• The instrument has been defined differently by different researchers.
  • It can be defined as a written document requiring the subject to record his/her own responses ( Kervin.1999 )
  • Questionnaire is a data collection instrument that has pre designed set of questions, following a particular structure ( de vaus, 2002 )


  1. The spelt out research objectives must be converted into clear questions.
  2. It must be designed to engage the respondent and encourage him to respond.
  3. The questions must be clearly framed.
  4. The questions must be self-explanatory and not confusing as the responses generated will also not be accurate and usable for analysing.

    • The questionnaire can be categorized on the basis of variety parameters. The two most prominent factors used for designing are:
  1. The degree of construction or structure; and
  2. The degree of concealment of the research objectives.

Construction or formalization refers to the degree to which the response category has been defined. Concealed refers to the degree to which the purpose of the study is explained or is clear to the respondent. Most research studies use a mixed format of formalized and concealed questionnaire. Like a 2*2 matrix.



  • Most frequently used by management researchers.
  • Easy to administer.
  • Questions are self-explanatory.
  • Can be administered to a large number of people at the same time.
  • Data tabulation and analysis is easy to compute than other methods.
  • This is high on reliability and validity.
  • e.g.: if a brokerage firm wants to understand the investment behaviour of the population under study, they would structure the questions below:
    1. Where do you invest: precious metals__ real estate__ stocks__ govt. Bonds__ mutual funds__ other__.
    2. Do you carry out investments: yes­­­___ no___
    3. Who carries out your investments: yourself__ agent__ relative__ friend__ other__
    4. What is the source of information for these decisions? : newspapers__ magazines__ company records__ trading portals__ agents__.


  • The researchers which try to depict the hidden causes of behaviour do not ask direct questions.
  • Such questionnaires contain pertaining to the attitudes, values and opinions of the respondent.
  • These would influence the way he would react to certain products or issues.
  • e.g., a publication house before launching the newspaper wants to ascertain the pulse of the people and their perception and attitudes about newspapers.
  • Direct questioning will reveal only a little information some disguised attitudinal question will be needed to infer this.
  • The best part of this type of questions is that they are easy to understand and respondent reciprocates by answering them which actually highlights his psyche/ thinking pattern.
  • As they are structured easy quantification is possible.
  • Such psychographic questions increase the subject coverage and improve the validity of the instrument


  • Some researchers believe that it is unfair to ask structured responses to attitudinal questions that should ideally be allowed to be expressed in the way the respondent likes.
  • So it is better to give him unstructured questions, where there is a lot of freedom of expressing himself the way he wants to.
  • e.g.: why do you think Maggie noodles are like by children? ______ how do you generally decide on where to invest your surplus funds? ____
  • Such open-ended questions help in accumulating a comprehensive perspective on what the psyche of the population says at large. The validity of the measures is higher compared to the previous two.
  • The quantification and analysis are very difficult in this method and there are chances of researchers’ bias.


  • To uncover the socially unacceptable desires and conscious and subconscious motivations this particular type of questions are used.
  • Here, the questions or situations are kept ambiguous.
  • The main disadvantage of the method is that, since there is low structure the interpretation requires high skill and it requires more time, money and effort to conduct this method.
  • e.g.: a study conducted to measure which segment should men’s personal care toiletries be targeted.
  • The investigators designed two typical bachelor’s shopping list. One with a number of monthly grocery products as well as the normal male toiletries like shaving blades, gels, shampoos etc. And o the other hand the same grocery products and male toiletries but two more additional items, fairness cream and sensitive skin moisturizer.
  • The list was given to 20 young men to describe the person to whom the list belonged. The responses obtained were as follows:
List with cream and moisturizer List without cream and moisturizer
65% said that this person was good-looking 10% said that this man was good-looking
5% said he was a typical male 39% said he was 30+
25% said he was 20 years old 90% said he was rugged and manly
48% said he had a girlfriend 21% said he was thrifty
26% said he was a spendthrift 32% said he was a normal male
15% said he was girly No one spoke of having girlfriend
  • Thus, we can conclude that the normal males are yet to take him to include beauty or cosmetic products in their personal care baskets. Thus, it is wiser to target younger metro residing males who are heavy spenders.

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