Here’s a short list of words and questions that you will want to avoid in the construction of your next questionnaire.
1. Avoid any words that may be unclear to a respondent e.g. vernacular, acronyms, or other unfamiliar words.
2. Avoid modifying adjectives such as: usually, often, sometimes, occasionally, regularly. These terms can mean different things to different respondents.
3. Avoid double-barreled questions e.g. “How would you rate us for our durability and reliability”? The respondent may feel that you offer a highly durable product but one that has reliability issues.
4. Avoid words that are emotionally laden or words that contain a sense of approval or disapproval. If you do want to evaluate an emotional reaction to a topic you may want to state the question in the following way, “Some respondents we have talked to are very upset about the proposed legislation. Do you agree or disagree with these respondents?”
Next week I will give you other words and questions to avoid.