The design of a good quantitative questionnaire depends upon careful consideration of:
- Which decisions are going to be based upon the test results?
- What key information do you need to make these decisions?
- What information was gathered in qualitative research that would be useful?
- How should test respondents be screened for demographic and lifestyle backgrounds?
- How many respondents are necessary for statistical reliability for different questions?
- How will you tabulate and analyze questionnaire results?
Questions may be posed in writing, by fax, or over the phone, but generally phone interviews have a better response rate. If you use the phone, you will want the telemarketer to use a script, to be sure that each respondent is answering the same questions.
Quantitative questionnaires are similar to qualitative questionnaires but usually gather more information that can be numerically tabulated with significant statistical predictability. Questions should be based upon "common sense" and good communication practices. All questions should be directly related to providing useful information for decision-making. For example, a questionnaire could include:
- demographic information (age, sex, occupation, home locale, income range, etc.)
- confirmation that the respondent uses the product or service you're testing
- which brands are used or purchased
- how often brands are purchased
- why the respondent likes different brands
- what is disliked about brands
- importance of different brand images
- ranking of brands by preference
- whether price makes a difference to the frequency of purchasing different brands
- evaluation of different product attributes
- ranking of product attribute importance for buyers
- evaluation of brand positionings and advertising
- purchase intent on a five-point scale (definitely, maybe, indifferent, maybe not, definitely not)
- brands that would be replaced by the new product prototype
Construct questions that allow test respondents to easily understand and answer them. Questions should be ones that your targeted test respondents will most likely know the answers to and would be willing to provide information on. Avoid:
- vague questions
- non-useful background questions
- trick questions
- questions outside the expected knowledge and experience base of respondents
Small companies often provide simple questionnaires to customers when they come into the store or purchase products and services. They may use the questionnaires to obtain a qualitative "pulse," or check, mainly to verify that nothing is going terribly wrong in their day-to-day operations. Or they may use the questionnaires to measure the effectiveness of local advertising media in generating store traffic. Customer database-building is another possible objective.
Over time, you may obtain results that are almost as good as quantitative test results, particularly if you ask simple "yes/no" questions (on customer satisfaction, for example).