Marketing research: assume you are developing
Mc Daniel and Gates (1999) have given a ten-point procedure for developing a questionnaire.This procedure can be adapted and used in designing a questionnaire for the newly developed sandwich by MacDonalds.These authors have emphasized the need for questionnaires to be developed properly, otherwise incomplete and inaccurate data shall be generated.
They specifically stressed the need for three important questions to be answered adequately by the would-be questionnaire designer or developer. These questions are as follows:
(a) Does the questionnaire to be developed for MacDonald’s sandwich provide the necessary decision-making information for management? For example, can it tell management about the ingredients that should make-up the sandwich and at what price it should be sold to the public?
(b) Does it consider the respondent to whom the questionnaire shall be administered to? If respondents are taken into account, the questions would be tailored to their level of comprehension.
(c)Does the questionnaire meet editing, coding and data processing needs? It behooves questionnaire developers to take these concerns into account before designing the questions. Ideally, the questionnaire should be pre-tested to see how the questions are understood by the respondents.
Questionnaire development Processes
According McDonald and Gates (1999) these ten steps should be followed in designing a questionnaire:
1. Set objectives of the study and consider resources and constraints of the study (MacDonald’s sandwich )- Every study as such the one on sandwich must have a definite objective. This objective should be clearly spelt out. A meaningful objective is one which is attainable within the resources at the disposal of the company commissioning the research study.
For example, an objective can be to establish how the newly developed sandwich should be priced. Possible constraints of the study also need to be identified and factored into the process of developing and administering the questionnaire. For example, if the intended market of the sandwich is noted for apparent difficulty in securing respondents to participate in research study, that constraint should be taken into account. In such situations, it may be needful to increase the incentives given to respondents to encourage participation.
2. Determine what data collection procedures to use – Questionnaires can be administered by telephone, email, or in-person. Each approach employed influences the design used. It also has a cost implication, which must be taken into account.
3.Come out with the question response format – After zeroing in on the method for collecting the data, the actual format should be determined. Generally, three types of response formats can be used. These include open-ended questions, where the respondent is given freewill to respond to questions in his own words. There are also the close-ended questions, where respondents are allowed to select from a list of answers. Thirdly, there is the scaled-response questions, where multiple-choice questions are given to respondents to pick answers from.
4. Make a decision on how the question should be worded – McDonald and Gates (1999) have given four guidelines that should govern this process. These are (a) the wording should be clear and to the point. (b) Select words that do not preempt other answers over others or that systematically biase the research outputs. (c) consider the ability of the typical respondents to answer the questions and (d) take into account the willingness of the respondents to answer the questions.
5. Determine the arrangement of the questions – The questions should be arranged in such a manner that establishes a flow. For example, questions that warm up the respondents should come before those considered difficult and complex.
6. Assess the questionnaire – Determine the relevance and longevity of questions and the ability of questions to answer the research objectives.
7. Seek the consent of relevant stakeholders – Allow all relevant stakeholders to review the questionnaire and give their approval before administering it in the field. By this approach, their support and cooperation is gained.
8. Give it a trial and revise it accordingly – Before administering the questionnaire, it must be field tried or tested. Here, limited number of persons is allowed to answer the questions and how they understood or perceived the questions are evaluated. Their comments are then factored into the final questionnaire.
9.Develop the final copy of the questionnaire – At this juncture, a final copy of the questionnaire is developed. This copy incorporates both the comments of management, sponsors and respondents.
10. Administer the questionnaire – The questionnaire is given out to the intended population for which information is needed. Instructions to guide supervisors and interviewers should accompany the questionnaires prepared.
By adopting this ten-point approach to developing and implementing questionnaires, it should be possible for the needed information to guide managerial decision-making on the newly developed sandwich of MacDonald’s to be obtained.
McDaniel, C. and Gates, R. (1999). Contemporary Marketing Research, 4th Edition, South-Western College Publishing, Cincinnati, Ohio, USA.