An online questionnaire can be a useful tool for collecting quantitative data for your research projects. However, it can end up being quite a difficult task if you fail to understand the best way to go about it! Here are few simple steps you can take to improve the quality of your data collection tool. This is not an exhaustive guide!
1) Know your research aim and objectives
Ensure that you have finalised your research aim and objectives prior to designing your questionnaire. Failure to do this will result in you collecting data that is totally irrelevant to your research!
2) Conduct a literature review
Once your aim and objectives are in place, you must conduct a thorough literature review in order to determine your research approach. Failure to do this will result in data that does not help you with the analysis you wish to perform.
3) Are you taking a deductive or inductive approach?
The literature review is what can tell you whether your research should take an inductive or deductive approach. If you notice (following your literature review) that you do not have any theory or hypothesis relevant to your topic then you must take an inductive approach. This would mean that you perform qualitative data collection first, and then design your questionnaire at the end to test any research questions or propositions you have developed via your qualitative research. Alternatively, if you notice the existence of theory/hypothesis relevant to your topic, you can then take the deductive approach which will allow you to collect quantitative data to test the hypothesis which you have identified.
4) Design your questionnaire!
Prior to designing your questions you should also determine which statistical tests can be useful for testing your hypothesis. Tests will require you to collect different types of data (categorical/continuous, ordinal etc.) and so your questions must be designed such that they exploit Likert Scales as opposed to simple Yes/No responses alone. Finally, take all these factors into consideration and design your questionnaire so that it captures data which can be used to test your hypothesis. Keep open ended questions to a minimum (avoid completely if possible).
There are free online platforms which can be used without any limitations for designing questionnaires. Check out Google Forms and Thesistools.nl!