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date: 30 April 2017

Abstract and Keywords

Some textbooks on questionnaire design claim it is an art. That would make the criterion for a “good” question entirely subjective—a worrying conclusion given that surveys are often used to discover important facts about people. Are our discoveries about people also entirely subjective? This chapter shows that it is possible to study what a “good” or a “bad” question is by experimentation. There is already a body of scientific evidence on questionnaire design that can be taken into account when designing a questionnaire. The chapter reviews some of this evidence and shows how it can be used to the advantage of the survey researcher. Questionnaire science is far from complete. On the one hand, this means that some of our conclusions may still be more art than science. On the other, it means that we can agree on one aspect of questionnaire science: more of it is needed.

Keywords: Questionnaire design, Reliability, Survey methodology, Best practices, Survey quality, Measurement error, Expert systems, Question crafting, Survey experiments

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