Along with quantitative research, which collects quantitative data, qualitative research is a powerful tool to gather qualitative data. Using proper analysis can be a source of management, marketing, or investment decision.

Qualitative research can be conducted in the form of a qualitative survey, which uses a qualitative questionnaire. The latter is a list of questions that are aimed to gather opinions, thoughts, and insights from professionals, analysts, and other target audiences.

What Does It Mean to Conduct Qualitative Research?

With the development of science, technology, and communication a diverse range of research tools were introduced to gather valuable data that can make an impact. Without these instruments, data would be poor and exist in the form of immature sentiments.

Today, qualitative research tools can clarify, structure, and enhance data sets in order to make the data comprehensible and applicable. Though various types of qualitative research continue to improve, some of them, like observation, record keeping, case studies, and focus groups became widely used in recent decades.

For example, focus groups use questionnaires as a reliable research instrument that can influence the quality of data. Questionnaires for qualitative research can use different types of questions. Though most of the questions have qualitative character, quantitative or semi-quantitative questions can be included. Let’s take a closer look at it.

Question Types in Qualitative Research — Open and Closed Questions

Open questions constitute the main part of a qualitative questionnaire. They allow respondents to express their thoughts and feelings regarding specific issues. However, you may ask respondents to embody their opinion in the defined amount of words (1-3 sentences). The narrative analysis allows you to compare different responses and structure them to create an integrated overview of a problem.

Closed questions ask respondents to choose from a set of prepared answer options. Compared to the quantitative questionnaire, these options can contain narrative answers in the form of sentences with sentiments and suggestions. Nevertheless, these closed questions can gather data that is suitable for quantitative analysis.

The Design of a Questionnaire in 6 Steps

#1 Aims 

We advise you to look at these six simple steps to develop a qualitative questionnaire. The first step is to define the aims of a survey. For example, you may choose to obtain information about desired product qualities and even the whole product range that is supported by the market demand.

#2: Length 

The next step is to think about the length of a questionnaire (number of questions included), length of questions, and answer options in words. Too long questions may puzzle respondents, so make them concise and simple.

#3: Pilot Study

After you make up the initial questions, it’s favourable for you to conduct a pilot survey. It is a small study to touch ground and find if the questions correlate with respondents’ worldviews. If they are not, you should create another set of questions for your survey.

#4: Question Order

When you find the right questions that would help to collect the needed data, arrange them. The questions must have a specific order. The general scheme of the arrangement looks as follows: put simpler questions first and complex questions last.

#5: Terminology

Use words carefully. Even if you include professional terminology it may sound uncommon for experts from different domains. Professional slang and jargon may mislead respondents, therefore use clean and simple language.

#6: Presentation

The sixth step should be focused on the presentation of a questionnaire and its relation to the further stages of research. State clearly your goals, explain the macro themes of the questionnaire and make suggestions regarding possible target respondents, budget, and survey timeline.