However, if a scholar utilizes the right approach and tools, the process is not extremely difficult. In the video tutorials, the scholars are provided with a step-by-step guide on how to search a business research/social sciences questionnaire using different methods that include Google Scholar and Mendeley.

Sample Google Scholar Search Strings

In order to further understand, a few example search strings that a scholar can use in Google Scholar to search for the right questionnaire are presented.

For example, a scholar is interested in searching for the Word of Mouth scale, the scholar can utilize the following search string.

intitle:”Word of Mouth” intext:Scale

The search will provide a list of papers that have the phrase “Word of Mouth” in the title, and since we are looking for the scale, and the word may not always appear in the title of the paper, but if the paper uses the scale to measure Word of Mouth, it will appear in the text of the paper (Most probably in the methodology section).

However, it is worth noting that the word Scale may not be always used for a questionnaire. There are other variants as well. for instance Measure or Questionnaire. Hence, we may have to change the search string as

intitle:”Word of Mouth” intext:Scale OR Measure OR Questionnaire

Now, the results will provide the scholar with more depth in results. The results will select all papers with variants like Scale, Measure, or Questionnaire in the text of the papers that has Word of Mouth in the title.

Common Mistakes When Designing a Questionnaire

  • Failure to relate your questionnaire with the study objectives
  • Lack of proper operationalization of constructs.
  • Grammatical mistakes
  • Assuming the respondents have prior knowledge about the terminologies
  • Selecting scale before operationalization
  • Questions asked inaccurately by the interviewer
  • Failure of the respondent to understand the question
  • Asking respondents to describe attitudes on subjects for which they hold no conscious attitude.
  • Failure of the interviewer to record the reply accurately or completely (Record)
  • Failure of the questionnaire to record the reply accurately or completely. Lack of clarity in the questionnaire
  • Using the Wrong Likert Scale
  • Google/Search Engine Questionnaires
  • Copying from Thesis
  • Adopting/Adapting from non-peer reviewed databases
  • Not going to the original sources
  • You need a scale for each construct in the study

Each of the aforementioned points is discussed in detail in the following video.

Essential Elements of a Questionnaire Deisgn

In this section, we will focus on the key considerations when designing a research questionnaire for a study.

  • The first and foremost consideration is whether the scale used is reliable and valid. Simply finding a scale on the internet, such as on someone’s blog or educational website, does not guarantee its reliability and validity unless it has been properly tested and published in a reputable research journal.
  • It is preferable to use a reliable and valid scale that has been published in a peer-reviewed international journal indexed by reputable databases like Master Journalist. Next, we need to determine the number of items to include in the questionnaire. For example, if we are measuring job satisfaction, it is generally recommended to include 4 to 6 items.
  • This recommendation takes into account the use of structural equation modeling for data analysis. In structural equation modeling, items may be deleted during the analysis, resulting in a reduced number of items. By including 4 to 6 items from the start, we can anticipate potential item deletions and avoid analysis issues.
  • Another consideration is whether to measure a construct at a lower or higher order. For instance, when measuring organizational commitment, we can choose to measure it as a higher order construct with sub-dimensions such as continuous commitment, normative commitment, and effective commitment. Alternatively, we can measure it as a lower order construct using 4 to 6 items. Different scholars may have different preferences, but generally lower order constructs are preferred unless the research requires a more complex model or higher order constructs are explicitly relevant.
  • Matching the conceptualization of the constructs is another crucial aspect. Many students make the mistake of not clearly defining the concepts they are studying in their research. It is essential to define and conceptualize variables such as X, Y, and Z before selecting the questionnaire items. The conceptual scope of these variables determines their applicability in the study. Therefore, it is important to search for existing definitions of the concepts and ensure that the questionnaire items align with the conceptualization.
  • Wording is also critical in questionnaire design. Students often use poorly worded questions, such as asking if respondents “like” or “love” their organization or if they “want to switch” jobs. To ensure the use of metric scales, it is recommended to phrase the questions as statements with response scales like “strongly disagree,” “disagree,” “neutral,” “agree,” and “strongly agree.” This allows for the use of methods like confirmatory factor analysis or regression analysis. Additionally, when using multiple items to measure a construct, the number of items and the response scale should be consistent.
  • Overlapping between constructs is a common issue in social sciences research. For example, two concepts such as customer loyalty and word-of-mouth may have some overlap in their measurement items, even though they are conceptually distinct. Researchers must be cautious in selecting statements that accurately measure each construct to ensure discriminant validity.
  • When searching for questionnaire items, it is crucial to refer to the original sources. Sometimes, researchers come across questionnaires in papers where they are provided in appendices or tables. However, it is important to verify if the authors of the paper actually developed the scale or if they adopted or adapted it from another source. It is recommended to go back to the original source to understand the scale’s development, including the number of items, response scale, and conceptualization.

These are the essential elements to consider when designing a questionnaire for a research study.

Thinking of Circulating your Questionnaire Online using Google Forms: Avoid this Common Mistake.

Most of the times we circular our questionnaire online via Google Scholar. However, the scholars make a few mistakes in formatting and structuring their questionnaire that leads to low response rate. In order to improve the response rate of your questionnaire, watch the video tutorials on step by step guide on what are the mistakes that one should avoid in order to improve the response rate.