Researchers use questionnaires for data collection because it is an economical research method and provides a way to standardize and structure questions into variables for data analysis, according to Oklahoma State University. The questionnaire is one of the most common methods of data collection.
Questionnaires allow researchers to collect data on a large group of people without the investment of a great amount of time, according to The College of St. Scholastica. Human error in data analysis also decreases with the use of standardized questions. People who take the survey also have a sense of anonymity to provide more reliable results than interview research methods, as the survey links to an identification number instead of a name. The different types of questions provide an opportunity for researchers to collect various types of data. Questionnaires provide nominal or categorical data as well as interval-level data on a scale, and ordinal-level data that requires ranking options.
Careful questionnaire construction yields better analytical results, both Oklahoma State University and the College of St. Scholastica indicate. Question options include open and closed-ended questions. Simplicity and easy-to-follow instructions are essential elements to a successful questionnaire. Answers must be exhaustive so that those in the sample select the most accurate answer and increase reliability of the data.