'How to' Develop a Questionnaire Survey: Ask the Right Questions

National Foundation for Educational Research

09 January 2014

One of a series of Research in Schools ‘How to’ Guides, designed to help practitioners run research projects in education. To support schools in engaging with and running research, we have made our popular ‘How to’ Guides available to download free of charge.

Questionnaire surveys are an extremely popular way of collecting views and information from a large number of people involved with schools. They are a quick and easy way to gather quantitative information from pupils, parents/carers, staff and others. But be warned... asking the right questions, in the right way is crucial to getting useful results.

This simple, succinct guide takes you through the four stages of developing a questionnaire survey: administering the survey, planning the content, developing the questions and giving structure to the questionnaire. It outlines question types and response options, with examples showing how to use them. It also includes guidance on suitable language (depending on audience), ethical considerations and other decisions such as anonymisation, and paper or online. The appendix includes a list of response options.

Written by NFER researchers, this guide will help you develop your questionnaire survey based on professional guidance.

This guide was published in 2014 and was correct at the time of publication. Users are encouraged to check for the latest advice on data protection with the provisions of the General Data Protection Regulation. For further information please visit the ICO website.