Layout, format and order of questions

Author: Jack Hamilton


Questions may be presented as open-ended, dichotomous or multiple choice. Which Is the best format? This depends very much on the aim of the particular question, for instance whether you are looking for as wide a range of responses as possible, or sensitivity In highlighting different answers, or just to act as a filter for questions which will follow. One factor is certain: In survey research there is a strong practice: a) case for closed or multi-choice questions because they allow pre-coding. This means faster production and lower costs. Pre-coding also means more likelihood of valid data: there are fewer opportunities for lapses of memory on the part of the respondent and for Incorrect recording by the Interviewer. Having said this, it is equally true to say that too many questions In one format can lead to a boring questionnaire, so try to be like a good cook and provide some variety!

Jack Hamilton


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