What is a good questionnaire? everything you need to know!

To truly understand what is a good questionnaire, you need to understand its nuances. This article explains everything you need to know about designing a good questionnaire.


No matter your objective, be it gathering feedback from clients, researching the market, or simply gauging employee morale, questionnaires are the golden ticket to data collection.

But let’s be honest, poorly designed questionnaires are a recipe for disaster. Irrelevant answer choices and confusing questions that drag on for ages leave respondents frustrated and your data skewed.

What is a good questionnaire, you may ask?

This article explains everything you need to know to design questionnaires that are informative, engaging, and, most importantly, effective.

Characteristics of a good questionnaire

Characteristics of a good questionnaire

A questionnaire is a set of questions used to gather information.

The difference between a survey and a questionnaire is that questionnaires are just a set of questions. However, surveys involve everything from distributing those questions to collecting and interpreting the responses.

Surveys and questionnaires often go hand-in-hand because online survey tools let you both ask questions and analyze the answers in the same place.

However, questionnaires aren’t limited to data gathering. Think about job applications or medical history forms – they ask questions but aren’t meant for statistical analysis.

To truly understand what is a good questionnaire, you need to understand its nuances. Yes, we are talking about questionnaire characteristics.

Brief and limited questions

Short and sweet questions make it easier for respondents to stay engaged and for you to collect the data you need without causing a brain cramp.

Longwinded questionnaires risk losing your audience’s attention. They also lead to incomplete or inaccurate responses.

For 47% of people, the primary reason for their decision to abandon a questionnaire is its duration. With such figures, it becomes more important for you to know what is a good questionnaire to make your surveys successful. People are busy, and good questionnaires respect their time by keeping things concise.

Structured format

A good questionnaire follows a logical order that guides respondents from one question to the next. You want to lead them down a clear path and make sure they don’t get lost or frustrated along the way.

It should start with general, easy-to-answer questions and gradually delve into the nitty-gritty. For example, if you’re surveying customer satisfaction at a restaurant, you might begin with inquiries about overall experience before going into specifics like food quality or service speed.

Good questionnaires also adjust the question flow based on respondents’ previous answers by skipping questions that don’t apply to them. For instance, if someone indicates they’ve never visited your restaurant, there’s no need to ask about their favorite menu item.

Neutral and unbiased

A good questionnaire plays it cool, Switzerland-style – neutral and impartial. It avoids loading questions with language that steers respondents toward a particular answer.

When questions are neutral, respondents are more likely to provide honest and unbiased answers that reflect their true opinions and experiences, free from outside influence. It leads to more accurate data that can be used to draw reliable conclusions.

Neutrality also shows respect for your respondents’ intelligence – they can smell bias a mile away and won’t hesitate to call you out on it.

Balanced response options

Balanced response options ensure respondents can express themselves accurately without feeling constrained or pigeonholed into a limited set of choices.

When options lean heavily towards one side (e.g., “excellent, good, okay”), respondents might feel pressured to choose something positive, even if they have mixed feelings.

A good questionnaire gives people choices, but not too many. You don’t want to overwhelm them like a kid in a candy store facing an infinite selection of sweets.

Keep it simple, with response options that cover the spectrum without causing decision paralysis.


Another characteristic that tells what is a good questionnaire is their respect for respondents’ anonymity.

Questionnaires shouldn’t ask for personal information that could reveal someone’s identity.

A good questionnaire guarantees anonymity to protect respondents’ privacy and encourage honest answers.

This means:

  • No personal information like names, email addresses, social security numbers, or other identifying details is collected.
  • Data is stored securely
  • Responses are reported in aggregate and presented results don’t reveal individual identities.

Anonymous surveys have shown people are more likely to express unpopular opinions compared to surveys where they can be identified.

Key benefits of questionnaires for effective data collection

With their straightforward format and wide audience reach, there are several benefits of questionnaires that help you gather valuable insights without breaking a sweat.

Let’s explore the key advantages of using questionnaires for your data collection needs.

  • Large-scale reach: Among the most significant benefits of a questionnaire is the ability to tap into a vast pool of respondents. Need opinions from people across the country, or even the globe? Questionnaires can make it happen.
  • Respondent anonymity: Sometimes, people are hesitant to share their true feelings, especially on sensitive topics. Questionnaires with anonymous options put respondents at ease. You get more honest responses with a clearer picture of what people really think.
  • Flexibility for respondents: Questionnaires offer respondents the flexibility to complete them at their own convenience. Whether it’s during their lunch break, on the bus ride home, or late at night in their pajamas (hey, no judgment!), they can participate on their own terms.
  • Ease of analysis: Questionnaires provide structured data. This means responses are neatly organized and easy to analyze. Plus, with online survey tools, you can leverage statistical software to generate charts and graphs that instantly reveal trends and patterns.

4 Types of questionnaires

Just knowing what is a good questionnaire isn’t enough for successful surveys. You also have to choose the appropriate questionnaire format for your research.

The 4 major questionnaire types are described below, each with its own strengths and applications.

Open-ended questionnaires

Open-ended questionnaires are the ones where respondents are encouraged to provide free-form responses rather than selecting from predetermined options.

These questionnaires give your respondents the freedom to spill the beans however they want. They’re not boxed in by predefined options, so they can get as creative or detailed as they please.

The questions often begin with “why,” “how,” or “what”, which encourage respondents to not only answer but also explain their reasoning. You often end up with richer, more nuanced data since people can describe their thoughts, feelings, and experiences without feeling constrained.

Keep in mind that analyzing their responses can be more time-consuming than with closed-ended questions.

Close-ended questionnaires

Close-ended questionnaires are where you give respondents a set of options to choose from, like multiple-choice questions or rating scales.

With close-ended questions, analyzing the data is a breeze. Since responses are standardized, you can crunch quantifiable data quickly.

With close-ended questions, you ensure everyone’s playing by the same rules. Each respondent faces the same set of options, eliminating any bias or confusion that might creep in with open-ended queries.

Mixed questionnaires

With mixed questionnaires, you get the depth of open-ended responses without sacrificing the efficiency of close-ended ones.

You can dive deep into respondents’ thoughts and feelings while still keeping things organized and easy to digest.

Mixed questionnaires gather both structured and unstructured data in one go. They allow you to not only quantify responses (how many people chose option A?) but also gain deeper insights into the “why” behind those choices (what did people who chose option A have to say about it?).

Pictorial questionnaires

Ever felt like traditional questionnaires are a bit, well, text-heavy? Pictorial questionnaires use images instead of, or alongside, text-based questions.

Staring at lines of text is tiring. Pictorial questionnaires break the monotony with visuals and make the experience more engaging for respondents.

Pictorial questionnaires also simplify complex concepts and make it easier for respondents to grasp the gist of your questions at a glance. They can cater to a broader audience, including those with language barriers, low literacy levels, or visual learners.

A good sample questionnaire format

Now that you know what is a good questionnaire, let’s show you a sample questionnaire format to make things more clear.

You need to be aware of certain components before you create questionnaires for your surveys. Here’s a detailed breakdown of components in a sample questionnaire format.


State your name, company name, or affiliation clearly and concisely. Explain what you are trying to learn and how their participation will be valuable.

Then, thank the participant for their time and contribution to show appreciation for their willingness to help.

If applicable, inform participants of the approximate time it will take to complete the questionnaire.

Introduction for your questionnaire


Provide clear instructions on how to complete the questionnaire, including any specific formats or answer choices. Mention if anonymity is guaranteed and how the data will be used.

If your questionnaire uses various question formats (multiple choice, Likert scale, open-ended), provide specific instructions for each type.

If there are restrictions on selecting multiple answers or leaving questions blank, clearly state them.


Utilize a combination of closed-ended (multiple choice, Likert scale) and open-ended (short answer, essay) questions. Closed-ended questions are easier to quantify, while open-ended questions provide deeper insights.

Frame questions clearly and concisely. Avoid any ambiguity or leading language.

Order your questions logically by starting with general topics and progressing towards more specific ones.

The End

The end/thank you page is your final chance to interact with participants and leave a positive impression.

Express gratitude once again for the participant’s time and contribution. Briefly remind participants how their responses will be used to reinforce the value of their contribution.

If applicable, let participants know what happens next with their responses. This could be sharing preliminary results, notifying them of changes implemented based on feedback, or offering them additional resources.

Conclude by providing an email address or link to a contact form in case participants have any questions or comments.

Sample customer feedback survey template

Let us now manifest the above format and show you what is a good questionnaire in practice.

You can use this as a starting point to decide how to design a questionnaire.

Modify and adapt this sample questionnaire template as needed to best suit your individual needs.

Title: Customer feedback survey


Thank you for taking the time to complete this survey. “We at [Company Name] value your feedback and opinions. This brief survey, taking approximately 5 minutes to complete, aims to gather your valuable input on your recent experience with our [product/service].


Please answer the following questions to the best of your ability. For multiple-choice questions, please select the one answer that best reflects your experience.

All responses are anonymous, and your feedback will be used solely to improve our [product/service] offerings

Section 1: Demographic information
  1. Age:
  • Under 18
  • 18-24
  • 25-34
  • 35-44
  • 45-54
  • 55-64
  • 65 or older
  1. Gender:
  • Male
  • Female
  • Non-binary/Third gender
  • Prefer not to say
  1. Educational Attainment:
  • High school or equivalent
  • Some college or associate degree
  • Bachelor’s degree
  • Master’s degree or higher
Section 2: Product experience
  1. How long have you been a customer of our company?
  • Less than 6 months
  • 6 months to 1 year
  • 1-2 years
  • More than 2 years
  1. How satisfied are you with the quality of our products?
  • Very satisfied
  • Somewhat satisfied
  • Neutral
  • Somewhat dissatisfied
  • Very dissatisfied
  1. Have you experienced any issues or challenges with our products? If yes, please specify:

[Open-ended response box]

Section 3: Ease of use
  1. How easy was it to use our product or service? (Select one)
  2. Very easy
  3. Somewhat easy
  4. Neutral
  5. Somewhat difficult
  6. Very difficult
  1. Did you encounter any difficulties using our product or service? (Select one)
  2. Yes
  3. No
  1. If you answered “yes” to the previous question, please describe the difficulties you encountered.

[Open-ended response box]

Section 4: Customer service
  1. How would you rate the responsiveness of our customer service team?
  • Excellent
  • Good
  • Fair
  • Poor
  1. Have you had any positive or negative interactions with our customer service team? Please share details:

[Open-ended response box]

Section 5: Overall satisfaction and recommendation
  1. On a scale of 1 to 10, how likely are you to recommend our products to a friend or colleague? (1 being not likely at all, 10 being extremely likely)
  1. Is there anything else you would like to share about your experience with our company?

[Open-ended response box]

  1. Do you have any suggestions for improvement?

[Open-ended response box]


Thank you for your feedback. Your input helps us strive for excellence in serving our customers. If you have any further comments or concerns, please feel free to contact us at [contact information].

Final words!

A good questionnaire is paramount for effective data collection in various fields, be it market research, customer feedback, or employee satisfaction assessments.

Now that you’re equipped with the knowledge of what is a good questionnaire, it’s time to put it into action.

Sign up for Formaloo, a user-friendly platform for creating and distributing questionnaires, and start collecting valuable data today.

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What is a good questionnaire? everything you need to know!