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?
- 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.
- 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.
- 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).
- 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.
- 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.
- Only make questions mandatory if they are essential. Mandatory questions are more likely to cause people to drop out.
- 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...'
- Thank your respondents, if possible, with a small gift. Your respondents will appreciate your thoughtfulness.