Sending out a questionnaire is an excellent method to question many people in the same way. If you can obtain a good response rate, you’ll get a representative picture of your research group. But how do you ensure an adequate response?

  1. Carefully select your research group. Don't just write to anyone or randomly choose a cross-section of the phone book, but rather look at who you want to fill out your questionnaire. How old are they? A particular occupation? Hobbies? If your research group is interested in your topic, they are more likely to (fully) complete your questionnaire.
  2. Explore how you best reach your research group. Can you email or survey them at a venue (after visiting a museum)? Or through postal services, in case they don't have internet access. You can also offer multiple options, so respondents can choose how to fill out the questionnaire.
  3. Make it as easy as possible for your respondents. If you conduct a digital questionnaire, make sure there is a working link so that respondents can click through immediately. If logging in with a password is not necessary, e.g., to link data, ensure the link is working. If you use written questionnaires, make sure there is a reply envelope and a reply number. If you are on location with written questionnaires, make sure you have suitable writing materials and a table (and chair).
  4. Keep the questionnaire as short as possible. Only ask what is necessary. Nobody likes to fill in a lengthy questionnaire. Ask relevant questions only and refer to another question "if necessary, fill out the next question; if not, go on to question, e.g., 10." Digitally show how long it will take to complete the questionnaire.
  5. Please make sure the questions are lucid, and it is clear to the respondent what is expected of them; also, when redirecting them to other questions. you can easily set this up Digitally (if question 1 is yes, continue to question 5), but make sure it is clear on paper as well.
  6. Only make questions mandatory if they are essential. Mandatory questions are more likely to cause people to drop out.
  7. Make it clear why it is essential that they complete the questionnaire. Pay special attention to the importance of the respondents. With this information, we can...'
  8. Thank your respondents, if possible, with a small gift. Your respondents will appreciate your thoughtfulness.

Sending out a questionnaire is an excellent method to question many people in the same way. If you can obtain a good response rate, you’ll get a representative picture of your research group. But how do you ensure an adequate response?

  1. Carefully select your research group. Don't just write to anyone or randomly choose a cross-section of the phone book, but rather look at who you want to fill out your questionnaire. How old are they? A particular occupation? Hobbies? If your research group is interested in your topic, they are more likely to (fully) complete your questionnaire.
  2. Explore how you best reach your research group. Can you email or survey them at a venue (after visiting a museum)? Or through postal services, in case they don't have internet access. You can also offer multiple options, so respondents can choose how to fill out the questionnaire.
  3. Make it as easy as possible for your respondents. If you conduct a digital questionnaire, make sure there is a working link so that respondents can click through immediately. If logging in with a password is not necessary, e.g., to link data, ensure the link is working. If you use written questionnaires, make sure there is a reply envelope and a reply number. If you are on location with written questionnaires, make sure you have suitable writing materials and a table (and chair).
  4. Keep the questionnaire as short as possible. Only ask what is necessary. Nobody likes to fill in a lengthy questionnaire. Ask relevant questions only and refer to another question "if necessary, fill out the next question; if not, go on to question, e.g., 10." Digitally show how long it will take to complete the questionnaire.
  5. Please make sure the questions are lucid, and it is clear to the respondent what is expected of them; also, when redirecting them to other questions. you can easily set this up Digitally (if question 1 is yes, continue to question 5), but make sure it is clear on paper as well.
  6. Only make questions mandatory if they are essential. Mandatory questions are more likely to cause people to drop out.
  7. Make it clear why it is essential that they complete the questionnaire. Pay special attention to the importance of the respondents. With this information, we can...'
  8. Thank your respondents, if possible, with a small gift. Your respondents will appreciate your thoughtfulness.
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Claudia's heart is in research. With her passion, she enjoys enthusing others about research. She enjoys sharing her knowledge and experience. Claudia works and lives in the Netherlands, where she has been helping students and beginning researchers with research for years. Through blogs, but also with e-books, e-courses, and coaching. The first blogs are now translated into English to help more students and beginning researchers.
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